Not So Fast

Do you know why gamblers lose and casinos win? Sure you do: It’s because the casino has the advantage. But do you have any idea why a particular player will lose more than another? There can be several reasons, but one of the most important is speed of play. Play faster, lose more. Casinos know this, which explains why so many advances in recent years have been implemented to speed up play.

On slot machines, buttons replaced handles. On all machines, bill acceptors and ticket-in-ticket-out (TITO) technology replaced coins. Players clubs promote speed—the faster you play, the faster your points roll up. And then there’s that primary goal of winning, which simply can’t happen if you aren’t playing the next hand.

Put it all together and it’s obvious why so many players feel the need for speed. The problem is, in gambling, speed kills! So the object for the player is to do the reverse of what the casino wants you to do. That means play slower.

The first thing you should do when you sit down is look for a speed regulator. If the machine has one, dial it down to slow. Does your machine have one of those annoying “double-up” features that pops up after every paying hand? Good. Don’t turn it off. Don’t play it, either. Just keep clicking “No.” That also takes up time.

This type of video poker cost-cutting won’t negatively impact your experience on the game, but it will slow down your pace by as much as 50 percent, and that adds up over time. Why pay $12 to see a movie when you can pay $6?

Of course, if you happen to be an expert and run into a progressive or a promotion on which you have the edge, then throw everything I’ve just told right out the window. Speed becomes your friend. The faster you play, the more you win, so you play like a bat out of hell. Until that time, however, your best move is definitely to play it cool.