A nice cocktail, a few friends, and some time at a slot machine. That’s the perfect casino experience for many players. Whether in Las Vegas or playing slots online, a few spins of the reels provide a nice night of entertainment for many gamblers.

When a player actually heads to play some slots may be a key consideration for that next trip to a casino. But should it? While today’s slot machines operate using random number generators (RNGs), making every spin unpredictable, there are some strategic times to play based on non-payout benefits like bonuses, crowd size, promotions, and more..

Keep reading to learn about the optimal times to play slot machines as well as some common myths and strategic advice on when to play to score some other benefits.

Best Times To Play Slots at a Casino

Playing slots can be a fun way to pass some time, whether in a live casino or playing online. However, there are some key considerations to note to maximize a player’s entertainment value as well as casino rewards that might be heading your way.

For the most part, the best time to play depends on a player’s goals. Looking for some casino rewards like merchandise, free play, and comped rooms and meals? That may depend on the property. Some casinos offer special days and hours in which loyalty points can be multiplied.

These times may come with other promotions as well. Players looking to accrue more points toward comps would be wise to research these times and plan their slot play accordingly.

Slot fans looking for the best times for payouts and winnings may need to realize the nature of today’s slot machines. The computer’s software and the RNG determine winners, not mechanical inner workings or a certain time of day. That means players can’t really “time” their play to more likely rack up a big win.

Having a grasp on that reality dispels the myth that certain times are more favorable than others when it comes to playing slots and winning. However, there are some considerations a player may want to consider when it comes to the best times to play slots.

Understanding Slot Machine Mechanics

A quick review of how modern video slots are manufactured provides some insight into why players can’t rely on certain times of day to record a nice win or jackpot. While early slot machines relied on mechanics within the device itself to reward wins, today’s games are highly complex pieces of technology.

As noted earlier, the RNG in each machine determines the result of a slot spin. Every time a player hits the spin button, the machine instantaneously goes through millions of random numbers to determine the result of the spin. The symbols then just represent the result of that spin.

This means there is no best time to play. A player is just as likely to hit a slot at noon as he would at 3 a.m. The idea that there are “hot” and “cold” slots is also a myth because the RNG is the sole determiner of when a machine pays off.

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The bottom line is simply this: if you are winning you may think the machine is hot; if you are losing you may think the machine is cold,” casino gambling Frank Scoblete writes. “As Hamlet said, “‘Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so.’

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Decoding Common Beliefs and Their Realities

Despite the fact that the RNG determines all payouts on a slot, many players still believe certain days are the best for winning. A player who may find a couple of nice winning sessions or jackpots on Friday may then have a bias that’s the best day of the week to play.

Another player may have won in the morning and then had a friend also find a nice jackpot in the morning hours. Does that mean the morning is the best time to play?

Players may think this, but that’s just not the case. Many players believe in notions of luck as well, but some times of day aren’t luckier than others. The RNG may register a mega jackpot on Sunday and then another on Wednesday. Sometimes the RNG may actually register to major jackpots on Mondays. Slots are slaves to the algorithms and software inside the machines. Here are a few other myths regarding times to play slots:

  • Days with player traffic can affect slot payout frequencies – This is another myth. Payouts are random based on the RNG.

  • Players are more likely to win on a weekend versus a weekday (or vice versa) – These notions are also myths and the computer technology and RNG solely determine winning spins.

  • Certain bonuses and features show up more at certain times of day – This also isn’t true as the RNG determines all slot machine results.

  • Return to Player (RTP) can change depending on the time of day – RTP stands for return to player and this is the percentage of all money gambled in slots that is paid out to players. This is also a myth and the RNG determines payouts.

While the time a player spins slot reels may not determine a player’s chances of winning, there are some notions regarding the time of day that can be beneficial to players.

Keep reading to learn about a few of those scenarios and what might be important to consider.

Strategic Times to Play for Other Benefits

Beyond simply hoping for winnings, players can enjoy some other fringe benefits from playing slots. That can range from entertainment to player rewards that can be earned from using a casino’s player card. While one should never play just to accrue rewards, if you are going to play some slots in a casino it’s worth it to join.

Some casinos even reward players with some free slot play just for joining. This is a nice bonus with the chance to win some cash without even wagering a dollar. Seeking out less busy times at the casino (such as in the morning) may mean a player won’t have to wait in line to join the loyalty program and hopefully enjoy some free play.

Once you’ve joined the players’ club and are ready to play, some might be wondering when the best time to accrue player points is. As noted, some casinos feature special “slot happy hours” where you can earn even more points or special bonuses, some nice bang for your slot bucks.

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Bonuses are an important factor when it comes to choosing the right time to play slots, ModernMan.com reports. Some casinos offer bonuses throughout the week while others offer them only on certain days or during special promotions, so it pays to do your research before committing any money. Bonuses can range from free spins and cash rewards for loyal customers, so check what bonuses are available before deciding when to play slots in order to maximize your chances of winning big!

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An examination of the casino’s loyalty tier structure may also show more favorable times to play. Take note of that and play during those hours if you’re going to gamble anyway. Some casinos offer special bonuses and promotions when playing on holidays. Those seeking to take advantage will want to head to those slots during these days.

Responsible gaming should always be a consideration, however. Don’t wager money you can’t afford to lose. Stick with your bankroll and don’t exceed that amount.

Those looking for some major payouts on progressive slots may be advised to play when the jackpot has gotten big. This may give a player at least a chance at a major payout, but you won’t increase your odds of actually winning a jackpot with this advice. Again, the RNG determines all payouts on a slot. You just can’t get around today’s slot technology.

When Not to Play: Times to Avoid

Beyond strategy and winning considerations, there are some other ideas that players should keep in mind when heading to a casino for some slot play. These are more practical considerations that may make a player feel more comfortable and enjoy the experience more. Some of these include:

  • Avoiding overcrowded casinos – Fewer people make for a more pleasurable casino for some. Less crowded casinos are often found in the morning or during the middle of the day. Players will then have more open machines and may not have to deal with some other things that might make some players uncomfortable – such as cigarette smoke and players who have drunk too much.

  • A more bustling casino – On the other hand, some players like the vibe and feel of a busier, more bustling casino. These players won’t be deterred by busy gaming floors at night or on the weekends. These party animals will want to avoid less busy times of the day.

  • Steering clear of machine maintenance – Some casinos are more prone to machine maintenance and repair during morning hours or daytime. Those who want to avoid maintenance may want to pick another time.

  • Less profitable scenarios – While this may not be based on time, selecting casinos with higher RTPs is important. Those paying out lower RTPs may want to be avoided.

When it comes to online slot play, players don’t have to worry about busy and smoky casinos. That favorite slot is always available as well. Players who jump on free-to-play slot platforms like Jackpot Party and QuickHitSlots.com don’t even have to worry about losing money. These slots are available 24/7/365 without having to spend a dime or even download an app (although players can download on Android or iOS).

The best time to play slots ultimately depends on a player’s personal preference. But some of these concepts above are worthy considerations. No matter the time of day or playing scenarios, paying responsibly should be a goal of anyone visiting a casino or playing slots online.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do slots pay out more during certain times of the day?

No. Despite what many players believe, all slot machine results are based on the random number generator (RNG). Time of day or a certain day of the week isn’t a consideration for payouts.

How different is playing on the first day of the month versus the last day of the month?

All payouts are based on the RNG and a slot’s technological inner works. The time of the month a player decides to play doesn’t enter into winning. The RNG could reward a jackpot on the first of the month. Last of the month, and anywhere in between. Players have no way of determining when these payouts might occur.

Why do people believe in “hot” and “cold” slots?

People often associate the best times to play with their own experiences. A player may notice a slot where players have won throughout the day and consider it “hot” while others may appear to be “cold.”

However, the RNG rewards players at completely random times. While one machine may pay out several payouts over a short time, at other times the game may go long periods without paying out. It’s important to realize that all payouts are random.

Are online slots more generous at specific hours or on certain days?

A player who has won big a couple of times on a weekend might generalize and say that is the best time to play. Another player might have had some nice winning sessions on Tuesday and believes this is the best day to play. The fact is that there is no “magic time” to play either in a live casino or online. All payouts are rewarded randomly.

Should I aim for progressive jackpot slots at particular times?

Many players recommend playing a progressive slot when the prize pool gets high. This may be worth a shot at winning a nice jackpot, but won’t change your odds of winning. Despite the rising prize pool, a winning spin is still determined by the computer’s inner workings and the RNG. It’s also important to remember that no matter the progressive jackpot or time of day.


Understanding how today’s slots work and the mechanics behind them is important when visiting a casino or playing online. Understanding how the RNG determines winning spins will help a player quickly determine that there is no perfect time to play slots when it comes to strategies for winning.

However, when it comes to comfort level, entertainment value, and the chance at accumulating additional players’ club points, selecting certain times may prove beneficial depending on a player’s personal goals and preferences.

Those slot machine adventures should always include considering responsible gaming strategies. Stay within your bankroll, don’t wager more than you can afford to lose, and don’t visit the ATM machine!

Sean Chaffin
Sean Chaffin

Sean Chaffin is a longtime freelance writer, editor, and former high school journalism teacher. He has covered the poker and gaming industry for many years.