One of the more interesting activites to come out of online slot communities has been the group pull. In a group pull, all participants agree to put a stake into a larger pot for the chance to bet bigger on a high-limit machine, with the hopes that something exciting will happen. As this post goes live I’ve hosted a few group pulls myself. A little organization, for both leader and participant, goes a long way!
In today’s post, we’ll talk about what a group pull is, the different ways they generally run, things to think about if you wish to organize one yourself, and how you can get involved with one if you’re interested in participating in one.
Taking a Chance in a Controlled Way
Group pulls generally have a set stake per person, whether it be friends chipping in $20 a piece or as much as $1,000 a person in larger, big money pulls. But regardless of the scenario, the idea is the same – to allow a group of people to pool money together and play a higher-limit machine than most may get the chance to do in a normal scenario.
Each person gets to spin a number of spins equivalent to their stake. This allows for everyone to get a turn to bet at that higher level. Upon completion of everyone’s spins, either the amount remaining is divided or the group may opt to continue, depending on the structure of the pull.
Hunting for Handpays
There’s a couple of reasons why playing this way is sought by many slot players. One is that high limit machines tent to have a higher payback percentage than lower denomination machines, so betting the same amount of money through a lower limit machine will over time yield a less desirable outcome.
Second is the social aspect; bringing a bunch of people together to root on a big win on a machine can be exciting and fun! Like with many communities, the Internet has allowed a number of gambling communities to emerge, from forums such as Vegas Message Board and Vegas Fanatics to slot communities like the ones cultivated by many of the larger slot channels out there.
Finally, there’s the excitement of hitting a handpay. As we discussed earlier, hitting a handpay on a $15 bet may not have the same excitement as, say, $1.50, but since handpays at lower bets are so rare, many in group pulls may have not experienced it that often, so it’s still something to root for and hope for!
Managing the Logistics
If you’re thinking of organizing a group pull, there’s a few things to think about.
Many group pulls have a designated player who is willing to take on the tax burden should a handpay be hit, but in some jurisdictions it may be the spinner who is required to do so, such as in New Jersey. Sometimes a non-US player with different tax regulations may be a good choice as they can avoid having taxes deducted at all. As such those organizing group pulls should understand the rules in the jurisdiction
Second, decide if it’s a one-and-done or an open ended group pull. In some scenarios, to avoid a complete risk-of-ruin scenario, some will set rules that say once everybody has had their chance to spin, the group pull ends and the moeny distributed. In other scenarios, the group might vote on whether to continue or to end. It’s important to remember that you’re gambling with real money, so if some start to get uncomfortable with the decisions it can transform a fun activity into something stressful. So keeping a group pull time boxed and not too open-ended will likely be a good idea.
Using some ticket service like Eventbrite or Ticketleap may help manage sign-ups. The fact that you have people physically standing by or around a machine means you want to probably cap it at some reasonable number. You also should pick a stake that you know you, friends, and the community you’re going to be running this for will accept. If you’re in a low-rolling community a $50 or $100 group pull can be quite exciting – on the cruise I went on earlier this year we had a number of exciting $20 group pulls betting $3-5 a spin together.
Finally, it’s important to remember that gambling laws apply to group pulls as well. You can’t have virtual participants or people who aren’t present playing.
Joining a Group Pull
You don’t have to organize a group pull to take part. If you’re going to Las Vegas, check with the various communities to see if there’s a group pull going on. Many slot channels will host pulls while in Vegas, for instance, and sometimes members of forums like Vegas Fanatics will come together when everyone realizes a bunch of people will be around at the same time.
Most will have a way to confirm interest and/or sign-up in advance, so make sure you hold a spot if you’re going to participate. Show up a few minutes early and follow any directions on whether cash or a ticket is OK, etc. to ensure things can get underway on time.
Most of all, make sure you have a lot of fun with this group of likely strangers or near-strangers on the common mission of getting that big hit or fun bonus round as a group! You’ll find yourself bonding nearly instantly with other participants.
If you want to see an example video of a group pull, here is one I was the first spinner on in Atlantic City late last year as part of Brian Christopher’s group pulls.
Have you participated in a group pull? Had a spectacular win? Share in the comments below!