Is There a Bet Level That Yields the Most Bonuses?

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Max bet vs. play button

One thing that’s awfully fun about talking to players is when you hear competing questions/theories for what makes a slot machine tick. Here’s two questions I got from players on the same topic:

Do bonuses come out more frequently when you play the max bet?

Carolyn R.


Do machines give out more bonuses on lower bets?


Why would two players have very different views on this? Having spent enough time on forums with players over the years, two competing viewpoints seem to have developed over time, largely supported by confirmation bias:

  • Lower bet players seem to get more bonuses and jackpots – pictures of low roller wins and such proliferate on social media, and it seems like they’re all over the place in casinos at times.
  • Bigger betters get bigger jackpots, and sometimes players are also told that you need to max bet to get the best outcomes on slot machines.

Let’s look at each of these in turn.

More players will bet lower than bet higher. Overall the number of players tends to go down as the bets go up. That means it’s just going to be normal to see, numerically, more lower betting players hitting on machines. When you have more people making more spins, the outcomes will certainly come out over time!

And while the advice to max bet is accurate on some games – that if you don’t max bet, or at least bet at a certain level, you may be locking yourself out of certain prizes that contribute to the overall payback – it doesn’t necessarily mean bonuses are going to come out more often. It just means you may not be accessing certain payouts aside from those bonuses, such as progressives.

As a rule, bonuses tend to come out at roughly the same frequency regardless of bet level. When a game designer is designing a game, they want it to feel a certain way, and that means having bonuses occur at a certain frequency.

Even though payouts may differ on different denominations, game designers will still aim for those core elements to occur at roughly the same frequency. So betting lower or higher will generally not yield any meaningful differences in bonus frequency.

However, there are specific games where you can adjust your bet to increase the frequency of bonuses. Or, you can increase the quality of those bonuses, even if they don’t occur any more often.

Light & Wonder often featured this on their licensed games, with a More/Better bonus, on game series like Wonka, James Bond and the Wizard of Oz. This also surfaced on some game types like their Moolah series.

By betting a bit higher you could increase the frequency and the quality of your bonuses. They made it clear and it was a deliberate choice by the player.

Other game types increase the chances for a better bonus by betting higher. Sometimes this is even demonstrated by having uneven bet amounts. The bet for a 2x line pay costs more than 2x the 1x line pay, because the game maker is taking that extra money and amping up the features and bonuses. But even here, you’re not increasing the bonus frequency, just what you get out of the bonus, and you are most certainly paying for that privilege.

So, ultimately, max betting or min betting won’t impact your bonus frequency on slots. With that in mind, it’s best to play at a level your budget can afford, and the bonuses will come out over time.

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