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Many people gravitate towards slot machines because of their simplicity. Pull a lever, see if the symbols match and you could be a winner!
There isn’t as much strategy involved as other casino games, but there is one element that you can control in slots to improve your odds of winning. You can select the number of lines that are played each time.
And that’s where the confusion can set in.
What are the advantages of playing more or less lines? How do you select the lines? And how many should you select?
Keep reading to learn more about how lines work in slots and how to decide the number of lines to play.
What Are Paylines
The technical gambling term for the lines on a slot machine is paylines. There is a reason for that name. What shows up on the lines determines whether or not you win.
Today, there are countless slot machines with varying numbers of paylines. Some video slot machines have up to 25+ lines that can be played at once. However, many physical slot machines have somewhere between 3-5 lines, and classic models only have a single line.
More Lines, More Chances to Win
In general, the more lines you play, the more chances you have to win. But the more lines you play to, the more each spin is cost. Makes sense given that the house is more likely to lose when more lines are played.
A number of professional poker players and poker enthusiasts have created payout tables based on the number of lines played for a specific type of slot machine. This gives them a clearer idea of their odds before spinning.
Know How Combinations Can Be Made Across Lines
If you’re playing numerous lines, there may be more than one way to win. Making matches straight across a line is the standard way to win if you’re playing a single line. With multiple lines you may be able to make matches vertically and diagonally as well.
Before choosing a slot machine and the number of lines to play, take these special considerations to mind:
Cost per line : The cost per line can range from one penny on up.
Payout : The cost to spin should justify the potential payout. Also, check whether matches with four or five symbols in a row offer better payouts.
How winning matches are made : Many multi-line slot machine award wins for horizontal, vertical and diagonal matches.
Number of symbols needed to win : typically 3-4 in a row. This affects the odds of lining up symbols vertically and diagonally.
Sometimes the odds will be better than others. The four factors above will help you decide how many slot machine paylines you should spin each time.
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A better understanding can decide the way you play
by John Robison
Let’s finish our look at the different types of machine you find on the slot floor.
Rather than multiplying payouts or buying extra winning combinations, additional coins played on a Multi-Line machine activate additional paylines. Multi-Line machines are usually three- or five-line machines, but some have nine or more paylines. Double Diamond is available as both a three- and a five-line game. Cherries ‘R’ Wild is a nine-line reel-spinning Multi-Line slot machine.
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The paytable on a Multi-Line machine indicates where the paylines are and how much each combination is worth on each payline. As a general rule, only the top jackpot has a different value on each payline.
Caesars free online casino. The worst payout on a Multi-Line machine can be less than a push. On a three-line Double Diamond, for example, one cherry pays two coins when it lands on the third payline, but you have to play three coins to activate that payline. Again, because a Multi-Line can pay less than a push, Multi-Lines can have higher hit frequencies than Multipliers.
Mathematically speaking, you should never play more than one coin per spin on a Multi-Line machine. Extra coins do buy increased hit frequency, but unless there’s a bonus on one or more combinations, they don’t buy increased long-term payback. And if there is a bonus, the same rule for Bonus Multipliers applies here too—even large bonuses lead to small increases in long-term payback.
Emotionally speaking, it can be frustrating to land winning combinations on paylines that you didn’t activate. If you live by the numbers, play one coin per spin. If you live by your heart, play full coin.
This classic version of the Multi-Line machine is a dying breed, supplanted by the Multi-Line/Multi-Coin machine, which we’ll look at next.
Australian or Multi-Line/Multi-Coin
An Australian-style slot machine, also known as a Multi-Line/Multi-Coin machine, is a relatively recent arrival on the American slot floor. This is the only type of machine slot players play Down Under and it has taken the United States by storm, particularly in casinos frequented by local-area residents.
On a Multi-Line/Multi-Coin slot machine, players choose how many lines they want to activate and how many coins they want to play on each line. (On a straight Multi-Line machine, players can play only one coin per line.) Most machines have bonus games you play when certain symbols land on a payline. You can tell a Multi-Line/Multi-Coin slot by its complicated paytable and the many buttons needed for the player to choose the number of lines to play and the number of coins to play.
Free Dollar Slot Machines
Multi-Line/Multi-Coin slots usually have high hit frequencies, sometimes 70% and even higher. These slots can pay considerably less than a push (say, two coins on a nine-coin bet), which is why they can have such high hit frequencies.
Just as with the Multi-Line machine, the math usually says you are better off playing just one coin per spin, but because most of the fun of playing these machines is getting hits on multiple paylines, I usually play one coin per line. That plan usually gives you the highest hit frequency at the lowest risk per spin.
Watch out for bonuses that are activated only when you play a certain number of coins. That feature acts like a Buy-A-Pay and the payback on it may be high enough to warrant betting enough coins to activate it. We can’t know for sure without knowing more about how the machine is programmed, but because the possibility exists I usually recommend betting enough coins to be eligible for all the bonuses.
Multi-Line/Multi-Coin slots used to be exclusively video slots, but now slot manufacturers are applying the Multi-Line/Multi-Coin paradigm to traditional reel-spinning slots too.
The top jackpot on a progressive machine isn’t fixed; it increases as people play the machine. You can recognize a Progressive machine by the LED meter displaying how much the jackpot is worth. Any of the machine types we’ve discussed so far (Multiplers, Buy-a-Pays, Multi-Lines, Multi-Line/Multi-Coin) can also be Progressives.
There are three types of Progressives: Stand-Alone, In-House, and Wide-Area.
These Progressive slots are not linked to any other machines. Money played on a Stand-Alone Progressive increases the jackpot on that machine only and on no other. Blazing 7s is frequently a Stand-Alone Progressive, as are the custom machines based on Blazing 7s that you find at many casinos.
Unlike the long-term paybacks on the other types of Progressives, the long-term paybacks of Stand-Alone Progressives tend to be about the same as the paybacks of other machines of the same denomination in a casino.
Single Line Dollar Slot Machines Machine
In-House Progressives are groups of linked machines operated by one casino company. All of the linked machines share the same progressive jackpot. Sometimes all of the linked machines are at one casino; sometimes they show up at multiple casinos owned by the same company.
The long-term paybacks of In-House Progressives tend to be a little lower than the paybacks of other machines of the same denomination in order to pay for the costs of operating the link.
Wide-Area Progressives are the machines that offer life-changing jackpots and are found at many unrelated casinos. As with the In-House Progressives, the play that any of the machines, anywhere, receive increases the jackpot on all of the machines. Wheel of Fortune, Megabucks, Elvis, and Quartermania are all Wide-Area Progressive machines.
Wide-Area Progressives usually have very low long-term paybacks (around 85%). The odds of hitting the big one are very small, as low as 50 million to one on Megabucks.
Regardless of the type of Progressive, there is only one rule for playing a Progressive machine: If you don’t play full coin, you’re only feeding the progressive meter for some other player with no chance of hitting it yourself. Always play full coin on a Progressive.
Be aware that you might have to bet 44, 89 or even more coins on a Multi-Line/Multi-Coin Progressive before you can drop the magic coin that qualifies you for the progressive jackpot.