If I bet more, do I win more?
Today we discuss betting amounts:
Q. Do dollar slot machines have higher paybacks than quarter or penny games?
A. First, what do you want out of the game? If what you want for your entertainment dollar is the fun of bonus events, free spins, animation, video and sound effects, then payback percentages are lower on penny slots but you’re likely willing to take the tradeoff in entertainment.
If you decide strictly in terms of average loss, let’s try to plot it out. I’ll use typical slot payback percentages. They vary – sometimes widely – from casino to casino, but 86 percent on pennies, 91 percent on quarters and 94 percent on dollars are reasonable estimates.
Assuming 1,000 spins, then your risk is $1,000 betting $1 at a time on the dollar game, $750 betting three quarters and $800 betting 80 pennies. At 86 percent, the penny machine pays $640 and the casino keeps $160. At 91 percent, the quarter machine pays $682.50 and the casino keeps $67.50. If the dollar machine paid 94 percent regardless of how many coins you wagered, then for your $1,000, you would get $940 back and the casino would keep $60. But it’s not that simple.
On three-reel slots, the top jackpot pays disproportionately more when you play maximum coins. A jackpot worth $1,000 on a one-coin bet and $2,000 on a two-coin bet might jump to $5,000 on a three-coin bet.
To calculate a payback percentage for a one-coin bet, we would need to know how frequently the jackpot combination occurs. The casinos and manufacturers don’t let us in on that secret. So, usually, betting the max on a quarter game is your best bet.