There are hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of slot machines in the world, and probably just as many strategies out there on how to play them correctly. I’m not going to try to give a “be all and end all” strategy in this article. What I’d instead like to do is offer some basic advice on when / if you should ever play full coin on these machines, or whether playing a single coin will do.
By definition, if you play a single coin on a single line, your bankroll will last much longer than if you play multiple coins on multiple lines. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes there is good reason to play all lines (for example, to get into a bonus feature, or win a progressive jackpot), or to bet more coins on a single line (for example, to win a higher prize “per-coin” than you would get if you didn’t bet the maximum coins). All slot machine percentages are calculated in the long term assuming perfect play by the user – so if you play these machines incorrectly, you could end up giving the casino a much bigger edge than you thought.
Here are some guiding principles that should help you decide whether to play full coin or a single coin on various slot machine types:
1) The traditional “reel stepper machine”. In this example I’m using the new game Double Blackjack, (c) IGT.
Look at the mirror glass. You’ll note that there are 3 columns. In each payout instance, the 2nd and 3rd columns (representing 2 coins on the payline or 3 coins on the payline) simply double or triple the 1st coin payout (in column 1). So 3 Red 7’s pay 120 on 1 coin, 240 on 2 coins, 360 on 3 coins. What is not currently shown is the amount that the Jackpot (3 Blackjack symbols) would pay on the 3rd coin.
If the Jackpot on the 3rd coin would pay 3000 credits, then the payout for all combinations on this game is exactly relative to the number of coins played. Where this is the case, you can simply play ONE CREDIT AT A TIME. You’ll extend your playing time and lower your risk, but NOT get a lower percentage rate of return.
If however the Jackpot on the 3rd coin would pay 5000 credits (or any figure higher than 3000 credits), then you should pay MAX COIN (in this case, 3 coins). Why? Because the overall game percentage has been calculated allowing for that higher jackpot amount on a 3rd coin. If you play only 2 coins and hit the Jackpot, you’ll get 2000 credits, but your overall game payout percentage WILL be lower.
2) The very common “multi-line multi-credit video slot machine”. In this example I’m using the new game Zeus, (c) WMS Gaming.
Whenever you play a multi-line multi-credit video slot machine such as this one, you should play a minimum of one credit on ALL paylines. In this example, there are 30 paylines, so your minimum bet should be 30 credits (30 x 1 credit). This is important, because again the overall game percentages have been calculated with the expectation that all lines will be played (which can also affect bonus games etc).
On SOME machines, it is necessary to play ALL paylines to get the bonus feature. On others you may have to play ALL paylines PLUS an extra 10 or 20 or double credit bet to become eligible for further game bonuses / prizes. Where this is the case, you should definitely play all necessary credits to ensure you can access all game prizes. If you play anything less, then you’re giving extra game percentage to the casino.
It is NOT normally necessary to play multiple credits on multiple lines – and often doing so is a “bad bet” because you’re putting more money at risk for a marginal (if any) difference in overall game return. However, if the machine you are playing is a PROGRESSIVE Jackpot machine, it is sometimes a requirement that ALL lines are played at MAX BET. Again, if you choose to play this type of machine, make sure that you read those rules and follow them closely. There’s nothing more disheartening than having those jackpot symbols line up, but getting a prize of $50 rather than $1,000,000 because you didn’t play enough coins!
Whilst this slot machine strategy is fairly basic in coverage, I hope you’ll find it useful. If you’d like me to cover this in more detail moving forward, please drop me an email at email@example.com and let me know.