Advantage Play

Understanding Advantage Play, Part I: Defining AP and AP Slots

100x win on Scarab
Written by Joshua

Before we start diving into specifics on games or other ways to be a savvier player, it helps to have some stakes in the ground to help establish what we’ll be talking about on this site. One term you’ll hear often spoken is “Advantage Play.” For our first series of articles, we’ll dive into what Advantage Play is, and the various scenarios that can lead to an Advantage Play situation; as we proceed on the site we’ll advance into specific scenarios and how you can spot an Advantage Play situation.

At the highest level, Advantage Play is a scenario where the casino player has a stronger than normal advantage to the house. In some cases it’s a case where you have improved chances; in others it’s an actual house edge created by the scenario offered to a player.

In all instances, it requires a player that’s paying attention to what’s being put in front of them, and properly using it to gain that advantage. That’s one of the reasons why we’re here – making good gaming decisions and sitting at the right machines at the right times can improve your odds and over time give you a leg up over other players in the casino.

While you should never go to a casino with the expectation to win (the games are designed, over time, to earn a certain amount for the casinos), you could to better than the average by making good decisions, either having more time to play because you’ve successfully stretched your money, or losing less (or on winning days, winning more) than another player who played the same games but didn’t pay attention. Advantage Play doesn’t guarantee a winning advantage, but it does mean you’ll improve your chances for a better outcome.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some common buckets an Advantage Play situation can develop. Today, we’ll start with the most obvious: Advantage Play slot machines.

Slot Machine State

It’s generally common knowledge that a standard, Vegas-style slot machines are designed to leverage a random number generator to determine the outcome of a certain spin. But certain mechanisms can make a slot machine more advantageous to play than others. Advantage Play scenarios themselves vary in the amount of advantage they give a player. Examples can include:

  • Games With AP Features: These are the strongest games to find. They’re ones where as the game progresses through its standard features, it improves the chances of a positive outcome. This has been seen often in a couple of forms:
    • Wilds: When a game hits a certain number of spins, or a certain symbol appears on the reels, Wilds are triggered. IGT is the maker of many games in this vain, such as “Golden Egypt” and “Scarab.”
    • Symbol Line-up: Games have symbol overlays that, if the right symbol lands where they are, something special happens, such as triggering a bonus or wilds expand. Examples of games like this are IGT’s “Ocean Magic” and Gimme Games/Aristrocrat’s “Dragon Lanterns.”
    • Free Spins or Bonus: “Plants Vs. Zombies 3D” has a brain meter; the closer the brain meter is to 500, the more likely your chance at triggering a bonus. The meter reduces with each spin, but increases each time brains are found.
    • Multipliers: Some games issue multipliers for a win; failing to play through to its conclusion leaves the door open for others to take advantage. On the slots side games include WMS’s “Gorilla Chief II,” and on video poker, Ultimate X is a game where the mechanism is a critical component of the game.
  • “Must Hit By” progressives: The closer a slot is to a given number, the more likely such a progressive will hit. Depending on whether a slot progress increments based on bet or by win can help determine if there’s a guaranteed way to win in a certain amount of betting. Those that increase based on bet vs. a win have a higher advantage, as they’re more predictable, than needing wins to increment the meter.
    • A variation of this is can be found on games like “New Year’s Festival” by WMS, where a string of firecrackers appears and as each string is exploded, your chances at winning a progressive improves. Effectively there’s a point where the progressive will trigger, but instead of it being a dollar amount, it’s the amount of firecrackers remaining.
  • Any progressives: While it’s not guaranteed to win on any given spin, and it’s not the same level of advantage given by a specific machine’s  given a set of identical machines with individual progressives, you should always play the one with the highest progressives, so if you do hit one you maximize your payout.

We hit briefly on a lot of different types of games above; we’ll delve into each category over time here on the site. In our next post on this topic we’ll talk about casino promotions, and how they can create an Advantage Play situation.

Do you check certain Advantage Play slots? Share your favorites in the comments below!

About the author


My name is Joshua, and I’m a slot enthusiast who works in tech as a marketer by day, and dabbles in casinos periodically during off-times. Know Your Slots will reflect my interests in understanding the various ways you can play slots, travel, casino promotions and how you can get the most out of your casino visits.

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