Slot Tutorials

When to Max Bet: Multi-Coin, Single Line Slot Machines

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

While most modern slots, and especially video slots, have a multitude of line options or all-ways-pays scenarios, the earliest slot machines were traditionally three reel, single pay line games (or at their most complex 3-5 lines with the three reels).

Because these games are a bit more rare in casinos than they used to be, it’s helpful to remember that these, too, have a critical betting strategy built into many of their pay tables that could mean you’re leaving money on the table if you’re betting the wrong way. Let’s take a look at an example of one and how to make sure you’re betting appropriately.

When Betting Max Pays

Let’s start by looking at a classic game, Pinball, which sees consistent popularity on casino floors.

IGT Pinball Max Bet

This version of Pinball has a three credit max bet. As you can see, the number of pinball shots you get in the bonus spikes the moment you play that third credit. So you’re leaving potentially a lot of money on the table by not max betting and trigger a bonus. Even if line hits are proportional based on the number of credits bet, the bonus losses can be substantial given how much bonuses can contribute to the overall payout on the game.

Now for a machine without a bonus, which for single-line games is more common, let’s take a look at a classic slot machine, Bonus Times, which too has found enduring popularity on the casino floor and lives on in a new cabinet today.

Know Your Slots founder's $2,000 handpay at the D in April of 2018.
If I had not been max betting on this machine, this would have not paid anything.

I actually got a handpay on this machine in 2018. However, if I wasn’t max betting I would have actually won… $0. Why is that? We have to look at the paytable to better understand.

In the Bonus Times pay table, the Two Times Pay, Five Times Pay and Ten Times Pay are activated with each additional credit. So to get value from the 10x multipliers you need to be betting all three credits. The fine print under the credit bars say that you’re buying the first paytable AND the 2x symbol with the first credit, 5x with the second credit and 10x on the third. So without the third credit, the 10x symbol would not be bought as a valid symbol… and my line hit would have been non-existant.

So when the question comes up if you should bet less credits on a higher denomination machine, or more credits on a lower denomination machine, these are a couple of examples where you should absolutely max bet at a bet level you’re comfortable.

Have you missed out on a big win because you weren’t max betting? Or had a major hit that would’ve been a missed opportunity if you were not betting max? Share in the comments!

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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