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What slot payback percentage means to players

(04.05.08)

Slot players are typically sort of kept in the dark about the house advantage and long-term payback percentages on the slot games they play.

State regulated land based casinos are forced to report monthly figures on their slot machines. But the results are based on the entire inventory of slot machines, categorized by denomination, and not by each individual machine.

When you play at a particular online slot, the payback percentage on that machine is typically proprietary information.

John Robison, a slot guru and the author of "The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots," mentioned some very important things that you should know about payback percentage when you play slots.

Basically "A machine's long-term payback is calculated based on the payoffs at maximum coin," .

"I'm pretty sure that every PAR sheet I've seen has only one long-term payback percentage on it......And the percentage was calculated based on max coin play." he stated of the probability and accounting reports.

As an example take the scenario of if you are playing a 3 coin slot machine that promotes a jackpot of $2,000 for 1-coin played, $4,000 for 2-coins played and $10,000 for 3-coins played, that slot's long tern payback percentage is based on the max coins played.

If, during an elongated period of time, no one has played the machines max 3 coins, the machine will never have to pay out the $10,000 jackpot, although it is programmed payback percentage is based on the mathematical probability of it occuring.

This will result in that the machine will show a higher "hold" percentage for the casino.

This does not mean that you should always play the max coin amount on every slot machine since it does not mean that you will get different combos on the reels. It does mean that you are not using the full advantage of the slot's long term payback.

Serious table games players and video poker players at the casino know exactly the odds that are working for and against them because the game's pay tables are visible for them to see.

On the other hand playing less than max coins on video poker can hurt.

"Perfect play on 9/6 Jacks or Better has a long-term payback of 99.5 percent at full coin," Robison said. "Play one through four coins and your payback with perfect play drops."

The amount of a royal flush progressive has an impact on the player's expectations.

Depending on the pay table, the cash back and the point perks that you may earn for using your club card, long-term payback percentage will surely to increase.

The most important rule to remember is that if you are not comfortable playing the game at its max coin limit, always avoid playing progressives, and try to stay away from slots with bonus multipliers based on the number of coins that you play.

For a wealth of information about slot play, I highly recommend reading Robison at Casino City Times Online, www.casinocity.com, by clicking on "Playing Strategy" and then his name under "Gaming Gurus."

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