Online slot machines have been using coins instead of real life currency since as far back as we can remember. They are something of an equalizer between different countries and currencies, but it has also been suggested by some that they are just another ploy to confuse players into betting more.
This isn’t really provable either way, but it wouldn’t make a great deal of sense to baffle a player into overspending as they would be unlikely to return and play again, but nevertheless, coins can be undeniably confusing to newer players.
So what are they, how do they work, and how do they affect your gameplay?
What is a Coin?
An online slot machine coin is a sort of virtual currency, and a means to make stake levels on each game as flexible as possible.
Not all slots use coins, some have set betting amounts from pennies up to hundreds of pounds, but the player is limited to the choices the slot developer has given them.
Others use coins, and coin values, along with adjustable paylines to enable the player to bet exactly the amount they want to bet. It’s more convoluted but does give the player more control.
You will often be paid out in coins as well, and it can be deceptive. For example, if the slot you are playing tells you that you have just hit a “Big Win!” as they often do, and the jangling coins sound effect starts playing with celebratory music while the screen rains gold coloured discs, you might get excited that you have hit the big time.
But easy tiger; a win of 500 coins might sound like a lot, but if each coin is only worth a penny then you have just won the princely sum of £5. Why is it a big win? Because at stakes of 1p per coin your potential win threshold is lower than it would be at £1 per coin, so it is a big win relative to the amount you staked.
Don’t worry, we will get into this in more detail later on. First, let’s try to understand these coins a little better and have a look at how to use them.
If you have a slot machine that uses coins to bet with as opposed to monetary value, then you are going to have to think a little bit differently to the person playing a slot that doesn’t. However, you are also going to be able to tailor your stake per spin to exactly the way you want it.
There are 3 things to consider here:
- Number of coins per payline.
- Value of each coin.
- Number of active paylines.
We will tackle each one of these in turn to make things as clear as possible.
Number of Coins Per Payline
Some slots only have 2 or 3 coins available per payline, others have more, but the key thing to understand here is that each coin has a monetary value, so the more of them you bet per line the more expensive your spin is going to be.
On some slots, especially NetEnt titles, this is called the Bet Level, but it amounts to the same thing; bet level 1 is one coin, bet level 2 is two coins, etc.
On most slots, it’s usually a case of clicking either the coins themselves or a set of up and down arrows on either side of the coin selection box. This is how to select how many coins you want to bet on each active payline.
This can be changed before each spin, so you are not locked into a decision for more than a single spin.
The next stage is setting the coin value. Again, not all slots will be exactly the same and some might not even have this option, but the higher the coin value the more your spin will cost.
It’s also worth knowing that the slot will always show you your bet in monetary value somewhere on the screen, so you aren’t going in blind, it just might be very small at the bottom.
Have a look at the table below – we will ignore paylines for the moment:
|Coins Per Line||Coin Value||Total Stake|
Hopefully you can understand the concept from looking at this table, and you can see that betting more coins doesn’t necessarily mean betting more money, it all depends on the coin value.
Ten coins at 1p per coin is only 10 pence per spin, while 1 coin at £10 is a £10 bet per spin. There is a lot of wiggle room here to get the stake to a level you are comfortable with.
There are some slots that allow you to choose how many of the available paylines are active for each spin. You will only get paid out for winning combinations on paylines that are active, so most players leave them all on, but you don’t have to.
This means that if you have paylines 1-10 active and land a winning combination on payline number 16, you won’t be paid out for it because you didn’t place a bet on that payline.
Factoring this into the amount of coins you bet is where it can get a bit confusing. If we imagine a slot with 20 paylines, there are a lot of options available to you:
|Coins Per Line||Coin Value||Active Paylines||Total Stake|
Those last two show you just how much range you can get with some slots if all customisation options are available to you. This makes them accessible for all types of players; high rollers and those on more modest incomes and everyone in between.
Other slots have the number of paylines fixed so this section doesn’t apply to them.
Do Higher Coin Values Increase the Chances of Winning?
That would be a no.
The slot machine works at the same RTP regardless of the amount you are staking per spin. It has to, otherwise it would be in breach of the guidelines set down by the UKGC. These are put in place to ensure fairness and as close to random behaviour as possible, and this ensures that all players get the same experience and the same chance of winning regardless of how much they bet.
What it does do, is increase the amount that you stand to win for each winning payline or combination. This is always relative to the stake, and is usually shown on the paytable as something like 5x or 10x, etc. The number tells you how much your stake on that line will be multiplied by to give you your winning amount.
So if you bet 1p per line on a 20 payline slot, that would be a 20p bet per spin – 1p per payline. If you manage a winning combination worth 5x on one payline, then you will be paid out 5p, because:
1p x 5 = 5p
If you landed two winning paylines on the same spin, one at 5x and the other at 20x you would win 25p, because:
1p x 5 = 5p and 1p x 20 = 20p. Then 5p + 20p = 25p
If you were betting £1 per line instead of 1p, then you would be betting £20 per spin, and your payout would be £5 for that single payline and £25 for that double payline win.
So while you stand to win more you are also staking a lot more, so it’s all relative and therefore fair.
Side note: This does not apply to progressive jackpots which can be won in full on any spin of any amount.
All slots from different makers handle coins and coin value differently. Some only have a bet value per line and no coins, others have all of the options listed above, it depends on the developer.
However, the concept is the same regardless. It will always be about how much you are staking per payline and how many paylines you are betting on per spin.
Now that you understand the concept you should be able to figure out any slot that you come across, even if it uses slightly different terms for the same thing.