Sunday, August 26, 2007

Betting the Max Vs. Budgeting your Play

A common school of thought on slot play is to always bet the max. On my preferred penny machines, that is usually 200 - 300 credits, or $2 to $3 a pop. I'm not exactly sure how this theory of max betting permeated the casino floor, but it is popular.

Let me just say up front - I do NOT bet the max. I bet early, and I bet often, so my goal is to maximize my play. I'm your basic low roller. I drink cheap beer (Budweiser, thank you) and you may find me camped out at the buffet (if I can pay with slot club points) from time to time, but if you want to dine in the steak house buddy, you're buying.

I want to make this clear, as I review the play of new slot machines.

I do usually bet all the lines possible (up to 100 these days), but commonly I will bet one per line. Sometimes when I am chasing my losses (one of the cardinal sins of gambling, but I'm no angel.) I will go two or three lines, and when I am truly desperate, or have my eye on a progressive, I have been known to go higher and even press the Max Bet button.

But for the purpose of my reviews, you can assume I am playing all the lines at one credit per line. For instance on yesterday's blog I forgot to mention that the Monopoly "Super Money Grab" machine at Station's Red Rock Casino is a penny machine with 25 lines of play. The max bet is 8x or 200 credits ($2 dollars.)

I apologize if the title of this blog is a little misleading. I don't intend to completely analyze the subject in a blog -- to quote Rodgers and Hart "If you ask me, I could write a book." and many folks already have.

In the future I will delve into many aspects of the many ways to win and lose at slots.

I've sat next to many folks who bet the max, and I usually remark to them something along the lines of "I wish I had your guts." More often than not, I'll get a response like "It's not guts, it's more like stupidity!" I've never had a player encourage me to bet the max, and the reason is obvious. It's expensive. $100 can go in the blink of an eye when you're betting the max. It's great if you hit a win, but if not, you can lose your bank roll real quick.

There are many new machines where your odds actually improve toward winning progressive awards if you bet the max, and all the old favorites like Megabucks, where your only chance to win the progressive is if you bet the max. I certainly wouldn't argue with anyone who has ever hit a major progressive, that they were playing recklessly!

But those are the lucky ones, and then there is me.

You'll find me at the penny slots, swiggin' beer and placing conservative bets.

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