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Shifting Up in Denomination: Things to Consider

Written by Joshua

With all the information I’ve shared about how higher denomination machines pay back more, and how given two choices between machines at the same bet but different denominations, you should generally choose the higher denomination, you may be considering giving it a try.

In a recent conversation with a player who traditionally max bet pennies, but now was looking to try high denomination play (in the $1 denomination range was her thought), I put some tips together that I thought could be helpful for others, so that’s where we’re going today.

The Difference Between High and Low Denomination Machines

The first thing to remember is that many high denomination slots take on a different look and form then their penny counterparts. Penny slots traditionally have a lot more lines, so you’ll get more small wins, more often. $1 slots usually have less lines, so the likely outcome is bigger wins less often. This can make swings much wider, and your bankroll could see-saw much faster. (In other words, $1 slots are generally pretty volatile.) 

There are video reel slots in a high denomination form (such as at the $1 level), but they rarely have only five lines – they’ll many times have more lines – 9, 10, 15 or 20. For a max bet penny slot player used to $3-5 max bets, you’re now looking at $9-20. So video slots will encourage more coin-in, and you have to figure out whether your bankroll allows for such betting.

If your budget is the same moving to high limit as max bet, ideally you should look for equivalent bets. If you were betting $3-5 on slots at pennies, you can definitely find $1 games in that bet range. Top Dollar, Pinball, I love Bonus Times in $1 denomination myself. Many of these games have 1-5 lines, so again, the volatility will be different here than a slot with 50 lines on pennies with a max bet.

Of course, since $1 slot paybacks are higher by a few percentage points, presuming all other things equal like bet size, your money should last a bit longer. But short term volatility has its roll, so for any session you could find yourself up or down. So you should prepare for the worst if you’re new to this format.

Hedging Your Bets

The more you play slots of a certain type, the better you can get to know them, understand the highs and lows, and better prepare your plan for how you’ll budget and bet on them. So, if you’re trying a new denomination, it may help to be ready to shift gears.

In the case of the player who wanted to try $1 denomination from being a max bet pennies player, I suggested she consider taking about a third of the budget, experimenting with $1 slots, and if it’s not going as she hoped, fall back to the previous max bet pennies so she can still have some fun. Or, save the $1 denom for the end of the trip so it’s already determined where things stand.

I also suggested she look for quarter slots with nine lines, like those Everi ones with all the jackpots , for instance, as well as Ainsworth games like Thunder Cash with 10 lines (you can always bet 2 credits per line to get to that $5 bet range if you want to be at that level). That could strike a nice balance for her bet size of getting some more lines but also getting the benefit of playing higher denomination.

Regardless, like any new game or casino, it helps to feel things out to see how you might adapt your play to relate to what is happening on the new machines being played.

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.


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