What are penny slots?

The custom definition of a penny slot is a slot machines that you can play at 1 cent per line. However, modern penny slots have evolved to often require that you play at least a certain number of lines per spin. That means you’re actually betting 25c, 40c, or more per spin.

How do penny slots work?

Penny slots can be played physically or online. You deposit a penny, press a button or pull the lever, and the reels start to spin. You win a prize if you get the right combination of symbols.

Is that oversimplifying it? Absolutely. Play any online slot or go into any casino and you’ll soon see you were deceiving yourself. You can rarely get away with just one penny. Sometimes, you’ll even find yourself betting 50 or 100, so a spin ends up costing you a dollar or more.

The issue with paylines

So where does all this confusion come from? Mainly from the fact that paylines have evolved a great deal from the time of the very first slots. At the beginning, there was only one payline. If you got three matching symbols across the reels, you won a prize. Now, slots feature a number of different paylines. You can win with far more than a straight line – zigzags, trapeziums, maybe even triangles. To know exactly, you must look in the slot’s paytable. This will also show how much you can win.

So, slots today have far more than a single simple play. Players can bet on all available paylines. Each line can have multiple credits. Today, your standard slot machine features between 25 and 30 paylines per slot. You must bet on quite a few if you want to win the biggest jackpots.

The issue with slot machine paylines

Why are paylines important?

Paylines determine the different multipliers, free spins, prizes, and bonuses. They have to span the length of the reels. This is among the first aspects designers consider because it’s vital to the game.

You can choose how many paylines you bet on per spin if the slot is a so-called free slot depending on what it allows and where you’re playing. Alternatively, you can play a fixed slot, but it will limit you to its predefined setting. What people are actually wagering is a different issue.

The actual wager

This article has covered the fact that people aren’t actually wagering a penny at a time when they play penny slots. This is hardly a surprise. After all, penny bets aren’t a good business model for any casino. Players don’t find them exciting either. The fact that the minimum limits for the penny slots are a little higher isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They would do well to change the name “penny slot.”

Rather than betting on one payline for a dollar, you’re usually betting at least one credit on every line. Let’s say you’re wagering 2 credits a line on 10 lines in a slot with 5 reels. You’re wagering 20 credits or 20 cents per spin. Yes, it’s not one cent, but it’s more interesting. 20 cents is quite low actually. The minimum is usually a dollar or euro.

Some slots require you bet the maximum, but not all. Traditional land-based casinos can be challenging to navigate when it comes to finding cheaper slots. This could well have been expected. Online slots are far more affordable. There are many minimum spins at 25 (for 5 cents). You can bet a penny on each payline without any issues.

Things that can go wrong with penny slots

Penny slots seem easy to play and understand. This is why they are so popular. Still, there are things that can go wrong with them and often do. Most issues come from the fact that players don’t take the time to become informed about what they’re doing. Be informed of strategy and familiar with the terms and conditions to avoid novice mistakes when playing penny slots.

To save you some time, here are some of the most common mistakes people make when playing penny slots.

Things that can go wrong with penny slots

They don’t bet the maximum

This is the most common mistake and it’s not hard to see why. Many people choose penny slots because they don’t want to risk losing a lot of money. That’s the attraction in the name, but it’s like with any gamble – risk can pay off. If you don’t want to risk betting the max, you might not have a chance at a jackpot.

Both online and land based casinos may have requirements to bet the max to be eligible for the grand prize. What’s worse, you may be thinking you won a lot of money, only to discover you didn’t because of the low limit you set for yourself.

Make no mistake – your odds won’t improve if you bet the max. What will is your prospect of grabbing a bag of cash.

Betting too much  

This seems to conflict with the above point, but it’s still a big mistake and one we often see with these kinds of slots. Now that you know you’re risking more than a penny a spin, be attentive to your bankroll and don’t neglect to manage it during play. You need to know how much you’ve spent at any given point in time. It’s easy to go overboard.

Not checking the return to player rate

The RTP tells plays how much they can expect in returns in the long run for each bet, if anything. The RTP is an average value, so you shouldn’t rely on it too much, but it’s a decent indicator. You may find the slot isn’t even worth trying. While you’ll never find a rate of 100%, it’s still a good idea to look for those with the highest RTP for the best return prospects.  

Not checking the return to player rate

Can I win a lot of money on penny slots?

In sum, this is probably the most frequent question from players.  The short answer is yes. The long answer? It’s complicated. Lots of players have won big when playing penny slots. We’ve heard stories from Redditers, family, friends, and others, all boasting about big wins from minimal bets. Some penny slots are connected to huge progressive jackpots that tempt us because of their lucrative prizes, available to everyone who’s willing to play for a chance of winning. Penny slots grand prizes can be as high as tens or hundreds of thousands.

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