Should you max bet on a slot machine

Should you max bet on a slot machine?

Ever since the first slot machine was made back in 1894, and the subsequent rise to its current popularity,  the question, “Should you max bet on a slot machine?”, has been floating around people’s consciousness as players endeavour to find a way to beat the slots

The recent trend of online gambling has also made this quite the popular question because of the developments of technology, allowing people easy access to play online slots through their personal computers and mobile devices making is available to the masses.

Slot machines are the most popular games offered in land-based and online casinos.  Though they offer the lowest odds of all gaming machines, about 95-97% return to player (RTP), these are often allotted the most floor space in any casino venue may it be land-based or online,  bringing billions of revenue to casino operators worldwide.  To put things in perspective, casino operators online gain about 69% of their revenue from slots while land based operators gain about 83% of their revenue from physical gaming machines (source: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/PDF/survey-data/Gambling-industry-statistics.pdf).

Players put millions in slot machines every day in an attempt to hit the jackpot but why is this so? Slots have garnered a following because of their ease of use and player practicality.  Slots machines have been easier than ever to play because all the players need to do is to insert currency, spin, and then hope for the best outcome.  The same can be said with online casinos as players are able to play by just placing a bet and with a simple push of a button or touch of a screen.  Another reason why slots are so popular is that there is no skill required to play slots as a new player has the same chance of winning jackpots as someone who has played slots for many years. 

Now back to “Should you max bet on a slot machine?”. The answer:  It depends on the game. I’ll explain why this is so and hopefully, I can shed some light on the topic and make you a smarter and more profitable bettor. 

Slots – A game of numbers and odds

Slot games mainly deal with odds and random number generators (RNG). RNG ties in with odds in a way because slots are designed to be algorithmically random, dictating the odds of a machine. The RNG makes sure that the symbols required to line up stay completely random but this ties in with odds because odds can be calculated to help you see winning percentages.

Should you max bet on a slot machine?

Let’s say you have a machine that requires 5 symbols to match in order to get the jackpot. Hypothetically, if you have 5 symbols on each reel of the slot and you need 5 to match up you have a ⅕ chance of showing that symbol, making each reel a ⅕ chance.  To hit the same symbol, like a bell, there is a ⅕ x ⅕ x ⅕ x ⅕ x ⅕ = 1/3125 chance or a 0.032% chance.

But it doesn’t look so grim because on this slot there are 5 sets of symbols raising the percentage to .016% meaning that in every £1 played over 625 bets there will be only 1 payout.  Return to Player (RTP) now plays a role here. Usually, slots have a 95% RTP, meaning that your 1 out £625 payout just pays about £593, netting a loss. Of course, you also stand to win the jackpot in a couple of spins and walk out very profitable.

Mathematics and max bets

Should you max bet on a slot machine?

Many so-called experts have tried to find the solution to the question of max bets and the most common advice they give out is to max out your bets in order to increase your chances of winning and your earnings from a game.  Mathematically, max bets mean higher earnings but it isn’t as simple as that because bankroll and odds must be taken into consideration. 

A true max bet is placed on the highest bet denomination as possible and these can go as high as a few £100’s per spin.  These slots often offer a higher RTP, about 95-97% compared to lower denomination slots which range in the 85-88%.  This is where the advice from experts stems from as they are talking about RTP without taking bankroll into consideration. 

To put this into perspective, for high denomination slots, in a perfect situation where bankroll isn’t a factor, a player stands to lose 3% of the value of their bets over time.  On the other hand, lower denomination slots lower these numbers up to 15%, making players lose a larger amount over time. 

To take advantage of the RTP and the odds, mathematically, a player can average out winnings by playing longer. But in reality, players must work with budget constraints. If you have a £50 budget to spend and the max bet is £5 per spin, the value of your bet vs time isn’t worth it as you will blow through your budget quickly. 

Have a pre-game strategy for max betting

Should you max bet on a slot machine?

The gun ho ideology has stuck with the majority of players these days, but a smart bettor must think critically.  In order to optimise your odds and profits, your bets must be in line with the slot game that you are playing. A winning player must know the game intimately. You should read its menus, study its pay tables, read its terms and conditions for bonuses, and ultimately, acquaint yourself with the slot’s features. 

It is far too common to see people place minimum bets all for naught, eventually losing money while increasing the prize pool for other people. The most important thing to bear in mind is to keep track of the slot game’s bet requirements in order to maximise your returns. 

Once you’ve picked a specific slot game and read the details behind the fancy graphics which you can see in all our slot reviews, you can then set your budget for that session in order to work out if you can even afford to max bet on every spin.

Max bet on progressive jackpots

Slot games such as progressive slots are machines that have a jackpot that is not a set amount. There is a display that shows a jackpot that is constantly growing. In this game, you will want to max out your bet in order to meet the requirements to be eligible for the jackpot prize because if you don’t, you will only be growing the jackpot for others to win.

This is especially true for mystery jackpots which must be won when a specific jackpot limit is reached. So keep an eye on the jackpot size and the limit, but don’t bother max betting to qualify if it’s not close to paying out, that’s just a waste!

There are two types of progressive jackpot slots, the stand-alone and the wide-area jackpot slots.  A stand-alone slot machine is basically a single machine with a dedicated jackpot.  A tip for playing this game is to choose the highest prize jackpot machine.  Though its probability of giving out the max prize is similar to the same machines, the jackpot is higher, meaning a higher RTP.

On the other hand, wide-area jackpot slots are slots with networked jackpots connected between slots in different casinos.  This is also the case with online casino slots as millions of players are competing to win the jackpot, further increasing the jackpot prize. In these games, it’s always good to remember to place the max bet in order to qualify for the jackpot to get your money’s worth.

Bonuses increase RTP – Place bets accordingly 

In terms of playing with the minimum bet, there are machines out there that do not require a max bet in order to qualify for the jackpot prize. In some slots, a certain bet amount must be met in order to qualify for bonus rounds as these rounds will allow players to increase their RTP.  These machines are generally called multi-line multi-coin slots.

With these machines, you can choose how many lines you want to play and you can choose how much you want to bet on each line. Though playing these types of slots is entirely possible through minimum bets, the RTP would be very low.  In order to boost winnings, players must bet enough in order to take advantage of bonus rounds, which will include additional free spins and mini-games that dramatically increase winnings. 

Don’t waste time on straight multiplier slots 

Finally, there are slots called Multipliers. There are 2 types of multiplier slots, straight multiplier and modified multiplier.  In straight multiplier slots, the payout is raised proportionally. Even if the player is risking money by placing two bets, there is absolutely no benefit from it. 

Like for example, a £1 bet is multiplied by 1000 leading to a total prize of £1000 while the max bet of £2 has a prize of £2000. There is no point in placing a max bet as the winnings are the same, you will only deplete your budget quicker.  On the other hand, a modified multiplier machine increases the multiplier as you place a max bet but only for the top jackpot.

Let’s say when you bet £1 and the multiplier is 1000, you can get £1000. When you bet £2 the multiplier is raised to 1250 the amount leading to £2500. In essence, the machine is adding an additional £500 incentive for the jackpot prize. 

Another example of a common modified multiplier machine is the 3 coin machine where the 1st bet is £1 x 1000 = £1000, the 2nd bet is £2 x 1000 = £2000 while the third bet is £3 x 1000 + £3000 netting you £6000, meaning that the machine is incentivising you an additional £3000 on your 3rd bet. This sounds enticing but it’s only for the top jackpot.  So although the jackpots give you a multiplier, you should not place the maximum bet here because the machine will only give out the max prize if you win the top jackpot and let’s be honest, the chances are very slim. 

Conclusion – Should you max bet?

Given the randomness of slots, a max bet every 10 spins will allow you to be in with a chance to win the higher prizes but also afford you the chance to play for longer. Always max betting in not affordable on most slots and you will likely blow your budget before a sizeable win.

Max bets do increase your RTP via bonuses and jackpot participation.  But in general, balance is at the core of deciding on bets and it can be as simple as looking at the slots, and then identifying if there is a benefit in placing the maximum bet.  

Max betting on slot machines largely depends on the game and the incentives of placing it.  If the max bet is out of your budget, there are slots with lower max bets to enjoy. Ultimately, you are the one in control and you should balance your playtime according to your set budget and risk management should be practised as much as possible.