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Playing Dollar Slots is risky but it can be worth it

Playing Dollar Slots is risky but it can be worth it

The fact that slots are a relatively cheap casino game to play is a huge draw card for many players so machines like Penny Slots are extremely popular.

Their more expensive Dollar counterparts however do not usually enjoy the same popularity, especially amongst recreational gamblers who care less about qualifying for life changing progressive jackpots. While these slots are pricey and can quickly put a dent in your casino bankroll, there are two important benefits that can help to offset this factor, let's discuss these.

The difference a dollar makes

When it comes to comps earned through playing slots, these can and do differ quite substantially. Let's for instance compare playing dollar and nickel slots where both games have a payout rate of 93% and a house advantage of 7%. Assuming you play 500 spins in a session and the casino comps you at a rate of 25% of your losses:

  • Nickel Slots would yield a $1.75 loss (calculated as follows: 500 spins x 0.07 house edge X $0.05 wager). This means that the casino would comp you $0.44 on the losses experienced in this session ($1.75 x 0.25).
  • When playing Dollar slots your theoretical loss would be way higher at $35 (500 spins X 0.07 house edge x $1) and the casino would comp you $8.75 on the losses you incur.

From this example it is obvious that you will have lost more money playing the dollar slots machine even when comps are included, but if you take your rewards into account and deduct them from the losses, these would drop from $35 to $26.25. This is still way more to lose than in the nickel game but comps will help you to offset some of the losses.

The moral of the story is that no matter which slots you decide to play, you should always sign up for the players club at Las Vegas casinos and ensure that you use your players card whenever you play slots. When playing at online casinos, you will automatically be enrolled into their loyalty clubs when you sign up at the casino and will be rewarded according to your game play.

Higher Payout Rates

For the sake of illustration in our aforementioned example, we supposed the house edge was 7% on both games, however this is generally not the case in reality as the higher denomination you play, the higher the payout rate on a machine generally is.

When playing dollar slots you'll usually find that the payout rates are between 93% and 96% with the latter being most common in online slots. Nickel slots on the other hand generally have payouts of between 90% and 93% due to the fact that the casinos make less money off the average player on these games and have to make up for it somehow.

While higher payout rates on their own will not offset larger theoretical losses, when combined with casino comps, they will definitely make a difference. Let's look at another example to illustrate this:

  • If you play a Nickel slot with a payout rate of 90% and make 500 spins in a session you will be subject to a $2.50 theoretical loss (calculated as follows: 500 spins x 0.10 house edge x $0.05 wager). This means that you would receive $0.63 in rewards if the casino comps your losses at 25%.
  • On the other hand, if you play Dollar slots with a payout rate of 95% and again make 500 spins in a session you would be faced with a theoretical loss of $25 (500 spins x 0.05 house edge x $1). This means that a comp rate of 25% you would be awarded $6.25.

Long Term Profits

What we have not yet discussed is how your long term returns should increase when playing dollar slots. While this may not seem possible based on our above discussions of how theoretical losses are higher even when more comps and higher payout rates are factored in, it is. This is due to the fact that higher payout rates do come into play in a major way over the long term.

This means that if you were to bet $10,000 on nickel and dollar games respectively, the higher payout rates offered by Dollar machines would end up netting you more winning on average than their nickel counterparts. While you will enjoy considerably less game play time when playing higher denomination machines, if their payout is 95%, you would only incur $500 in theoretical losses versus the $1000 loss on an average nickel slot.

Taking this into account, dollar slots suddenly become much less of a daunting prospect than they first appear to be. So if you're someone who tolerates risk well and wants to go for the larger progressive jackpots that are up for grabs at $1 a bet, then playing this way can be worth it in the long run.

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