We hear a lot of players talk about how they want to get a slot machine handpay or are hoping to get their first handpay. There is certainly a bit of a rite of passage around getting one.
But what is its significance? A handpay is triggered based on an arbitrary win number, $1,200, that the IRS set in the 1970s for what amount needs to be reported. This amount hasn’t changed since then, despite with inflation today, that amount would be worth more than $5,000!
Because it’s a set number regardless of how much you wagered, getting a handpay when betting high is easier, and less significant, than getting one on a lower bet.
So it does make sense when players who traditionally bet lower want to get one – it’s such a unicorn of an amount to hit on smaller bets it can feel out of reach! But with the way some games are structured, it’s not impossible either. We’ve seen lots of amazing wins on smaller bets, including one of our staff winning $12,500 on a $1 bet on a Brian Christopher Slots Cruise!
Better Gauge Than a Slot Machine Handpay
But we tend to advise players not to get too hung up on the idea of a slot machine handpay. Instead, achieving something that’s a good multiple of your bet is a more realistic, and obtainable, goal across any bet level.
The magic number we think is great is 100x your bet. So if you’re betting $1, winning $100 is a pretty good outcome! It’s a good amount vs. your bet, has the ability to keep you going a lot longer, and is significant enough that it feels good. And with the way games are built today, it’s not out of reach either.
We advise those betting low and going to the casino with smaller budgets, not to get too caught up on the idea of a handpay. Chasing a handpay can cause a player to miss the fact that they’re getting amazing wins on smaller bets, all because it’s not a specific dollar amount.
Winning $100 on a $1 bet is a great moment, but some players will ignore it because it’s not $1,200, and that can be costly to your gambling budget when you spend through money in the pursuit of an arbitrary goal. Setting realistic goals for a casino trip is something we believe in, so that players can have a chance of bringing home some money and even come out ahead!
So for that reason, we say no, a handpay doesn’t really matter, even if it’s an exciting outcome when it does happen. Instead, celebrate those 100x wins and have fun with your entertainment budget. And remember – it’s all about timing!