Think minimum/maximum for playing slot machines

Oct 29, 2013 3:00 AM

I often look for the best returning games in the casino. Whether I play them or not depends on where the day (or night) takes me.

It’s common knowledge penny slots return less money to the player than higher limits games. The smart approach to slot machines is to play the highest limit game you can afford. However, the wind doesn’t always guide you toward the smartest slot machine plays in the casino.

Sometimes it’s fun to play the penny slots because of the loud noises and bright lights. Sometimes penny slots are a nice way to ease into the gaming day at the casino.

Every state’s gaming commission has minimum returns a casino (or other gaming establishment like a bar) must adhere to for slot games. Slot games consist of slot machines, video poker and keno machines.

Video poker returns are typically in the 90% range while video keno usually has some of the lowest returns in a casino. Slot machines, even penny slots, are somewhere in the middle.

Since slot machines are controlled by a random number generator chip there really isn’t a specific correct strategy that works when playing penny slots. There isn’t a specific strategy because the results of each spin on a slot machine are random.

That said, there is one piece of strategy/advice for any penny slot player to maximize their returns. Always play the maximum bet to qualify for a bonus. While that advice is great it can get expensive on certain games, so you’ll want to pay attention to the rules of the games.

Some of the penny machines can have a max bet near $5 per spin. That may not be what you want, or expect, when playing a penny slot. Read the buttons because you may not have to play the maximum wager to qualify for a bonus.

Some games, like Wizard of Oz, will allow you to qualify for the bonus based on 2 credits per line, which is 80 cents for 40 lines. Sure, you can wager 5 credits or $2 per spin if you want to – but you don’t have to.

Every slot machine is different so make sure you pay attention to the buttons to know what you have to wager in order to maximize your returns. Play whatever you’re comfortable with, and if that’s $5 per spin, have a good time!

When playing penny slots I will often play with a min-max strategy, which is simply wagering the least amount to qualify for a bonus round. This will ensure maximizing returns on the specific game.

The min-max strategy is great for easing into the morning by sipping coffee while playing the nine-line Top Dollar penny slot. That’s only 9 cents per spin and I qualify for a bonus. That’s smart, cheap and fun!

Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gambling and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Follow Marc on twitter @eastcoastgamblr. Check out his blog at www.AC2LV.com Contact Marc at [email protected].

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