Penny slots offering fighting chance at bigger winner

Dec 17, 2013 3:00 AM

I play penny slots on a regular basis, sad to say, but there is this thirst to find a game that actually gives you a fighting chance.

I’ve had battles with Buffalo and China Shores, but now have turned my attention to Aruze’s “G-Series,” which is the line of video slots featuring classic free-game bonus events and big wins based on simple features like stacked and wild symbols.

Translation: You want matching symbols in at least the first three columns. And, of course, qualifying for the bonus.

Ultra Stack Lion and its “brother” Dragon are 50-line games with high-quality graphics and animation. The central feature of the base game is the collection of animal symbols, which appear clustered in stacks on the reels to create multiple wins.

Playing Lions or Dragons is fun and, unlike most slots, you don’t go minutes without some type of return on investment.

Most of the time I put in $20 at the minimum 50 cents per spin. Ideally, it is advisable to go $1 per spin if you have the money to spend and can afford to lose. Management of funds is essential to gambling on any level. Expect to lose; be thankful to win.

The free-game bonus employs all the popular classic video slot features with a few twists and turns to keep things interesting. Three scattered feature symbols trigger eight free games, with stacked symbols influenced by a “Mini Game” at the beginning.

When the bonus is triggered in Lions five symbols appear, each showing a cat in silhouette. The player is prompted to select one, which reveals one of the five animal symbols on the reels. The number of symbols depicting the chosen animal is multiplied on the free-spin bonus reels.

The selected animal symbol will appear as stacks in the free-spin round, covering up to several reels for big wins. Called the “Big Cat Feature,” the free-spin event can be retriggered during the bonus for eight or more additional free spins.

Obviously you should never bet money that would leave you in the poorhouse. That applies to sports betting, slots, craps, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, poker, video games, keno – anything. Yet more often than not, I see people do it.

And I understand why. Winning is toxic. Last week I hit 7-of-7 in Caveman Keno for $400. So what did I do? I played the same numbers the rest of the week and gave some of it back. Not anywhere close to the $400, but the message was clear. Know when to back off.

No doubt I’ll continue to test and search for the ultimate slot game, which is like discovering a planet in the Internet solar system that can support life.

Manufacturer: Aruze Gaming America; Platform: G-Series; Format: Five-reel, 50-line video slot; Denomination: $.01-$20; Bets ($1 slot): $.50, $1, $1.50, $2, $2.50; Top Award: 1,000 credits times line bet; Hit Frequency: Approximately 50%; Theoretical Hold: 4%-12.8%.

Mark Mayer has over 35 years covering sports events and is the sports editor at GT. Reach him at [email protected].

 GamingToday on Facebook      and         GamingToday on Twitter