# Betting can impact payback percentages of slot machine games

The Times Of Northwest Indiana

It’s a mathematical fact that when you play a slot machine betting less than max coins per play for a particular game, you're not taking full advantage of the machine's programmed long-term payback percentage.

Every slot machine game is governed by what is known as a PAR (Probability and Accounting Report) sheet. It is proprietary information accessible by gaming property owners when they bring new games aboard.

Among the statistics available is a long-term payback percentage for the particular configuration of a game a property wishes to add to its slot machine inventory. The calculation is based on max coins played.

How does this impact slot players? First of all, it doesn't mean that you should play max coins on every machine you play. That can become a very expensive proposition for a majority of players, given the multi-line, multi-coin capabilities of modern slot technology.

It does mean that you should avoid playing some machines if you are unwilling or unable to invest max coins per spin. Among these are progressives, units with bonus multipliers based on the number of coins you play, and tiered-progressive games in which winning the jackpot is contingent upon max coins.

Just because you play less than full coin doesn't mean you'll get different combinations on the reels, or more importantly, fewer winning ones. It just means that you're not taking full advantage of the machine's long-term payback.

Unfortunately, the payback percentages of individual machines are a mystery to players. Such information is guarded, known only by the manufacturer and the casino owner.

State-regulated gambling properties are obligated to report monthly figures on slot play, but the cumulative statistics are based on the destination's entire inventory of machines, broken down by denomination.

By way of illustration, here's a scenario under which the payback percentage of a machine could become higher than what it was programmed to be by the manufacturer:

A traditional three-reel spinning slot's pay table advertises a jackpot of \$2,000 for one coin played, \$4,000 for two coins played, and \$10,000 for three coins (full coin) played.

If nobody ever played three coins, the machine would never have to pay a \$10,000 jackpot, yet its programmed payback percentage is calculated based upon the mathematical probability of that occurrence.

Therefore, that machine would reflect a higher "hold" percentage for the casino than what its PAR sheet showed.

Video poker players, on the other hand, are able to calculate payback percentage based upon the pay table of the particular game they are playing. But playing less than full coin on video poker can affect that percentage as well.

Video poker progressives have a positive impact on player expectations, depending upon the size of the jackpots for a royal flush, aces with the kicker, etc. Factor in the cash-back and points you earn for using a player's club card and long-term percentage payback on such games will increase.

It is one of the reasons that video poker progressives, once very common in casinos, have all but disappeared.

WORLD SERIES OF POKER CIRCUIT: Kenneth Baime, a well-known and frequent participant in poker tournaments both locally and nationally since 2009, secured his third Circuit gold ring last week at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, Illinois, for winning the \$400 no-limit hold’em event and a prize of \$90,183. The event attracted 1,082 entries for a total prize pool of \$557,320. Last summer the Glenview, Illinois, native finished 46th among over 8,000 entries in the Main Event at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. He collected \$176,200 for his sparkling performance in what is recognized as professional poker’s world championship. His career live winnings total more than \$1.1-million.

AMERISTAR: The month-long “Lucky Ball” promotion concludes on Saturday (April 22). Hourly drawings will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. Three winners selected at each drawing will play the “Lucky Ball Machine” for a chance to win up to \$10,000 in mycash. Mychoice players club members are invited to claim free daily tier-based entries through the end of the promotion. Additional entries are awarded for every 25 tier points earned playing slots and table games.

FOUR WINDS: Congratulations to a New Buffalo guest from Westchester, Illinois, who won a \$770,953.56 progressive jackpot on a \$10 bet playing a Buffalo Grand Deluxe slot machine last week. The windfall followed a \$143,134 hit on a Cash Jolt machine for a \$1.20 bet by a guest from St. Joseph, Michigan, and a \$83,055 score by a guest from Chicago making a \$7.50 bet on a Dollar Storm machine all within a month’s time.

Head over to the Hartford and Dowagiac locations every Tuesday during the month of May to play “It’s Time to Get Lucky”. Every hour between 4 and 10 p.m. (ET) five W Club players club members will be randomly selected for the Lucky Time bonus at the slot machine they are playing to win between \$15 and \$75 in instant credit/free slot play.

HARRAHS JOLIET: The “Putt Your Way” promotion will be held Friday (April 21) and again Friday (April 28). The entry activation period for both days is 2 to 7:55 p.m. with hourly drawings set to take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Four winners will be randomly selected at each drawing to play the game for a chance to win up to \$1,000 in free casino play. Caesars Rewards members have an opportunity to earn bonus entries today and tomorrow, and again April 25 – 28.

HOLLYWOOD JOLIET: Join the “Pick A Prize Palooza” promotion every Saturday this month. Mychoice players club members may swipe their cards at a promotional kiosk on Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. for automatic entries. A \$5,000 cash grand prize will be awarded at 9 p.m. Please visit the Mychoice Center on property for all the details.

HORSESHOE: The \$1,000,000 “Suitcase Man” promotion continues at the Hammond property. Caesars Rewards members are invited to collect tier-based bonus entries every Monday and Wednesday, with Gold and Platinum guests receiving 10-times entries, Diamond guests 25-times entries, and Seven Stars guests 100-times entries. Hourly drawings will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. for the final two Saturdays of the promotion. Two guests at each drawing will be selected to play the game for a chance to win \$1-million in cash.

It’s a mathematical fact that when you play a slot machine betting less than max coins per play for a particular game, you're not taking full advantage of the machine's programmed long-term payback percentage.

Every slot machine game is governed by what is known as a PAR (Probability and Accounting Report) sheet. It is proprietary information accessible by gaming property owners when they bring new games aboard.

Among the statistics available is a long-term payback percentage for the particular configuration of a game a property wishes to add to its slot machine inventory. The calculation is based on max coins played.

How does this impact slot players? First of all, it doesn't mean that you should play max coins on every machine you play. That can become a very expensive proposition for a majority of players, given the multi-line, multi-coin capabilities of modern slot technology.

It does mean that you should avoid playing some machines if you are unwilling or unable to invest max coins per spin. Among these are progressives, units with bonus multipliers based on the number of coins you play, and tiered-progressive games in which winning the jackpot is contingent upon max coins.

Just because you play less than full coin doesn't mean you'll get different combinations on the reels, or more importantly, fewer winning ones. It just means that you're not taking full advantage of the machine's long-term payback.

Unfortunately, the payback percentages of individual machines are a mystery to players. Such information is guarded, known only by the manufacturer and the casino owner.

State-regulated gambling properties are obligated to report monthly figures on slot play, but the cumulative statistics are based on the destination's entire inventory of machines, broken down by denomination.

By way of illustration, here's a scenario under which the payback percentage of a machine could become higher than what it was programmed to be by the manufacturer:

A traditional three-reel spinning slot's pay table advertises a jackpot of \$2,000 for one coin played, \$4,000 for two coins played, and \$10,000 for three coins (full coin) played.

If nobody ever played three coins, the machine would never have to pay a \$10,000 jackpot, yet its programmed payback percentage is calculated based upon the mathematical probability of that occurrence.

Therefore, that machine would reflect a higher "hold" percentage for the casino than what its PAR sheet showed.

Video poker players, on the other hand, are able to calculate payback percentage based upon the pay table of the particular game they are playing. But playing less than full coin on video poker can affect that percentage as well.

Video poker progressives have a positive impact on player expectations, depending upon the size of the jackpots for a royal flush, aces with the kicker, etc. Factor in the cash-back and points you earn for using a player's club card and long-term percentage payback on such games will increase.

It is one of the reasons that video poker progressives, once very common in casinos, have all but disappeared.

BONUS ROUND-UP:

WORLD SERIES OF POKER CIRCUIT: Kenneth Baime, a well-known and frequent participant in poker tournaments both locally and nationally since 2009, secured his third Circuit gold ring last week at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, Illinois, for winning the \$400 no-limit hold’em event and a prize of \$90,183. The event attracted 1,082 entries for a total prize pool of \$557,320. Last summer the Glenview, Illinois, native finished 46 among over 8,000 entries in the Main Event at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. He collected \$176,200 for his sparkling performance in what is recognized as professional poker’s world championship. His career live winnings total more than \$1.1-million.

AMERISTAR: The month-long “Lucky Ball” promotion concludes on Saturday (April 22). Hourly drawings will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. Three winners selected at each drawing will play the “Lucky Ball Machine” for a chance to win up to \$10,000 in mycash.  Mychoice players club members are invited to claim free daily tier-based entries through the end of the promotion. Additional entries are awarded for every 25 tier points earned playing slots and table games.

FOUR WINDS: Congratulations to a New Buffalo guest from Westchester, Illinois, who won a \$770,953.56 progressive jackpot on a \$10 bet playing a Buffalo Grand Deluxe slot machine last week. The windfall followed a \$143,134 hit on a Cash Jolt machine for a \$1.20 bet by a guest from St. Joseph, Michigan, and a \$83,055 score by a guest from Chicago making a \$7.50 bet on a Dollar Storm machine all within a month’s time.

Head over to the Hartford and Dowagiac locations every Tuesday during the month of May to play “It’s Time to Get Lucky”. Every hour between 4 and 10 p.m. (ET) five W Club players club members will be randomly selected for the Lucky Time bonus at the slot machine they are playing to win between \$15 and \$75 in instant credit/free slot play.

HARRAHS JOLIET: The “Putt Your Way” promotion will be held Friday (April 21) and again Friday (April 28). The entry activation period for both days is 2 to 7:55 p.m. with hourly drawings set to take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Four winners will be randomly selected at each drawing to play the game for a chance to win up to \$1,000 in free casino play. Caesars Rewards members have an opportunity to earn bonus entries today and tomorrow, and again April 25 – 28.

HOLLYWOOD JOLIET: Join the “Pick A Prize Palooza” promotion every Saturday this month. Mychoice players club members may swipe their cards at a promotional kiosk on Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. for automatic entries. A \$5,000 cash grand prize will be awarded at 9:00 p.m. Please visit the Mychoice Center on property for all the details.

HORSESHOE: The \$1,000,000 “Suitcase Man” promotion continues at the Hammond property. Caesars Rewards members are invited to collect tier-based bonus entries every Monday and Wednesday, with Gold and Platinum guests receiving 10-times entries, Diamond guests 25-times entries, and Seven Stars guests 100-times entries. Hourly drawings will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. for the final two Saturdays of the promotion. Two guests at each drawing will be selected to play the game for a chance to win \$1-million in cash.