I got a question from a regular slot player that comes up periodically: If you’re going to play a game with multiple progressives and flat jackpots, at a level that’s high enough that you could play it at multiple denominations, such as $5 a spin, why would you play at pennies when the mini/minor are so much bigger at, say, dime denomination?
The answer goes back to one of the common things many slot players forget: The flat jackpots pay relative to your bet. Winning a mini/minor at penny denomination is simply easier than winning it at dime denomination.
But let’s take a deeper look at this, and how it impacts, or perhaps doesn’t, your overall game experience.
The Flat Mini/Minor Jackpot Allure
Minis and minors that are flat jackpots tend to be fixed to either the denomination (Lightning Link and its ilk) or, more recently, your overall bet (All Aboard). Flat jackpots on these newer progressive machines, by the nature of not being progressive, are more there to attract players in then they are actual prizes to be worried about.
Why is that? Because in practice the game is just putting the word “Mini” or “Minor” where a number could just as easily be placed, given the non-progressive nature of these flat jackpots.
Using the example of our $5 penny denomination play, a $10 flat jackpot mini is a mere 2x your bet on Lightning Link, and the Minor of $50 10x. If a 2x or 10x ball lands in the hold and spin, the game can simply show it as Mini or Minor in some cases, and the player can get excited for winning that jackpot! But in reality it would be the exact same outcome as if it said $10.
Being they don’t increment, there’s no benefit to the player for one being shown over the other, but we’re trained as players to get excited over winning those progressives.
Now we shift to dimes, and that $100 mini is 20x our bet, and that $500 minor is 100x are bet. Again, if the game were to drop a 20x or 100x ball it could show mini or minor, but the odds of balls that size dropping will certainly be lower than those 2x/10x prizes on penny denom. And again, as a non-progressive jackpot, it’s neutral to the player to whether it shows a number or a progressive name should that size ball drop.
Major/Grand is Neutral Too
For actual progressives like the major and grand, the odds of winning one tend to improve as your bet increases. But if you have the same sized bet on two denominations, you’re not changing the odds of winning those prizes for the simple reason that the bet level is the same.
While the mini and minor will tend to change by denomination, on Lightning Link and many of its siblings the Major and Grand do not change. (On newer sequels, there are bigger Minors for the newly added higher limit denominations, but that’s in part to ensure the Major isn’t puny compared to the Mini/Minor, for instance).
So it might seem to some like upping the denomination would help in winning those, that’d be a neutral change as well. So really switching denominations but leaving your bet level the same doesn’t really change the prizes you’d win – it may change what labels are on the balls vs. mini/minor, but that’s about it.
Two Things That Do Change with Denomination
There are two things that do change with denomination that players may want to take into account.
The first is the line count. When you go from pennies to dimes, the number of lines available decreases, from 50 to 25 lines. (Nickels also decreases to 25 lines from pennies). This means that it can be more difficult to get line hits, but the rewards are greater (twice as much as a 50 line game, presuming the same overall bet). This becomes a bit of a volatility trade-off – more smaller hits vs. less bigger hits. That’s more a player preference scenario at that point, because in the long run it’ll more or less even out.
The second is the fact that some casinos will set higher denominations to pay a bit better than lower ones. I’ve shared examples of how this works in the past. So if you’re playing the game enough, over time, playing a higher denomination version of the game may be more beneficial than playing a lower denomination one.
And so, it may actually be helpful to keep those two things in mind, moreso than the size and reach of those minis and minors, which are more for building excitement in the game than anything else.