The concept of a penny is an interesting notion in the language and culture of the USA. Being equal to one cent, it represents the lowest denomination available in the American currency system. A single penny is essentially a worthless amount of money. Noteworthy is the fact that in the US economic society there are many activists advocating for the idea of eliminating the penny from the currency system. If such a drastic step is made, the new lowest currency denomination will be the nickel (for any non-Americans reading this article: the nickel is worth five cents).

Penny Slots: The Psychological Edge

By introducing the title Penny Slots, gambling establishments resorted to psychological tricks in order to have a weather over gamblers. When a certain category of slot machines is referred to as penny slots, an American player’s mind tends to perceive them as the most affordable group, even though it might not be entirely true. Thus, this category attracts more frugal gamblers who might avoid or overlook the quarter (25 cents) machines and even the nickel (5 cents) slots.

The truth about penny slots is, most of them encourage and prompt the gambler to bet their money on a number of pay lines at a time. In addition, while 1 cent may be the smallest possible betting amount, the game may employ all kinds of tricks to push the player to bet more than a penny per one line. Let’s say you’re having a session of gambling at a penny slot machine equipped with 5 reels and a total of 25 paylines. In this case, even if you wager no more than a penny per one payline, your total betting amount per one spin winds up at 1 dollar 25 cents.

Always Check Out The Slot’s Rules Before Playing

Considering the fact both land-based and online gambling establishments are not shy to employ psychological techniques to attract and keep their audience, those who regularly or occasionally enjoy an evening devoted to games of hazard should educate themselves. Before you start playing this or that game, pay close attention to its rules and carefully examine the paytable. This will allow you to make sure there are no hidden rocks and pitfalls that could prevent you from enjoying the experience to the utmost extent or straight up lead to disappointment.

Keep in mind that every single casino or slot aggregator website’s ultimate goal is to make as much profit as possible. It’s just the American way of approaching business. It would be unfair to resent the establishments for this, but each player should better equip themselves with a fair deal of good judgment. As a gambler, it’s your own task and responsibility to figure out in advance how much a night full of this form of entertainment is going to cost you. If you are a forethoughtful person, penny slots might be the best deal for you on the online gambling market. If you are a gambler of the reckless type – be wary, as your wallet may be in danger of getting drained much faster than you imagine.

Penny Slots: The Mathematical Background

Why Penny Slots Are More Profitable

Ever wondered how a gambling establishment views their equipment and software? It’s a profit-making device that occupies a certain space in the gambling hall. In a land-based casino, the amount of physical space is limited, so there are only so many machines the room can fit. The task of the casino managers is to make the best possible use of each square meter of the floor in terms of profitability. Imagine you’re the manager. One device brings the establishment 1 cent every time someone spins the reels. The other device delivers a solid dollar with every new spin. Both occupy the same space on the floor. What would you resort to in order to compensate for such a huge difference in profits from the two units?

The answer to this question has long been presented. To make up for the difference, the casino lowers the payout percentage for the machines that come with low minimal stakes. This means, your chances of winning are lowered. However, this aspect of gambling is regulated by the law. For example, in the land-based casinos of Las Vegas, all slot machines are required to have an RTP that exceeds 75%. Thus, at least three-fourths of what the player spends must return to him. On the other hand, the machines with higher stakes (such as quarter slots) may have much more appealing RTP coefficients, usually in the range from 93% to 97%.

Theoretical RTP In Penny Slots

For those who prefer a mathematical explanation and are eager to see what this means in terms of actual cents and dollars, here is a clarification. Ever wondered how many spins an average player makes per hour while being engrossed by a slot game? According to estimates, the average value is six hundred spins per hour or ten spins per minute. If the slot machine they’re using belongs to the low-stake variety and they only need to wager 1 cent per one spin, the total amount of their wagers adds up to make 6 dollars per hour. For comparison, if the machine requires higher stakes and the gambler has to bet 100 cents on a spin, then the per-hour wager is equal to a rather impressive amount of 600 dollars.

In theoretical terms, the percentage of payback (also called RTP) is how much of the money wagered per hour will return back to the gambler’s pocket. In terms of actual numbers, this means that a low stake penny slot with a 75% RTP where you wager 1 cent per spin allows you to receive back 4.5 dollars out of your 6 dollars. With such a game, the gambler’s net loss amounts to 150 cents per hour. On the other hand, a high-stake machine (100 cents per spin) with a higher RTP (say, 93%) allows you to get back 558 dollars of the 600 dollars you spend, meaning the player’s estimated loss (which is concurrently the casino’s estimated profit) equals 42 dollars per hour.

RTP: Theory Vs. Reality

Worth emphasizing once again, the above calculations are theoretical. They were produced based on the condition that the number of spins is infinite. Since any individual player spends only a limited time spinning the reels, his experience may vary from the theoretical norm. Anything can happen, both great wins and great losses. However, casino devices have the power of mathematics on their side, which is hard to beat by mere luck. Speaking of the high-stake, $1-per-spin machines, even if the casino decides to set up a generous RTP percentage of 99% – in practice, such a slot will bring the establishment larger profits than any of the penny slots.

When assessing the reality, you should also take into account how much an average gambler tends to bet. Very few players bother to wager no more than 1 cent per one spin of the reels. According to statistical reports, average players of penny slots usually maximize their bets (for example, up to 5 cents per one line). In addition, the machine may have several active paylines – for the sake of this example, let’s say it’s a slot with 9 paylines. Taking into account these additional circumstances, it becomes clear that each single spin requires the player to put $0.45 into the machine. Once you calculate everything, you can see the player’s per-hour wager totals 270 dollars. Keep in mind, the payout percentage is only 75%. Thus, the gambler in question is most likely to lose an average of $67.5 per every hour spent at the penny slot machine.

To sum everything said above, statistically speaking, the player who spends the night enjoying a penny slot faces a great likelihood of losing more money than the gambler who prefers high-stake machines.

How To Improve Your Penny Slots Experience

Possibly the most serious mistake regularly made by the gamblers engaging with penny slots is the fact they tend to not determine their slots budget in advance. As the name implies, the stakes can be incredibly low with penny slots. But don’t let this trick you thinking you don’t have to worry about the amounts of money you spend as the game continues into the night. Keep your mind alert: even if your per-spin wager amounts to a meager 1 cent, your loss can build up quickly in case you hit an unlucky streak.

Your goal is to approach the penny slot gambling in a smart and responsible manner. Penny games shamelessly utilize psychological techniques and tricks. Once you know what they are, it’s easier to avoid falling for them. To make your experience with penny slots as enjoyable and regret-free as possible, adhere to this simple strategy:

  • Create a budget;
  • Determine how long you are going to spend gambling;
  • Determine how much you can comfortably lose;
  • Select the betting amount you put at stake according to your monetary and time limits.

Before starting your gambling session, check out how high or low the theoretical RTP percentage is for the particular game. As mentioned above, at the very lowest, this coefficient is equal to 75%. However, if you visit a reputable, famous casino or play a game developed by a renown company, the penny slots may have a more decent payout coefficient. Sometimes it exceeds 85%. Make a reasonable assumption about its expected efficiency in practice.

What Advice To Ignore Regarding Penny Slots

Across the web, there are plenty of articles providing tips and hints on how to win big and lose little if you’re going to play free penny slots online. Some pieces of advice are indeed worthy of a gambler’s attention; others are pure nonsense.


Examples of bad advice you may have encountered:


  • “Winning? Up your wagers! Losing? Cut it down!” This piece of advice is false and not to adhere. Each time the gambler makes the reels spin, it occurs as a completely independent event that has no relation with or correlation to what was the result of the previous spin. Whether you win or lose – neither has any effect on the outcome of the following spin. This means, increasing or cutting down the wagered amount matters naught either.
  • “Avoid cold machines. Play on hot ones.” Unfortunately, this is a common penny slot machine myth distributed by gamblers who do not quite understand the principles on which such a device operates. The machines cannot be ‘hot’ or ‘cold’; it’s no more than a superstition. Per their nature, people always strive to find patterns in any sequence of events, including spins of the reels. Every gambler should know that with penny slots, patterns may exist only in retrospect, because they are always determined by mere chance.


The best pieces of advice a pro penny slot gambler can give to a novice are related to the practical aspects of gambling, as well as time and budget management tips. It’s extremely reasonable to make a beforehand decision regarding the amount you’re planning to lose during the upcoming session. If it’s not psychologically comfortable for you to plan your losses ahead of time, you may denote this as the payment for the fun and entertainment the slots give you.


Those who regularly play free penny slots online know it’s a highly entertaining activity. However, your expectations about how much it costs may be unrealistic. A penny slot is well capable of draining your funds, if you don’t take precautions. Take your time to read up on the mathematical rules and realities on which such games are based, and then every penny you wager will bring you only fun and joy, with no subsequent regrets.