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Is it really just a penny? Understand how penny slots work, and go in with a strategy.
Slots have come a long way, and game developers are making some very entertaining online slot games with genuinely impressive animations that are comparable to Hollywood productions. However, this is still gambling, and it’s important to remember that a lot of money can be lost if you are not aware of what’s going on. And although slot machines are completely random, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a strategy. By understanding the different types of slots, you’ll also be able to get more enjoyment out of these games.
Let’s start with the Penny Slots, and its most common misconception. The basic idea is that the minimum bet is only 1 penny, and since you can’t really get anything for 1 penny today, this can be great, cheap entertainment. You might even walk away with more money. In practice, it’s a little more complicated than that.
Progressive Jackpots’ Golden Rule
1 penny is the minimum bet per line – there are usually multiple lines in penny slots and the maximum bet is often higher. Many penny slots have progressive jackpots through their bonus games - and most bonus games which are key to winning progressive jackpots will only be unlocked if you are playing with maximum bet. So while there aren’t many rules to playing slots, the one rule you must know is that if you are playing for the jackpot, then check if max bet is required to unlock the jackpot – and if it is, you should always play with the max bet. If max bet is 30 coins, you would be spending $0.30 per spin. Some progressive jackpots are now informing us that max bet is no longer necessary to unlock the jackpot, so do make sure to check.
These games tend to have a higher hit frequency, so even if it’s not the ultimate jackpot, there are still small wins to be made. So others employ a different strategy: instead of making a max bet, they bet lower to stretch out their bankroll because they feel their odds at hitting the jackpot are simply too low. This is also an option, but in this case it may be better to consider “top payout” non-progressive games instead – these jackpots are more modest compared to the million dollar progressive jackpots, but players will have much, much better odds at winning.
Many people will also bet on the maximum paylines to increase their chances of entering a bonus game that leads to the million dollar jackpot. And it’s worth taking a minute to see how this affects your revenues in the bigger picture.
Multi-Lines: A Little Bit of Mathematics
Many games will have multiple paylines – sometimes called “ways to win”, and you may want to bet on multiple lines to increase your chances in winning, and to enter bonus features. You will obviously be more likely to win, but just bear in mind that each line that does not win still costs you money. For example:
If you bet on 5 lines, each at $0.01 you would have bet 5 x $0.01 = $0.05
Let’s say 1 of your lines win $0.06 – you would have made a net win of only $0.01.
Compare this to betting on just 1 line. If that line wins, you would win $0.05
If it took this 1 line 2 spins to win, your net gain would still be higher at $0.04
So while betting on more lines will increase your chances in hitting a winning combination, your overall net gain may not necessarily be higher.
Larger scale surveys have also shown that chances of winning at slots tend to be better if you stay with a specific game, and without increasing your bet. In the end, playing slots is gambling. It’s a form of paid entertainment – which is not that different from buying a ticket at a cinema to watch a movie. The key is to understand what is actually at stake, how much you can afford to play, and to stop when you reach your limit. Once you understand the games’ rules and structures (usually details are in the Help and paytable screens) then slots can be a lot fun - and sometimes very rewarding.