Frequently asked questions
Most slot machines, Cindy, offer an incentive to play the maximum coin amount. For example, two-coin inserted may pay 2,000, but three coins pays out 5,000, a bonus of 1,000 additional coins. If this were the case with the machine you had in mind, then I would always recommend playing max coins.
But if the machine is a straight multiplier, say for instance the top jackpot line pays 1,000 with one coin inserted; the second pays 2,000, and the third 3,000, then, yes, occasionally betting less wouldn’t make a difference.
Time and again, even from such esteemed sources as Visiting Vegas type shows on The Travel Channel, and perhaps even your feature (I don’t recall), I continually hear the advice to play the maximum coins (usually five) in the slot machines. Why is that? My question is prompted because everyone seems to push playing maximum coins.
For almost all multiple-pay and multiple-play machines, the maximum coin line tends to yield a better percentage payback. Note on the paytable the proportional difference in the size of your payoff. Example: One coin inserted pays 500 coins; two coins: 1000 coins; three coins: 4000 returned. You clean up when that third coin is played. Play fewer coins, E. W., and the casino advantage rockets north. That is why esteemed sources, and myself in the past, (love that! Good company...) suggest playing the maximum coins allowed to yield a better payback percentage. If playing the maximum amount happens to be a budget buster, those same esteemed sources and Yours Truly will also recommend switching to a lower denomination machine. Can’t hack playing $3 a yank? ...play 75¢ instead.
There are, however, a few machines that do return 500 for one coin inserted, 1,000 for two coins, and 1,500 for three coins. If you happen to come across this sort of proportional paytable, you wouldn’t need to play the maximum amount of coins to get full value from this machine.
Notta chance, Mary. By offering the player a shot at slot immortality, Megabucks shakes you down on the smaller payoffs. It is Megabuck's progressive bonus that allows you to fantasize champagne wishes and caviar dreams. On average, Megabucks returns slightly less than a 90% payback while the typical $1 machine in Nevada averages more than 95%.
The bulk of the lucrative slot business has been the exclusive territory of one manufacturer, International Game Technology (IGT). Their bread-and-butter comes from the most popular machine in America: the Red, White and Blue reel slot. And what makes the Red, White and Blue so popular? Player appeal. People flock to the colors that represent America. Players also love the paytable that offers plenty of low and midrange hits with enough high-end hits to keep them coming back for more.
Note here, Tara, that the above description of "hit rewards" comes from IGT company literature, not me. Because most slots typically have a casino advantage well above my recommended two percent, avoid putting those Red, White and Blue machines in your playing arsenal.
Was that "a" prize, Jimmy, like "just any", or the "Big Kahuna?" Either way, the odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are approximately one in 176 million. The odds of winning any of the Mega Millions prizes are approximately 1 in 40.
A wide-area progressive, such as a Megabucks machine, typically coughs up 87% to the player, which, compared to a standard one-dollar slot that roughly pays back 94%, representing a seven percent loss in long-term return. Unfortunately, Sally, that percentage difference is tied up in a jackpot that you probably will never hit.
The stop time of the random number generator, Kenny, is set by the individual maker of the machine. Some it’s when the first coin is inserted, others the moment the player hits the button that spins the reels. I believe the largest such manufacturer, IGT, triggers theirs by the initiation of the reel spin. Assuming IGT does this, it is highly unlikely that a player would have stopped the RNG at exactly the nanosecond needed to display the mega-jackpot combination on the screen if he had inserted the maximum coin amount, versus playing short. In that blink of an eye before inserting coin three, then hitting the button, the RGN would have cycled through thousands more combinations, so the player who hit the jackpot with one or two coins played, would almost certainly not have hit it with the maximum coins inserted.
Slot players get their share of goodies by signing up for a Player’s Card and inserting it into the machine’s card reader while playing. Doing so allows the casino’s computer to track the amount of money you fed into the machine and reward you accordingly.
Casinos, Fran, also have promotions to cajole players into signing up, so just by registering for your Player’s Club Card, you may even be entitled to some freebies for joining. Why, I just re-gifted a lovely casino tote bag to a brother-in-law I don’t like.
So what can you expect comp-wise by being a slot player? Well, even though casinos vary on what they’ll dole out, luckily the majority of them splash on their brochures information on how much money you will need to play to earn the points needed to get a specific comp.
Also, Fran, you might want to check out your favorite casino’s website for that same information. Not only can you possibly sign up for a Player’s Card online, a couple of casinos where I have a Player’s Club Card allow me to track my points right from my laptop.
A slot machine does not distinguish your hard-earned cash as it gobbles it up, no matter what denomination, nor will it increase or decrease your odds of winning, except in the rare case of slot indigestion.
Those gigantonormous progressive jackpots on machines like Megabucks, Quartermania, the Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, The Price is Right, etc., are paid by the manufacturer of the slot, in this case, IGT. If ever someone’s stars do truly align, IGT (the game's vendor) would send a representative to authenticate the win, and then pay off the winner. To date, IGT MegaJackpots have created hundreds of millionaires, and they have awarded over $3 billion in major jackpots.
Casinos also have their own proprietary progressive machines, typically with their name and logo on the facing. Although the casino sets the percentage they want returned to them when placing an order with a slot manufacturer, the casino would be responsible for the payout.
By the way, Susie, to grow the progressive, a portion of each bet made funds the winning jackpot.
Forget video games, Ronnie, I can prove to you that two-year-olds gamble. Strong statement, yes, but no whiff of bologna.
First, let me give you two examples of children gambling casino style. On the Boardwalk in Atlantic City children can freely walk into an arcade and play true slot machines by exchanging quarters for tokens. They win crummy prizes in exchange for the tickets the slot spits out. Another example is at the children's arcade at the Circus Circus in Reno. A child can play Flip It, the casino game that flips quarters into the air and on rare occasion pushes them down into trays. They disguised it in name only by calling it Jungle Jamboree. Again, kids get to exchange tickets for worthless prizes.
But I did say two-year-olds. To prove I have one foot planted in mid-air, how about the two-year-old who makes a path with Linus blanket in hand to that thingamajig at the supermarket door that dispenses those plastic transparent eggs. For a quarter a young tot can win an egg containing a bracelet, a cheap watch, but most likely a 3c ring(more on that below). These vending machines are classic slot machines.
So is it true gambling? Absolutely. Courts have found that every gambling apparatus must consist of three components; consideration, chance and prize. The child pays something of value (consideration) to use the vending machine: if he wins he receives something of value (prize), usually less than the amount bet; and the outcome depends on chance. Because all three elements are present on the vending machines that dispenses these plastic eggs, this would be considered a true gambling device.
Granted, I doubt anyone would arrest or even put the kibosh on a child for playing grocery store slots, but I do wonder why these vending operators have gone uncontested for so long. Who owns these cash cows milking kids out of quarters?
By the way, Ronnie, I some insider information, the cost of those plastic egg prizes produced in Asia is about 3c, and there is only one true prize (junky watch) per two hundred eggs. Our offspring are up against tougher odds than the tightest one-armed bandit.
The stimulation to gamble does begin early for many children, well before an arcade adventure. And what parent in his or her right mind is really going to say no? We have to be quarter generous to our kids. They will be choosing our nursing home.
The "handle" is the total amount of all coins played through a slot machine. The "hold" (also called "win") is the amount the casino held as profit. The "yield" is the casino's win expressed as a percentage of the profit.
According to Roxy Roxborough, czar of the Las Vegas handicappers, "Your chances are a million to one that any one telephone call will be financially rewarding. Compare that against the caller being a telemarketer or an undesirable in-law, three to one." Your best bet, Russell, is to leave the answering machine on.