smoothgrh
Joined: Oct 26, 2011
• Posts: 383
April 5th, 2018 at 8:46:43 PM permalink
I’ve been pondering the number of lines to play on late ‘90s/early 2000s slot machines, like the Wizard’s Atkins Diet slot, which are usually 5 reels and usually up to 9, 15, or 25 lines—and offers no incentive to bet max credits.

My understanding is that the payback percentage for such a machine is the same no matter how many lines or credits per line that one plays—though I've never seen that explicitly stated. For example, the payback percentage is the same whether I play 9 lines at 5 credits per line or 15 lines at 3 credits per line (both 45 credits total), assuming the same machine & denomination.

I think the psychological obstacle is that one will “miss out” on big wins by not playing more lines. However, by playing more lines, one also loses proportionally more when there’s a cold spell. So the play simply evens out toward the theoretical return in the end?

What about jackpots? Using the Atkins Diet slot as an example, the odds of getting a jackpot by playing one line is (1/32)*(1/32)*(1/32)*(1/32)*(1/32) = 0.00000003 = 3 in 100,000,000. What happens if I play 2 lines? It increases my chance of getting a jackpot—but by how much? What about playing 15 lines?

If the general casino setup is that higher denominations have a better payback percentage, then I should play 5 lines at 2 quarters per line (\$2.50/spin) instead of 25 lines at 10 pennies per line (also \$2.50/spin), assuming it's the same machine with multiple denominations, right? I might get more frequent wins with 10 lines, but in the long run (yes, I know—millions of spins) I would theoretically win more (technically, lose less) with 5 lines?
BleedingChipsSlowly
Joined: Jul 9, 2010
• Posts: 872
April 6th, 2018 at 12:03:17 AM permalink
Higher denomination machines usually have a higher payback, not higher denomination bets. 1-line 1-credit bets at a \$10 machine will generally have a higher return than 2-credit 5-line bets on a \$1 machine.

More lines will have the same payback probability except when there is a bonus tied to “max coin” play. More lines will also reduce variance.
“You don’t bring a bone saw to a negotiation.” - Robert Jordan, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia
beachbumbabs
Joined: May 21, 2013
• Posts: 13770
April 6th, 2018 at 8:33:07 AM permalink
My basic guidelines have been, from much reading :

When a slot does not have a bonus amount or progressive tied to betting max credits, you should play AT LEAST one credit per line.

When a slot has an extra payment on the top pay (s) with maximum bet (ex 1) a feature only enabled above a certain bet point (including max bet, but some slots have steps up)(ex 2), or a progressive that only pays on maximum bet (ex3), you should bet to the highest amount that includes that feature.

Example 1. A 3 reel slot has the same pays for a single-line, whether you bet 1 or 2 credits, EXCEPT the very top pay is 10,000 credits for 1 credit, 25,000 for 2 credits. You want to pay 2 credits.

Example 1a. The basic Wheel of Fortune .25 or more 1 line machine will pay for 1, 2, or 3 credits per spin. However, you must play 3 credits to get to spin the wheel when that symbol lands on the 3rd wheel. The other pays are the same as 2 credits, but the wheel symbol is inactive with only 2 credits. Play 3 credits.

Example 2. The big Buffalo progressive .01 machine has a progressive in the hundreds of thousands, and 3 lower progressives. The maximum bet is 3.75 (5x a minimum bet of .75), BUT the maximum jackpot slice is active at 3.00 (4x). Play 3.00.

Example 3. Quick Hit Platinum has 30 lines, minimum bet is 30 credits. There are 6 progressives on the machine. You can only win the progressive amounts by Max betting 150 credits (5x). Make the max bet.

If you can't afford to make the maximum bet on that type of slot, play a less expensive slot.

The lower the denomination of the slot, the higher the house edge/ lower the Return To Player (most use RTP to show this). There are exceptions, but this is generally true.

Some machines have multiple denominations. SOME of those machines give better RTP at higher denominations. Not all. I'm not aware of how to tell which are which currently. But they could program them either way.

When they first came out with this, maybe 20 years ago, some of the glass or information screens said, "higher denominations give better return" or something similar. I haven't seen anything like that on a machine for a long time, but there might still be some around.

That's enough for now. There are several people here who know much more about it; I'm not an expert.. Corrections and additions welcome.
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
smoothgrh
Joined: Oct 26, 2011
• Posts: 383
April 6th, 2018 at 9:18:31 AM permalink
Thanks for the replies!

What I'm thinking about is for those old video slots, say you only play 13 lines at a generous 97.0% payback percentage. If you only play 14 lines instead, the payback percentage is still 97.0%, right?

There's a teensy better chance to get all five top symbols, but in the long run, the machine will still, in theory, reach the theoretical payback percentage? Is my thinking correct?
ThatDonGuy
Joined: Jun 22, 2011
• Posts: 3733
April 6th, 2018 at 3:01:31 PM permalink
Quote: smoothgrh

Thanks for the replies!

What I'm thinking about is for those old video slots, say you only play 13 lines at a generous 97.0% payback percentage. If you only play 14 lines instead, the payback percentage is still 97.0%, right?

There's a teensy better chance to get all five top symbols, but in the long run, the machine will still, in theory, reach the theoretical payback percentage? Is my thinking correct?

In most cases, yes, but a lot of penny machines say that you must play the maximum bet - all of the lines, at the highest number of coins - in order to be eligible for the progressive jackpot.

One of my "ten rules of gambling" used to be to play as many lines as you can, as there is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing the jackpot appear on an unplayed line, but I changed it to play only the number of lines you can see clearly; an unplayed line with a jackpot isn't as bad if the line jumps up and down like a San Francisco seismograph that you can't tell at first glance.
smoothgrh
Joined: Oct 26, 2011
• Posts: 383
April 6th, 2018 at 4:07:28 PM permalink
Quote: ThatDonGuy

In most cases, yes, but a lot of penny machines say that you must play the maximum bet - all of the lines, at the highest number of coins - in order to be eligible for the progressive jackpot.

Right, but I'm referring to games where you're not required to make the maximum bet, and there is no progressive.

The theoretical return is the same no matter how many lines are played, right? Or does it change because there's a minimally better chance to get the top five symbols had I played more lines?

--Two machines of the same game, let's say Lucky Larry's Lobstermania, set to identical payback percentages.
--On one machine, 12 lines are played on every spin for the lifetime of the machine.
--On the other machine, 3 lines are played on every spin for the lifetime of the machine.

After a few million spins, would the payback percentages on both machines be about the same? If yes, even though getting all five Wild symbols is slightly more likely with 12 lines instead of 3?
prozema
Joined: Oct 24, 2016