CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Ask the Slot Expert: Do you get more favorable results when you bet more on a slot machine?

7 August 2019

Question: I would like to know if the reels spin any differently if you play minimum or maximum coin in? Seems to me that more favorable reel results happen when you play higher amounts.

Answer: Slot regulations specify that the result dictated by the RNG must be displayed and that the RNG must be free of any outside influences, like the number of coins played. The number of coins you play should have no influence on where the symbols land.

It's funny that you should ask this question. I've been playing the Hexogems game Jewels of the Pharaoh a lot the past few weeks and it sure seems like I had better results playing two credits per line at the one-cent denomination than playing one credit per line at the two-cent denomination, even though the bet was the same in both cases. After a string of good sessions at two per line, I had a really terrible one earning the points I needed to get that day's gift. That was one expensive cheesecake!

I'm sure my differing results were just a matter of luck, but there are some differences based on denomination and bet multiplier on that machine. The most obvious differences are the amounts of the Mini and Minor awards, which increase as you increase denomination. At the one-cent denomination, the Mini and Minor pay $15 and $50, respectively. At two cents, $25 and $75. At five cents, $35 and $100 and at ten cents, $50 and $150.

Let me give a brief description of how a Hexogem game works. Instead of reels, the main screen shows an array of nine hexagons arranged into a diamond pattern. You win on a play when you get a contiguous string of five or more of the same symbol. According to the marketing literature, there are 1,796 of these winning patterns.

The bonus round is a locking respin bonus. Five or more scattered hexagons showing a credit award or Mini, Minor, Major or Mega trigger the Respin Bonus. (I'll refer to the Mini, Minor, Major and Mega as the big awards, even though they may sometimes be lower than a credit award.) The screen changes to the bonus screen and there is a message saying that the bonus reels are now in play.

Like other locking bonuses, bonus amounts accumulate in each cell. The triggering bonus amounts move down to a lozenge in the bottom of the hexagon (Mini, Minor, Major and Mega move to a lozenge in the top). You get three respins initially.

When another bonus amount lands in a hexagon, that amount is added to the accumulator in the bottom of the hexagon or to the top lozenge if it's one of the big awards. If the hexagon has not previously had a bonus amount, you get bounced back up to three respins. (Sound familiar?) The bonus ends when you run out of respins.

Now, you might ask what happens if you get, say, the Mini twice in a hexagon? How does the screen show multiple Minis in the top lozenge?

It doesn't because you can't get multiple big awards in a hexagon. According to the help screens, there are two ways to get one of the big awards. First, on the main screen as part of the bonus trigger. And second, during the respins, in a hexagon that has not previously had an award, either credit or big. Once a hexagon has had an award, it can only have additional credit awards.

A general rule on these games that have awards that increase with denomination is to move up in denomination before betting more credits per line. If you're going to bet $1 per spin, you might as well do it at the two-cent denomination and go for a Mini worth $25 instead of betting two credits per line at one cent and getting only $15 for the Mini.

This little tidbit on the second page of the Respin Bonus help screens casts doubt on that advice. "The chance of winning Mega and Major increases with bet multiplier." Might you be better off increasing the number of credits bet per line before increasing denomination?

Only the PAR sheet knows for sure, but almost certainly not. You might get the Mini and Minor fairly frequently -- you might, I haven't -- and you might never get the Major or Mega. The extra chances of getting the bigger big awards might never pay off and you'll be winning less with each Mini and Minor you do get.

Actually, the chances increasing with the bet multiplier should come as no surprise because of a regulation in Nevada. The Major and Mega are progressives. When multiple bet amounts can win a progressive, the probabilities of hitting the progressive must be proportional to the bet amount. In other words, someone betting twice the minimum must be twice as likely to get the progressive. The fine print at the bottom of the second Respin Bonus help screen gives the approved mumbo-jumbo describing this regulation: "Multi-denominational link - The amount wagered times the odds of winning the jackpots are equivalent for all denominations."


I met my cousin for breakfast today and we played a bit after we ate. After we played two slots side-by-side, she wanted to go play Keno. I'll play some of these crappy, ancient machines that she likes to play once in a while, but I just don't get Keno. I let her go to her Keno machine and I went in the other direction.

A while later I found her again and she said she had been playing an Aristocrat Wonder 4 machine and that the machine malfunctioned multiple times, not paying her for winning combinations. She said that she got a handful of leprechauns, for instance, and didn't get paid. She said that she had other combinations that should have won, but she didn't get paid. She said that there must be something wrong with that panel.

I said that these machines are tested extensively and it is very unlikely that her machine malfunctioned and that it was incredibly unlikely for a machine to malfunction in the basic function of paying off a winning combination.

She took me to the machine. I figured that she didn't meet the requirements for a leprechaun payout, so I checked the help screens to see how to win with leprechauns. She got impatient as I was reading about pots of gold, so I gave up and repeated that it was probably not a malfunction.

No one had played this machine after she left it, so it was still in the same state that it was in when she left. She put the leprechaun game back in the third panel. Sure enough, the screen had lots of leprechauns in adjacent reels. It looked like she should have won something. But again I said that there must be some reason this combo didn't pay.

Then she got exasperated and put a Buffalo game in the panel. The screen showed three scattered coins. "I know you know that three coins gives free spins," she said. "I didn't get them."

At this point, like a scene in a mystery when the detective suddenly puts all of the clues together, I remembered something she said. She said multiple times that there must be something wrong with the panel.

I looked at the screen more closely. The top two panels were brighter than the bottom two. I checked the last bet, 90 cents. I checked the button deck. A 90-cent bet enables only the top two panels, not the bottom two.

I said that there was no malfunction. "You didn't bet enough to enable the third panel."

I said that if she can't figure out why a machine didn't pay out and she really thinks it's malfunctioning, she should call a slot attendant. They'll be able to explain why a combination didn't pay or report the malfunction if a machine truly is not working properly.

My cousin said that casinos don't care about malfunctions.

Many people have said the same thing to me. Furthermore, some people say that casinos claim malfunction when they don't want to pay a big win. But it's not true. The casino already has the edge over slot players and it wants its machines to be in good working order. I tell them to report the machine to the casino and, if they're not satisfied, report the incident to the local gaming commission.

Some people then say that the commission is biased against the players because they always rule in favor of the casino.

While it's true that commissions usually side with the casino, it's not because they are biased. The cases that get this far do not have compelling arguments on both sides. It's not 50/50.

If there was absolutely nothing unusual about a win, the casino would pay it. It happens millions of times each day. It's only when something unusual happens — a malfunction? — that casinos won't pay, players get pissed, and the commission gets involved. The incident only gets to the commission if something has gone wrong.

For fun, search for articles about casinos claiming machine malfunctions to avoid paying big wins. Some of the authors' ignorance about slot machines is obvious, but even some authors who seem otherwise knowledgeable side with the players in ridiculous cases.

For instance, this situation has occurred multiple times. Someone is playing a machine, hits a winning combination, and the machine says she won millions of dollars. The player takes a picture of herself and the message on the screen.

The casino refuses to pay. It says that there was a malfunction. The case ends up with the gaming commission.

The commission rules against the player. Players claim bias. Journalists claim casinos use malfunctions to avoid paying jackpots.

Here's the rest of the story. The maximum jackpot you could win on the machine was only $10,000. There was absolutely no way to win millions of dollars. Clearly the machine malfunctioned.

I think these players are ill-advised to pursue these cases and the journalists who claim these are cases of casinos refusing to pay legitimately won jackpots are ill-informed.

John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots