Slots FAQ

by Gayle Mitchell

This Learn, Play Slots lesson provides answers to 12 Slots FAQ, frequently asked questions. I received these questions as Editor of Casino Players Ezine: Slots Newsletter.
1) Slots FAQ. I would like to know how to pick a slot machine when I go to a casino.
A. I suggest you start with basic, single payline slots, with two coin maximum and a double or triple bonus feature. After winnings, you can then move up to progressives and/or bonus slots.
2) Slots FAQ. I usually play max. coins on single payline double slots except when I get any kind of win, and then on the next "pull", I will play one coin less to help stretch my playtime. Statistically speaking, I was wondering if this is viable play or should I always play max. coins? 
A. Yes, you should always play max. coins because with the random selection of a slot, back-to-back pays can and do occur.  

3) Slots FAQ. What is a dyed-in-the-wool '50-something' supposed to do when she grew up playing only reel dollar slots and now doesn't have the nerve to sit down at a 9-line video slot because she doesn't want to look foolish?  They seem so complicated, although I know they must not be. It is not the 45 nickels per round that scares me, it is the stupidity.
A. Help is at hand. I have reviewed hundreds of video slots and I suggest you start by scanning the help menu that will explain what symbols pay out and how much. Be sure to activate all the paylines and start out with 5 payline versions--cheaper to play maximum coin. Most people don't always know how they won or how they got to the bonus round--so throw the 'stupidity label' out and dive in. 

4) Slots FAQ. A lot of people say that pulling the arm on a slot machine will pay more than pushing the button. Is this true?
A. This theory is older than dirt---there is no difference. The slot manufacturers leave the slot handle in place because they know slot players think there is a difference. Notice that bonus video slots do not have handles and the prediction is that in the future, the handles will all be eliminated.
5) Slots FAQ. I have 3 slots questions.
A. If you were me playing slots for the first time, what would you recommend?
B. What are ‘nudge’ slots?
C. What is a non-progressive slot machine?
A. Three answers below.
A. I would start with basic, single payline, two-coin max. slots that pay double/triple for certain combinations, then you can move on to progressives and bonus slots.
B. Nudge slots feature an option where the symbol will 'jump' or move up or down to offer a payback. They are fun to play and watch.
C. A non-progressive slot is a version that has a constant top jackpot that never changes, as described in #1—basic, single payline.

6) Slots FAQ. Are slots programmed to payoff jackpots (or any amount) based on the number of coins played. That is, do they pay off a certain number of times for one coin played, another for two coins played, and another for three coins? I notice that sometimes machines pay when I play two coins, but when I start to play three coins on the same machine it stops paying. I go back to two and it starts to pay again.
I sometimes see a jackpot that was hit on one coin and wonder if it would have hit if more coins had been played. I am a computer programmer (not a slots programmer) and I don't see any reason why slots could not be programmed to hit based on number of coins played.
A. A slot's random number generator is programmed to select certain combinations with a pre-determined payout % as authorized by the casino. The same combination upon spinning will come-up regardless of the number of coins inserted. Playing max. is the only way to get full payment from any winning combination.
7) Slots FAQ. Are quarter slots tighter? How much bankroll is required for quarter slots?
A. The higher denominations ($1+) will pay out more percentage-wise; however, you require a larger bankroll.
As far as your quarters bankroll, it can be from the low end of $200 to $1000+ depending on your comfort level. I suggest you begin with quarters and move up with your winnings.

8) Slots FAQ. It seems to me that playing 45 coins on a five-cent machine is not as good a bet as playing a dollar machine? Also, I wonder if on a 20 line, five-cent machine, is it necessary to play all 20 lines or could you play five or nine lines and come out ahead?
A. Some good questions here. I agree that basic, single payline dollar slots with 2-3 coins max. will stretch your gambling bankroll. I normally suggest that slot players begin with the basic slots.
As to 20 lines, you should activate all lines, but with 1 or 2 coins per line rather than play max. on only 5-9 lines, Further, as your credits mount, I suggest a max bet on all 20 paylines for possible increased payouts.

9) Slots FAQ. We have had a lot of luck at the slots, however I have noticed playing 5X that when you start hitting with cherries quite often, then a mid size payoff is just around the corner. Also, it seems like you have to invest quite a bit to hit these types. Any truth in that assumption?
A. When playing these slots, keep in mind that the higher the top jackpot, the fewer times it will be hit. I suggest that you search out slots that have a $1000-$1500 top jackpot to begin--spend less and hit the 'top of the tree' instead of 'branches'. Happy hunting.

10) Slots FAQ.  I play slots and like the 5x and 10x payout types the most even though the percentage payout is less. When you do hit with one of the multiples occasionally, it really counts. Could you tell me which is more advantageous to play:
Dollar slot-2 coins-5x machine
50 cent-2 coins-10x machine
A. Both choices sound tempting. I tend to lean towards the dollar 5X, but here's a suggestion. Take an equal amount and play both, and then determine which was the biggest winner. I would try this test in three casinos and/or three different days and analyze for a trend.
11) Slots FAQ. I noticed many of the slots are now multi-denomination, 25, 50 and 1.00.
My question is, typically a 25-cent machine will have a lower payout percentage than $1.00 machines. With all three denominations available, is the ‘little brain’ inside making that distinguishing change when you play up?
A. Yes, there is a 'little brain' in the multi-denoms for each denomination. Therefore, if you are playing dollars for that particular version, the payouts will be higher.
12) Slots FAQ. Can it be assumed based that slots is a 'bad bet' and likely one of the worst with a top average payout of only 94.7%?
A. The answer to your question is, No, slots is not the worst bet because of a couple of factors.
Slots can be a good bet. There's no denying it is the most popular game and the least intimidating at casinos online and off.
Let's make a comparison to table games.  To quote, your top payout of 94.7% for slots and round up to 95%, the casino pc, or house advantage would be 5%.
Certain bets for craps, double zero roulette, baccarat and yes, even playing without strategy in blackjack can earn the casino more than 5% of your gambling bankroll.
In addition, there's the 'grind' of playing these games.
Additionally, slots are a good bet if you play 'full-pay' Video Poker online or off.
Slot players reap additional benefits when playing at a locals’ Vegas casino, any casino with more than 3 competitors close by, dollar+ slots, certain slot versions as with single payline basic slots and online casinos that are audited and report payouts.

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