Are Results Really Different if You Only Bet One Coin on Slots?

 Are Results Really Different if You Only Bet One Coin on Slots?

Let’s take a spin through a long-standing slot machine myth, one that I’m asked about several times a year.

One recent e-mail started, “This always happens to me on three-reel games. When I play one coin at a time, I win, but as soon as I start betting maximum coins, I lose. Should I stick with one coin at a time?”

The random number generator that determines what you see on the receives no input from other programs about the size of your bet. It doesn’t know how many coins you’ve played.

One thing that’s common among traditional slots with three mechanical reels is that there are many more losing spins than winners. Video slots, with five video reels and multiple paylines, have changed that. Some video slots pay at least something on more than 50 percent of spins. Many of those payoffs will be for less money than the bet, but there is something coming back. On three-reel slots, payoffs on 20 percent of plays is a really high hit frequency, and many games are closer to 11 or 12 percent.

What that means is that losing streaks on three-reel slots are very, very common. The most likely outcome is a loss, regardless of the number of coins wagered. But players who have had a little winning streak with one-coin wagers who then lose at maximum coins perceive a change. All that’s really happening is normal probability.

While anything can happen in a short period, over the long haul the results you see with one coin wagered will be no better and no worse than when betting maximum coins. Your bet size makes no difference to the RNG. It just keeps generating random numbers.

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