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HOME > Gaming > Ask the Slot Expert: How does number of coins played affect long-term payback?

Ask the Slot Expert: How does number of coins played affect long-term payback?

11 October 2012

By John Robison, Slot Expert™

I have decided that I much prefer playing the Deuces Wild Bonus Video Poker. I especially like the ones that pay a progressive for the Royal Flush, 5 Aces and 4 Deuces. Some of them also have a progressive for other 4 of a kinds. Is this as good a game as Jacks or Better? Is there an easy way to realize what the odds are of any of the games? Also, where can I find the pocket guides that tell you which cards to hold and which cards to toss. Are there any good books about Deuces Wild, etc.?

I always enjoy reading your articles.

Thanks for your help,

Dear Ron,

Thanks for the kind words.

Is Bonus Deuces Wild as good as Jacks or Better? That depends on how you define "good". Depending on the paytables and progressive amounts, one game could have a higher long-term payback than the other and one game could be more volatile than the other. You said that you prefer a game with bonuses on certain hands, so I think you like a more volatile game and you would find Jacks or Better a bit boring.

You can buy software to calculate statistics about video poker paytables. Some examples are Frugal Video Poker, Wolf Video Poker, VP Strategy Master and Video Poker for Winners. You can get pocket strategy guides from the LVA Shop at Las Vegas Advisor and from RGE. As for books, I like John Grochowski's Video Poker Answer Book, Frank Scoblete's Victory at Video Poker, and Dan Paymar's Video Poker: Optimum Play. I haven't seen Jean Scott's Frugal Video Poker, but she is very knowledgeable and an excellent writer, so it should be very good.

Jackpots for all,

Hi John,

Love your column. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

My question is about how long-term payback works on a slot machine given the different number of lines and credits that can be played. I think my question might have to do with how winning combinations are set up, but I'm not sure.

If a slot machine is of the low-hit/high-pay variety and a bunch of players (say over a period of a couple months) come in and play max coin (say 60 credits) and don't win much (in other words, the machine hasn't paid back its long-term payback), and then a player comes in and only plays 1 coin, 1 line for the foreseeable future, does that person ever have a hope of winning decent money? In other words, would the long-term payback ever get hit? Or will it just take a really, really long time?

If that didn't make sense, I'll attempt to simplify. If all that was ever played on a slot machine were 1 line/1 credit per spin on a machine with a max bet of say 60 credits, would the long-term payback percentage still be valid?


Dear Alison,

Thanks for the kind words.

The results on a slot machine are chosen at random without regard for what has happened in the past, so the number of lines and coins played and the amounts won or lost by prior players has no effect on the results for the current player. So your 1-coin/1-line player has as good a chance of winning as your max-coin players.

What effect does the block of low payback you described have on the machine's actual payback? Probably none. These blocks are usually such a small part of the total play on the machine that they change the actual payback by a fraction of a percentage point. And as the machine gets more and more play, the block has less and less significance.

Most multi-line/multi-coin slots are straight multipliers, so the long-term payback is the same no matter how many coins are played. If there is a bonus for playing a certain number of coins (bonus multiplier), then the PAR sheet (the document that tells the casino and the regulators the percentages for the machine) will note that the long-term payback is different when betting that number of coins and the casino and the regulators will have to keep the mix of bets in mind when they compare the machine's actual payback to what is expected.

Jackpots for all,

Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at slotexpert@slotexpert.com. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

Copyright © John Robison. Slot Expert and Ask the Slot Expert are trademarks of John Robison.

John Robison
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. Hear John on "The Good Times Radio Gaming Show," broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoons. You can listen to archives of the show online anytime.

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