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Best of John Grochowski

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The Casino Answer Man

20 July 1999

Are the paybacks higher on dollar machines or $5 machines than on quarter machines?

Yes. The higher denomination you play, the higher the payback percentage. In the Chicago area, quarter slots average about 92 percent payback, dollars average about 95 percent and $5 machines average about 96 percent.

Keep in mind, though, that when you lose 5 percent of a dollar, you're losing more money than when you lose 8 percent of a quarter. If your bankroll isn't large enough for dollar play, you're better off accepting the lower payback percentage on quarters.

Is the payback less if I only play one coin at a time?

Usually. On most slot machines, there's a big jump in the top jackpot as a reward for playing maximum coins. A machine might pay 1,000 coins if you hit three jackpot symbols with one coin played, 2,000 with two coins played, then jump to 5,000 with three coins played. That jump means the payback percentage is higher with maximum coins played.

Progressive slots carry that to an extreme. A percentage of coins played is added to the progressive jackpot until someone hits the big one with maximum coins played. Players who don't bet the max are not eligible for the progressive.

Are the casino payback percentages you list in your column and that are published in Midwest Gaming and Travel figuring maximum coins played?

No, those percentages, which come from state gaming board reports, reflect actual play. Divide the amount returned to players by the amount wagered, then multiply by 100 to convert to percent, and you have the payback percentage.

Those statistics include the full mix of players. Some bet maximum coins, some don't. If I tell you that Empress Joliet's payback percentage on dollar slots was 95.1 percent in March, then on the average, players who bet maximum coins would have gotten a little more than that and players who bet less than the maximum would have gotten a little less.

Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

The Craps Answer Book

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski