Expert Guide

Every time I am inside a casino, I see players standing in front of the progressive machines and playing less than maximum coins. What this actually means is that you are feeding the machine and bumping up the jackpot with no chance of winning it yourself. The full jackpot can only be won by playing maximum coins.

But there are times when playing minimum coins are not a bad move. Here are examples of when I play max coins and when I consider it prudent to play minimum coins.

On slot machines such as Megabucks and Wheel of Fortune, which are reel-spinning wide-area progressives, I always play max coins. Max coins on these machines is usually two or three coins. It’s the last coin that qualifies me for the progressive jackpot, so I don’t mind playing one or two extra coins to get a chance at this.

When it comes to progressive video slots, I change my thinking. Max coins on these machines can be as high as 45, 90, or even more coins. So on a 45-coin machine, you have to play the first 44 coins before you can play the last coin that qualifies you for the progressive.

Robison’s Rules of Slot Mathematics says that the paybacks on coins played are averaged together, meaning that while the payback on the last coin might be very high due to the progressive, it is spread over the 44 other coins. The progressive raises the overall payback of the machine by very little.

On video slots I usually play one coin per line. I think its not worth ‘nine-timesing’ my bet, if its on a 45-coin machine, in order to take a shot at a remote chance progressive which will have very little effect on the machine’s payback.

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