Reader Walter recently asked this as a comment on one of the posts here on the site:
I have 2 questions that i hope you can help me with.
Does it make a difference if i play $25 a spin with a dollar denomination or $25 with a 50c denomination or $25 with a 10c denomination.
If you play say a 25 line machine for 10c per line and your next spin would get you 5 of a kind, if you changed that to a $1 per line, would that next spin come out the same
Which Denomination to Play?
On a theoretical level, playing $25 a spin on a dollar denomination vs. a 10 cent denomination might see long-term better results on the higher denomination, because of the expected better payback on a higher denomination game. In a single session, that won’t be as obvious, and may not even factor enough into the equation, but as a long-term strategy it may make more sense to play the higher denomination.
But both to your second question and the overall question, many times shifting denomination has a side effect of shifting volatility. A game like a link game will many times see the number of lines change as you go up in denomination, which can have an impact on the hit frequency and other aspects of the game by the nature of having less lines.
So you might favor dimes as with more lines, you’ll see more frequent hits, even if the size of the hit is lower because that bet is spread out across more lines. That’s more of a personal preference of what type of game experience you want.
Do Outcomes Change With Denomination?
So as to the question about whether the hit would be the same on dimes vs. dollars, the answer (while not universal, as games are designed differently), I’d say it’s unlikely the outcome would be identical. There’s two reasons for this.
Paybacks Likely Aren’t Identical
If you switch denominations, there’s at least a realistic chance the paybacks may be different between denominations. And if the paybacks change, there may be subtle differences in reel layout, hit frequency, and other things that are implemented to tweak the paybacks accordingly. That would of course impact what outcome would occur at the time the stop button was hit.
Those changes could be subtle, and perhaps many outcomes would be not impacted at all, but the reality is we as regular players won’t know, and so it’s safe to presume a change is at minimum possible, if not likely.
The Games Differ at Different Denominations
Remember earlier how I mentioned the changes in line counts between denominations? A game designer told me awhile back that if you see those changes, that means other aspects of the game has likely been tweaked as well. This is to balance out the game on different denominations and line counts so the game still plays well at that level.
So even if the paybacks are identical between those two levels, if you see a change in line count, you’re probably going to have a game set up a bit differently, and so you won’t have an identical outcome even if the button was hit at the same time.
By comparison, when you’re shifting between two denominations with the same structure (say, 1c vs. 2c on Lightning Link), where the line counts are the same and the payback is the same, you’d likely have had the same outcome because the setup is identical.
Of course, all of this is really just theoretical, as no one other than the game designer of a specific game can confirm any of this with any confidence, and we’ll never know what the outcome on that other denomination would have been in reality, but based on my conversations with game designers, hopefully this gives you an idea of what’s going on to some degree.