Question: How do you determine what is considered loose and tight in slot machines? Is there a way of identifying them? Do they place them where we can’t find them? Karen K. Answer: All casinos, Karen, have “loose” and “tight” machines commingled in the casino. “Loose” machines are defined as those machines returning more of the player’s money; the “tight” machines return less. Likewise, “loose and “tight” are relative terms. One casino’s “loose” machines could be the equivalent of another casino’s “tight” machines-with all casinos having a mix of both. If such-and-such casino describes their machines as “loose,” it can mean one of two things, “more payouts” or “higher paybacks,” and a slot machine’s payback is not necessarily related to the number of payouts. Confused, I thought so. As for finding those “loose” ones, well, that’s no easy task. Slot managers place their machines strategically to maximize customer appeal and potential casino earnings. Unfortunately, Karen, I can’t give you a tried-and-true reply as to where slot managers place their “loose” machines, besides, no two casinos do it exactly alike. Nor is it possible to distinguish “loose” and “tight” machines by look or type. Unless specifically advertised, such as, “98% return on these machines,” two similar machines sitting side-by-side could produce radically different results. Yet, if happenstance and Irish luck place you in front of the loosest machine in the house, a “loose” machine over the long run is seldom a winning proposition.