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Bet Size Vs. Spots Marked

Updated: May 9

Is it preferable to place minimum bets on more marked spots (6-10) or maximum bets on fewer spots (3, 4, or 5)?

We know that payouts vary from one casino to another - even within the same casino. Exercise care when choosing a machine, even if it’s the only exercise you get.

Like pay tables, Max Bets vary. Try to determine what the max is before you start sliding bills or vouchers into a machine.

It’s easy to hit that Max Bet button by accident. In most of the casinos I frequent, Max is 16 units. That comes to .80 cents on a nickel 4 Card machine and $1.60 at the dime level. $4 on a quarter machine!

If you do play the Max Bet by mistake, hopefully you’ll then hit a jackpot. A pleasant, but all too rare surprise. It does happen. My wife once asked me, “Honey, how did I just win $400!?” Blame our old friend Max Button. You might bump into him when you least expect it.

16 units may be the most common Max Bet, but in some places, it can be much higher. At South Point it’s 32 units. You see how that can add up. It's a nice option to have to enable a larger return for your money, but only when you've planned for it.

But to my original question: “Should I bet smaller amounts on cards marked with more numbers, or larger bets on cards marked with fewer numbers? Those are easier to hit, right? How hard can it be to hit a 3 spot?”

It IS easier sometimes, but there is no guarantee. Go with the flow and see how things shake out at your particular machine in THAT casino on THAT date. There are times I’ve played Max 3 & 4 spots repeatedly and just kept winning. But I've tried the same thing the next day – at the same casino - and got zip!

The return for a 3 or 4 card hit with Max Bet – say 16 units – at the ten-cent level ($1.60 a push), averages $18 for a 3-spot, and $36 for 4-of-4.

I like to bunch up my patterns. For example, on a 4-card machine I might choose four tightly grouped 4 spots within a larger grid of 6 or 8, overlapping. If you hit your numbers on one board, you win that jackpot plus smaller fringe payoffs from the overlap.

If all 6 or 8 of those grid numbers hit, then you have 4 winners. 4 x $18 or $36 dollars. I’ve never hit that, but I have landed two groups within the grid. More often when I’ve grouped 5, 6, or 7 spots together – not just 3 or 4. You can see that in some videos I’ve posted.

So, while $18 – 36.00 wins don’t sound very impressive and they're certainly not the grand jackpot we’ve all fantasized about, they do keep us playing longer, and if we rack up enough of those wins in a row, we soon see a couple hundred bucks on the meter and can begin to bet at a higher level or take the money & run if we wish – go have a nice dinner and play again later.

The key is to decide in advance how much you’re willing to spend that day or that visit. Stick to the budget. Once you’ve picked your target machine and you’re ready to play, you can decide whether you want to start small and try to grow from there, or if you want to jump in full force with Max Bets from the start. Either way, your budget is your budget.

I’ve done both with various results. It comes in waves. One week is hot, the next one or two – ice cold. That’s where budgeting pays off. I allocate myself x dollars per week or day, and when they dry up, I take a break until I’m refreshed and replenished. If I DO hit it big on a given day, that’s when I can play longer – again with a budget (reset) or on table games I need a bigger bank for.

I can approach a slot with $20, but at the dice, blackjack, or poker tables I don’t like to sit down with less than $100.

Thanks for reading.

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