Myths vs. Reality

Can You Handpay on Free Play?

Know Your Slots founder's $2,000 handpay at the D in April of 2018.
Written by Joshua

Everyone’s an expert on slot forums. Take this post on one I follow from a recent poster:

Free play info. May already be known by everyone. I’m just a little slow. You will not hit a jackpot on free play. The machines are aware it’s free play and will not hit.

If you are like my wife and like to play your free play down to 0, then cash out of machine when free play is done and use cash to play what you have won.

Hope this helps someone hit on bigger spins.

Poster on

Let’s take this in two parts. Is the poster above correct?

STATUS: Nope – full of bull.

Can you handpay on free play?

STATUS: You certainly can, and there’s video evidence of free play handpays.

I’ve written in the past about free play, and how a slot machine does not and cannot distinguish between actual cash and free play when it comes to payback. It does know free play is in the machine; AGS will even turn the font red to alert you you’ve still got free play. The casino tracks each for accounting purposes, primarily, and of course to know when the free play is completely exhausted.

Meanwhile, the poster above seems to even get confused about how free play works.

Once free play is bet through once, it’s cash – you an keep playing, you can cash out and go home, whatever you prefer. (Although I don’t recommend no-playing offers if you wish to get more of them.) You don’t have to cash out and move for it to not be free play anymore. You just have to wager it through a machine once.

Onto the bigger point around free play and handpays: The odds of getting a jackpot on free play are identical to cash, because the same RNG, same outcomes, and so forth are activated regardless if it’s free play or cash. You don’t have to take my word for it – there’s plenty of evidence on YouTube, thanks to slot channels recording their wins, including handpays on free play.

Here’s a video where Diana Evoni hit a handpay jackpot on the last spin of her free play:

Here’s a video where kbr420 hit it on the first spin of free play:

VegasLowRoller hit this handpay on free play a number of years ago:

How about this one from Slotlady hitting a handpay on her free play?

Neily 777 hit an amazing handpay on free play in this video:

How about King Jason Slots and his free play handpay on Dancing Drums:

I could go on, but this is one of those times where it can be easily disproven. Free play is as good as cash. And if you’re lucky, can become a lot more cash in the form of a handpay.

I’ve never had a handpay on free play, but I have had a royal flush, winning $200 off of $15 in free play – and the odds of it happening on cash are exactly the same as free play.

Why do people believe free play doesn’t have the ability to jackpot? People want to believe the worst in casinos, they’ve never had any luck on free play (so they remember), and so on. It’s somewhat amazing to me how much they think casinos are out to get them – here’s some free play, now we’ll suck you in with no wins so you’ll spend your money.

They don’t have to do this. The games have a house advantage. They will make money in the long term. If you think that poorly of the casinos, you shouldn’t go.

About the author


My name is Joshua, and I’m a slot enthusiast who works in tech as a marketer by day, and dabbles in casinos periodically during off-times. Know Your Slots will reflect my interests in understanding the various ways you can play slots, travel, casino promotions and how you can get the most out of your casino visits.


  • The Machines DO know when you are using free play but that is just for accounting purposes. I have personally hit many many jackpots on freeplay including a Grand Jackpot live on YouTube.

    Thanks for the fun article.

    • Thanks Ross – you’ve worded it better than I did, enough so that I’m going to tweak the wording. They CAN distinguish, as in knowing whether free play is in use (and I believe AGS even turns the number red while you still have free play), but it doesn’t distinguish when it comes to paybacks. Good distinction. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • I definitely hit a handpay on Mustang Money 2 using freeplay. I bet $100 freeplay and triggered the bonus, winning about $4,000 cash.

  • That’s good to know that you definitely CAN hit a jackpot on FREEPLAY. I’m going to play in a slot tournament at the Borgata in Atlantic City in a few weeks and the winner gets $6,000 in FREEPLAY. If by some miracle I actually did win I was just going go right over to the high limit room and play 20 spins of Pinball (assuming they have it…I haven’t been there in a while) at $100×3 credits, so $300 per spin.

    Some people might say that’s stupid, but I figured it’s not really my money anyway. I’ll have my own money to gamble normally with. This would just be trying to hit a huge score. Plus, after reading the fine print, I found out that the FREEPLAY is only good for 30 days and I live in Florida, so I would need to use it all up on my trip anyway.

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