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Determining the Cost / Hour to Play Slots

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Slots and video poker are high-paced games. Unlike blackjack, where players typically average around 50 hands per hour, video poker and slots players will average hundreds of spins per hour. Some players play faster than others, but 500 spins per hour is typical for reel slots and video poker. Games with bonus rounds result in slower play, usually closer to 300 spins per hour.

We can use the average playing speed for the games, along with the house edge, to determine the average amount that a player can expect to lose each hour playing the slots.

Using the expected return of 99.5% on a typical Jacks or Better video poker game, we can determine the expected loss playing 500 hands per hour. This return is based on the maximum bet. The payout on 1 to 4-coin bets is slightly lower. Playing on a quarter machine with the maximum bet, you would bet 500 times $1.25, or a total of $625. The expected loss of .5% would be $3.13 per hour. If you play the minimum bet of 25 cents each time, you would be a total of $125 and would be expected to lose 1.6% of that amount, or $2.00.

When playing the quarter 8-5 Jacks or Better video poker, the average loss per hour increases to $4.88. This is a result of the reduced payouts for flushes and full houses.

The payoffs on video poker due not vary based on the denomination of the machine. Instead, the difference is a result of changes to the pay schedule. So the $1 9-6 Jacks or Better machine will lose 4 times as much per hour as the quarter machine, provided the pay schedule is the same.

Penny slot machines usually offer lower paybacks than do higher denominations. They usually pay less than 90%. At 85%, a 20-line penny video slot machine will lose around $9 per hour.

Quarter reel slots usually have a house edge around 6 to 9 percent. The payout on the top jackpot is higher for maximum coin bets. Playing one coin at a time, a typical quarter reel slot machine will cost $11.25 per hour to play.

For a 9-line nickel video slot machine, the cost is an average of $13.50 per hour. The quarter reel-spinning slot, at three coins, costs an average of $26.75 per hour. Dollar reel slots average $35 per hour with one coin.

The dollar 8-5 Jacks or Better video poker averages $67.50 per hour for five-coin play. The dollar reel slots cost an average of $75 per hour with three coins played at a time. It’s no wonder dollar slot players receive such good comps. They deserve them.

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