Max Bets in Video Slots

One of the many differences between video slots and three-reel slots with mechanical reels is that three-reel games almost always have an incentive in the pay table to bet maximum coins. On three-reel games, a max-coins bet brings a disproportionate jump in the top jackpot, so betting the max brings a higher payback percentage than betting less.

That’s not the case on most video slots. Paybacks are proportionate to your bet per line, and the expected payback percentage is the same no matter how much you bet.

There are video slots that have incentives to bet more than the minimum per line, although that incentive isn’t in the form of a disproportionate jackpot jump.

Here are some situations in which you get more for your video slot money with extra bets:

PROGRESSIVE JACKPOTS, EXTRA BET REQUIRED: If you play progressive machines, it’s important to make sure you’re eligible for the progressive jackpots. On some games, that requires a separate bet. The base game carries the same payback percentage regardless of how many coins you wager, but you’re not eligible for the main attraction if you don’t make the extra bet.

PROGRESSIVE JACKPOTS, MYSTERY TRIGGER: On other progressives, even minimum bettors are eligible for the top jackpot. But for that to happen, the jackpot needs to be on a mystery format where the winner is the player whose wager takes the jackpot to a randomly generated amount. On mystery formats for progressives, players who bet more get extra chances for each bet to be the one that triggers the jackpot.

MYSTERY BONUSES: These work in a similar way to progressives with mystery triggers. Programming differs from manufacturer to manufacturer, but basically, a random number generator selects a targeted amount of play before launching a bonus round. Bigger bets take you closer to the target faster.

Mystery elements don’t guarantee a game’s payback percentage will be higher with larger bets, but they do take you toward the random target faster than smaller wagers.  Without mystery elements or separate jackpot bets, most video slots aren’t built to incentivize max-bet play.

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