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Slots Slot denominations and odds, can you help me out?

Discussion in 'Slots' started by Lady Fortuna, May 18, 2016.

  1. Lady Fortuna

    Lady Fortuna High-Roller

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    So far I've been quite ignorant when it comes to playing slot machines, just picking games for their looks and features, without any sense for things like payouts and odds and what more. And so far I've been pretty lucky this way. But I have a feeling that - what I suppose is - my beginners-luck won't last much longer, so I decided to take these matters more serious from now on. I have done a lot of researching already and get the bigger picture. But there are some things that are not totally clear to me. I hope you can help me out on that?

    What I get is that A. a slot machine can be set to payback anywhere from 80-something % to 99% and B. the higher the denomination, the better the odds. What I don't get is:

    A: Are there set rules for the payback of slotmachines? Or can a casino just decide what ever they want and for example set every slot in the casino with a different payback? And is there a way to know exactly what the payback on each machine is, I mean when you are already there and walking by? Or do you just have to gamble (that would be ironic lol), considering the location of the casino etc and make an estimation, but never be sure?

    B: On some machines the denomination is set, but on others you can choose which denomination you want. On these last ones, does the payback change with the chosen denomination? Or is the payback set the same, no matter which denomination you choose? And if it's the last case, do they take an average (this would be an advantage if you play with the lowest denomination, compared to the "normal" slot machines with that same denomination), or will it be set to payback as for the lowest denomination and that counts for all? And another thing: On some slots you can pick how many pay-lines you want to play with and pick the amount of credits you want to play with. For those machines, does "the higher the denomination, the better the odds" count as well? And if so, does this mean that you best play those machines with only 1 pay-line and 1 credit? As I guess doing 1 spin with x-amount of pay-lines is exactly the same as doing the same x-amount of spins with only 1 pay-line. Is that correct?

    Thank you very much for any help!
     
  2. Chuck2009x

    Chuck2009x VIP Whale

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    There's two things to consider: Payback % and volatility.

    Volatility is easier, so to explain that first:

    There are machines that have low jackpots, these machines are typically 3 reel machines like Double Diamond. They pay small to medium amounts frequently, which allows you to (usually) play longer on a given amount of money. A lot of people find them boring.

    There are machines that have high potential jackpots relative to the amount you have to bet. These tend to be video slots like Buffalo and its variations, Cleopatra, etc. They will have long dry spells or spells where they pay out very small amounts, and then hit a whopper.

    As for Payback percentages:

    The state Gaming Commission sets minimum payback floors. Competition and an individual casino's desire for return dictates what they set their own machines at.

    There are several manufacturers of slot machines. The possible payback percentages for a machine are somewhat determined by the way the game itself plays - that is to say, there are a finite number of possible combinations. The manufacturers can say to the casino: "These are the overall payback percentages this machine can do, and this is how we can spread the overall percentage among the different specific payouts (ie 2 credits, 5 credits, 10 credits, etc)n) each" Call this a configuration. The manufacturer can offer casinos several different payback percentages and configurations for each game. The casino orders what it wants, and the manufacturer programs it into the machine's software.

    Most slot players, myself included, believe that on multi-denomination slots, the payback % is better the higher the denomination.

    I don't believe that the number of lines played affects the payback percentage. I don't think I've ever seen a video machine that requires you to play max lines to qualify for a bonus (but I don;t play a lot of video slots, so I could be wrong about that)

    Playing max coin or credits can affect your individual payback percentage in two ways: 1) because it may be required in order to qualify for bonus rounds, and 2) because, in the example of a reel machine, the top line jackpot may be better (a machine where the top line jackpot is 800 credits for 1 coin and 2,000 for 2 coins would be an example).

    You can't sit at a machine and tell exactly what its payback percentage is by playing it (except at Venetian/Palazzo, where their players club Status Points are awarded on the basis of the payback %). But the Gaming Commission publishes the casinos win percentage by denomination on a monthly basis, so it's pretty easy to get an idea.

    For 2015, these were the aggregate payback percentages by denomination on the Strip (rounded off):
    Technically, these aren't payback percentages; I calculated the inverse of the casinos' "Win % (the percentage the casino kept, as a percentage of total coin in).

    Pennies: 88%
    One Dollar: 93%
    Five Dollar: 95%

    For purposes of overall payback percentage, if the denomination is the same on both spins, the simple answer is yes. However, doing two spins makes it more likely that you will win something than doing one spin.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2016
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  3. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Chuck pretty much covers it all here, I think.

    This however I'm not fully convinced. I haven't read many statements one way or the other on this. Either the paytables are better the higher you go up on multi-denomination machines, or they are all the same. I think it's a mix of both, but I think quite a few of the video slot games are all the same, and yielding penny level payouts no matter the denomination played, but I have no proof of that.

    I wanted to play a slot at the nickel denomination, and had the choice between a stand alone nickel machine, or a slot that had 1c, 2c, 5c denominations on it, I would always choose the nickel only machine. If it was a choice between a penny machine and a multi-denomination machine, then I would choose the multi-denomination machine. Also on multi-denomination machines I would pick the highest denomination available and bet one per line, instead of doing something like betting pennies at 5x per line.

    I've also heard on video slot machines that if you see the reels symbol shift as you change denominations, that's a sign the paytable may have changed because each paytable should have its own unique reel strips.
     
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  4. Geogran

    Geogran OTD Tea Sipper

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    This question wasn't asked but thought I'd mention it just in case:

    On 'Progressive' slot machines - you need to play MAX CREDITS in order to win the Progressive should you be one of the lucky ones to hit one.
     
  5. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    This isn't always true. Just depends on the game. Many modern video slots allow you win progressives with any size wager. On those machines, larger wagers just proportionally increase your chances of hitting them (i.e. you're 5 times more likely to hit a certain progressive betting $2.50 vs 50c). But the "wide area progressives" that range in the hundreds of thousands of dollars do often require you to bet max to qualify for those games.
     
  6. Geogran

    Geogran OTD Tea Sipper

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    Sorry, tring, you are correct - I should have been more specific - I was referring to the three reel wide area progressives that I play.

    But, every three reel dollar blazing seven progressives that I've ever played, even if they are NOT 'wap' but specific to that bank of slots in a specific casino (like at the Mirage and Bellagio), require max credits to win the progressive - believe me, I have learned the hard way, not once but twice (dumb). Those particular ones have a lower progressive (3 blazing 7's) and an upper progressive (2 blazing 7's plus Double Jackpot) and do require max credits - they are not tethered to any other casino. I have won those many, many times over the years, including the upper progressive.
    Also many a time have watched a puzzled player who was betting one or two credits on a three max credit blazing seven progressive trying to figure out why when the hit all the blazing sevens, they didn't win the progressive. Always feel bad for that person.

    The best thing to do is read and familiarize yourself with each machine before you play so you don't get any unpleasant surprises.
     
  7. Lady Fortuna

    Lady Fortuna High-Roller

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    This! Exactly what I was looking for, thank you so much!

    I was getting there, but knew I was missing some big pieces of the puzzle and was breaking my head over it. You've totally cleared that up for me now. Thank you so much for your effort to write it all down! I really appreciate it. :nworthy:

    I do want to come back to something you said, but when I finished writing my questions, it was already bedtime and now it is early morning and I have to get ready for work (but just couldn't resist to check the board if there were any answers and so happy I did, thank you!). So I will get back to you later today in the evening.

    And to the other comments as well. Thanks to everyone!:kiss:
     
  8. Chuck2009x

    Chuck2009x VIP Whale

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    Yes, I would agree with tring that if you had five cents to play with, it would be better to play 1 line at 5 cents than 5 lines at onc cent. Because either way, you are only doing one spin, and the payback % at 5 cents should be better than at 1 cent.

    But I think the way the OP worded it was, if I have two cents, is it better to play
    2 lines at 1 cent for 1 spin
    or
    1 line at 1 cent for 2 spins.

    And not that there's much difference, but 2 spins would make it more likely that you would win something. The probability on each spin is the same, but just like flipping a coin, the chance of heads or tails is the same every time, but the more times you flip, probability of NOT getting at least one heads or tails goes down.
     
  9. benbrownjr

    benbrownjr Low-Roller

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    Having had a slot wholesale business I can pretty much attest that all the info is correct buy can also tell you that each denomination can be set with a specific payback percentage. Back in the "old" days (were talking 2001) the machines had a physical chip that had the machines payback percentage and if a casino wanted to change the machines payback percentage they would have to notify the gaming commission who would have to be present when the exchange took place and the gaming official would place the chip into a chip reader that would add up all the data and it would give a checksum. Since every letter and number in a computer program is really a line of ones and zeros if even one letter or number was changed on the program it would give a different checksum. Once it is validated it is inserted into the circuit board and tamper proof tape is placed over the chip. This is a long drawn out and expensive thing to do so only mega resorts would do this. Also the technology that was approved by nevada was circa 1993 to the processor speed and and the amount of rom was limited to commercial grade computers of 1992. Nevada gaming eased the rules regarding processors on circuit boards and also allowed digital hard drives so now all the approved game percentages are already on the hard drive so a tech can go into the programming mode and change the payback percentage at any time.

    Now as for playing max on a penny machine you have to look at the pay schedule carefully. IGT is notorious for this. On there 5 reel 9 line penny machines they would offer a top award of 1000,000 credits and one would think it's based on playing max coins and any of the 9 lines that hit the 5 symbol combination would result in a 100,000 coin win but the answer is no as the 1000,000 applies only to the 9th line and all other lines pay 10,000.

    Now it's not to say they got this perfect as Aristocrat found out. Unlike US slot machines that players bet per line, Aristocrats first machines would allow players to bet columns and soon savvy players realized that the majority of winning combinations on these machines occurred on the first 3 reels so by betting on just the first 4 column the 1 times was 9 cents but betting 8 times the amount only cost 72 cents so if you got 3 tens it paid a dollar (If you were playing all columns your cost would be $2.50 for that spin resulting in a loss of $1.50) That's why first versions of wicked winning, buffalo, pompei, 5 dragons, etc are getting harder to find as the casinos began to realize the estimated payback percentage were falling short. Some folks found that on games like buffalo the bonus coins were counting in the areas not wagered on and during the bonus round all wild multipliers were being added together. Since then all newer versions of the game require the minimum bet cover all lines and columns.
     
  10. Chuck2009x

    Chuck2009x VIP Whale

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    Thought I'd add a note about my understanding of why the payback percentages differ based on denomination.

    And this is a simple explanation and it doesn't cover all the possible variations, but I think it's an easy way to think about it.

    Each machine takes up space on the casino floor. The casino wants each machine to pay some "rent".

    On a five dollar machine, if the hold percentage is 5%, then the casino is going to average $0.25 per spin over time.

    But on a penny machine, at least some of them, it's actually possible to play one cent a spin, even though nobody really does it. But they do play 30 or 60 cents at a time. If the hold percentage is 5%, then that's $0.03 per spin at 60 cents a spin.

    Since playing really low amounts per spin on pennies is a possibility, in order for the casino to make sure the machine pays a decent amount of rent, they need to increase the amount they'll keep, on average over time, from each spin.

    At first, I thought this might be an argument in favor of tring's comment about multi-denom machines having the same payback % for all denoms, but I don't think it really is. If the machine is set to different payback % for different denoms, then regardless of what proportion of the spins get played at each denom, it's still yielding the casino what they have determined is an acceptable hold.

    Beyond that, another reason for a higher hold on some pennies is just going to be those big ass floor to ceiling themed units that simply cost a lot more to begin with.
     
  11. Chuck2009x

    Chuck2009x VIP Whale

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    Thanks for all the info. Would you say that using different payback %s for different denoms on multi-denom slots is more typical than not? I sure hope so. :beer:
     
  12. benbrownjr

    benbrownjr Low-Roller

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    You're right about the rent thing. There also a "slot tax" that casinos pay for each machine. There was some litigation about what constitutes one machine. The casinos maintained that a single machine with 6 games and 5 denominations was taxable as 1 machine while the government considered it 30 machines and should be taxed as such. Well the casinos won that one but the slot manufacturers upped the cost of those machines so there intigration onto the floor is slower.
     
  13. RynoBU

    RynoBU Low-Roller

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    Out of curiosity, what specific slots do you play, Chuck? And, do you play with payback in mind or just enjoyment? Thanks in advance.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  14. Peachiekeehn

    Peachiekeehn High-Roller

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    What about the machines based on TV shows or celebrities. I have heard but do not know for sure, that the payback is lower on those as they have to pay a licensing fee for them
     
  15. FJD

    FJD Tourist

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    I take it this still requires Gaming Control to be present?
     
  16. Chuck2009x

    Chuck2009x VIP Whale

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    For me, payback % and enjoyment are mostly one and the same.

    For low volatility and grinding out coin-in, I look for single line Double Diamond machines with a top line jackpot of 800 credits for one coin and 1,600 for two coins. I play 2 coins if it's a $1 machine and 1 coin if it's a $5 machine. Caesars has one in their "semi-high limit" slots room and Cosmo has one in their HL slots room. Cosmo also has a variation on this on the main floor - a $1 Double Diamond machine where you can play 5 lines - the pay structure (800/1,600/2,400/3,200/5,000) is basically the same as the $5 machine, although the payback % is probably a little lower.

    For high volatility and a little more entertainment, I look for a $1 Davinci Diamonds machine and play anywhere from 5 to 20 lines (so $5 - $20 a spin). MGM Grand has one just outside their HL room, Caesars has one in their real HL room, and I understand Cosmo has one in their HL room although I haven't played it, I think Evoni mentioned it exists in one of her TRs.

    Probably at least 90% of my slot play is on those two machines. If I'm hanging with someone who likes to play pennies, I'll sit at a machine next to them and play max bet, but I'm mostly watching them and only hitting the button about once a minute or so.

    I'll admit the single line reel machines can get to be a grind - there are times I wish I could just put in a TITO and have it just calculate the net of 1,000 spins in like 10 seconds and spit out the winnings ( or remainder). :drunk:
     
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  17. Chuck2009x

    Chuck2009x VIP Whale

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    I don't think I've ever seen where someone has said "yeah so-and-so (someone who would definitely know) told me that's true", but it seems to make sense, so I kind of assume it's probably correct.
     
  18. RynoBU

    RynoBU Low-Roller

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    Thanks for the info. I appreciate. I also enjoyed your detailed trip report awhile back (when you were at MGM, I believe). Your posts are always interesting and informative. Thanks again.
     
  19. Lady Fortuna

    Lady Fortuna High-Roller

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    Thanks a lot everyone, for sharing your thoughts and information! You kept me thinking about it all day and you even changed my whole perception on the matter. Let me explain...

    For the last few weeks I was researching the board and the internet for information. And the more I learned, the more I started to plan a strategy. I thought, first I need to decide what my bankroll is for the trip, then divide that through the amount of days (or even better, sessions) I plan to gamble, then decide how many spins I want to be able to play per session, then divide the amount of money per session through the amount of spins per session = amount of money per spin. So let's say:

    Bankroll for the trip = $2000
    Amount of sessions = 10
    Money per session = $200
    Min. spins per session = 100
    Money per spin = $2

    Now, in order to take the best advantage of "the higher the denomination the better the odds" rule, I should play on a machine with a set denomination of $2 (if exists, but let's assume), with only 1 credit and only 1 pay-line per spin. What I also figured out already was, that the higher the jackpot compared to the amount of money per spin, the lower the chance it will hit. So if the average payback on a machine is set to let's say 90%, but the chance a jackpot hits is extremely low (and you don't hit one), then the actual payback is much (much!) lower than that 90%. That was where I was at when I started this thread.

    So if I follow through with this strategy of best odds and - payback, then I should play on one of those machines as Chuck described, namely the ones that have low jackpots and pay small to medium amounts frequently. The boring ones. And I should find out which casino gives the best payback on those machines and play only there.

    But after reading all your input - which is btw totally in line with what I already thought, but needed confirmation on - and thinking about it a lot more today, to my own surprise my whole idea of it all has completely changed. Yes of course, when you play all day every day, you should consider paybacks, odds and denominations etc. But if you're just a recreational gambler and play for the entertainment and excitement, and maybe a chance of winning a lot of money with only 1 spin - or even the hope of bringing the same amount of money back home as what you came with -, then maybe you shouldn't play for odds, but for luck and go for the most fun game with the highest jackpot.

    And now I'm thinking further of it, even if you do consider paybacks, odds and denominations etc. and you are so lucky that you hit the jackpot, before you're coin-in is as high as the amount of the jackpot + the other wins you had so far, then the only thing you can do if you want to stay ahead of the casino, is quit playing at that point. Because isn't that what the players (you can hardly call it gambling anymore) who consider paybacks, odds and denominations etc. are aiming for, to get ahead of the casino and win in the long run?

    So now I think I probably better go back to my ignorant bliss and hopefully hit the jackpot on a video- penny- slot machine, playing max bet.

    One good thing I will keep from all my thinking and plotting is the way I will manage my bankroll, hopefully wisely.

    And now again it is already long past my bedtime, so please don't think I'm not interested in your feedback, I still love to hear your thoughts and ideas about this!
     
  20. Chuck2009x

    Chuck2009x VIP Whale

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    I agree with everything you said, Lady. You should play however makes you happiest.

    People like me who do all these calculations and play based on it are mainly doing it to maximize comps, and maximize the number of spins we can do, which increases the possibility of hitting a medium-sized jackpot here and there that will basically pay for that trip or maybe two. We're never going to win $50,000 on a $3 bet. But you might. :beer:
     
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