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Nickel Slots

Nickel slots have a lot in common with penny slots. They’re both aimed at low-stakes gamblers who only have a little bit of money to play with, but they also both offer opportunities to get more money into action than you had originally intended. The nice thing about nickel slots is that they usually offer a higher payout percentage than they’re lower-stakes cousins.

Bizarre Advice for Nickel Slots Players

You’ll see some bizarre advice about nickel slot machines online. I read one page that advised to play the progressive jackpot games that offered nickel spins, because that way you can play for the big win. The problem with that advice is that progressive games offer lower hit rates and lower payout percentages than flat top games.

If that last sentence sounded like a bunch of gibberish, it’s probably because I need to define a few terms for you.

More Silly Advice

Another silly piece of advice I saw on a page about nickel slots was to “quit while you’re ahead”. Well, of course you SHOULD quit while you’re ahead, but what if you win $5 on your first spin. Are you going to just stop gambling for the entire trip? That doesn’t sound like much fun.

A better strategy might be to determine how much money you’re willing to lose without interfering with your financial ability to live your life. Then set that as your budget for your trip. If you come back a winner, then great, but if you lose (which, let’s face it, is more likely), you’ve only lost a minor amount of money. You still had fun, and you can still pay the rent.

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Nickel Slot Terms

A progressive jackpot game is one in which the jackpot is extremely large and continues to grow with each wager that’s put into the machine. A small percentage of each wager “fuels” the ever-growing jackpot. That’s why a progressive jackpot machine has a smaller payout than a flat top game—the difference in the payout percentage is what makes that staggeringly large jackpot possible.

A slot machine’s hit rate is the frequency with which it hits winning combinations. It’s usually more fun to play a game with a higher hit rate, but progressives can’t afford to allow you to hit too often, because they have the huge mega jackpot to pay for.

The payout percentage is the mathematically average amount of money a slot machine is going to return to the player over an infinite number of spins. For example, if a slots game has a 95% payout percentage, then you’ll win back 95 cents out of every dollar you put into the machine if you play long enough. The payout percentage is how the casino makes its money.

A flat top game is a slot machine with a fixed top jackpot amount. Since that amount doesn’t need to be funded by the wagers—it’s already accounted for by the game’s random number generator (RNG) and par sheet — the game can have a better hit rate and payout percentage.

Finally, the odds of winning a million dollars on a progressive slot machine game are about 1 in 50 million. Forgive me, but I’ll take my chances on the machine which gives me a realistic chance of winning a hundred bucks once in a while.

Nickel Slots versus Penny Slots

The payout percentages on slot machines generally increase as you go up in denomination. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that a nickel slot machine game usually has a higher payout percentage than a penny slot machine game. If you spend a little time in some gambling forums, you’ll see this confirmed by people who are paying attention to how well they do on the various machines.

What’s odd is that in land-based casino venues like Las Vegas and Atlantic City, nickel slots are becoming harder to find, while penny slots actually seem to be easier to find than ever. Why is that?

It’s because most gamblers don’t really understand how the different games work. Most penny slot machine games aren’t really games you can play for a penny at all. You make multiple wagers on multiple pay lines, and before you know it, you’re wagering $1.25 per spin—on a penny slot machine!

Nickel slots are as popular as ever at online casinos, though. Internet casinos don’t have to worry about floor space like a traditional casino does. In fact, with an Internet casino, the amount of floor space is theoretically infinite.

Typical Numbers on a Nickel Slot Machine Game

Slot machine payouts vary dramatically, but it’s not uncommon to find nickel slot machines with a max wager of 3 to 5 coins per spin. That means you’re wagering 15 cents to 25 cents every time you spin the reels.

The top jackpots on these kinds of machines usually run between $500 and $1500, although that can vary widely, too. In fact, a lot of progressive games are available with jackpots far in excess of that, but remember my earlier advice about progressives. They payout percentages are lower and the hit rates are also lower, so they’re not as much fun — unless you win, of course.

Some people get enough entertainment value out of fantasizing over what they’re going to do with all that money from the huge jackpot that they’re willing to accept the lower payout percentage in exchange for that bit of entertainment value. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as you’re a self-aware gambler and you’re making that decision with open eyes.

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