When Charles Augustus Fey invented the first slot machine around 120 years ago, he had no idea just what he was unleashing on the world. In the mid 20th century, as legalized gambling became a semi-acceptable pastime in places like the Las Vegas strip, slot games were aimed at a largely female audience. The idea was to give the ladies something to do other than check their makeup while the menfolk were busy losing their shirts at the roulette wheel or the poker table.
Of course, casinos have changed a great deal since then, but slot games have always represented the more accessible side of gambling. Over the past decade, the advent of online casinos has brought slots to a new and significantly wider audience. With it has come an increased demand for expert guidance, and Secrets of Winning Slots (1998) has become something of a classic. True, because of its old age this book doesn’t cover more novel techniques for increasing your odds such as using free spins bonuses or playing the latest interactive online slot games. But it is still a fun and informative read that will help you to approach slot games with confidence, whether you are on the Las Vegas strip of grabbing five minutes to yourself with a game on your smartphone.
From the earliest days
Avery Cardoza is more than your everyday casino gambler. The Las Vegas publisher turned author has lived and breathed casino gaming for half a century. He is also one of the foremost authorities on the history of gambling.
His book takes you on a journey from those earliest days in the late 1800s right up to the video slots of the late 20th century that paved the way for internet gambling. Don’t be put off by the recent spate of negative reviews on Amazon. Those who dismiss the book as irrelevant in the internet age are missing the point.
Today’s slot games might be incredibly complex in comparison to Charles Fey’s Liberty Bell, but the core principles of slots have not changed as much as you might think. It’s a similar principle to learning your way around a Ford Model T in order to get a basic understanding of how automobiles operate.
Secrets of Winning Slots contains a lot of information. In fact, when you look at the list of chapters, you might wonder if this is better treated as a reference book, to be dipped into as necessary before your next trip into cyberspace, or to Sin City. The book certainly works fine in that way, and Cardoza’s encyclopedic knowledge means that between those covers, there’s an answer to just about every conceivable question.
However, Secrets of Winning Slots is also a rollicking good read from cover to cover. Cardoza has spent his whole life living, working and playing in Las Vegas, and he gives you an insider perspective on how every aspect of the city, from the shops to the shows to the restaurants is entwined with the casino floors and the slot games that dominate them.
Different ways to win
You will learn that on The Strip, winning at slots can mean more than matching three bells and pocketing a stack of quarters. Cardoza explains how you can also score free meals, complimentary drinks, even free hotel accommodation if you play smart and show you have a bankroll and are willing to chance it.
Having said that, there are also plenty of pages devoted to an exhaustive summary of the different types of slot games out there, covering areas like scatters, wilds, multi-coin games and most important of all, those progressive jackpots that can make a millionaire of anyone if they make their wager at the right place and the right time.
About the author
Avery Cardoza has written more than 20 books on the topic of gambling. He owns and operates the Gamblers Book Club, a legendary institution that was in danger of disappearing forever until he bought it in 2010. Cardoza also owns GBG Press, a Las Vegas-based publishing house.
When Cardoza writes or publishes books about gambling, he does so from a position of experience. In the 1980s, he spent his 20s haunting the casinos of the Strip honing his skills as a card counter and beating the house with enough regularity to make a living out of playing blackjack and baccarat. This was at a time when few had even heard of card counting, and it is another example of Cardoza’s knack of learning lessons from gambling’s past and applying them in the present day.
Secrets of Winning Slots might have been around for more than 20 years, but it is still one of the best titles on the subject. It’s available in paperback or Kindle version from Amazon and other online sellers.