Slot Machines – When to Play Max Bet

The First 3 reel slot machine
The First 3 reel slot machine

One of the most debated topics regarding slot machines, and video poker, concerns max bet, specifically when should I hit that bet max button. Max Bet or Maximum Bet is the highest amount of coins or credits you can play in a single spin.

Max Bet Slot ButtonsThe answer to the question depends on the machine being played. When it comes to slots, you have to know the machine that you are playing. It’s simple, really, if you know the pay out structure of the machine.  If Max Bet gives you a higher pay out other than just the 2x, 3x, 4x, etc. of the original bet, you bet Max Bet – and if that total bet is too high for your bankroll, move on to another similar machine with a payout that suits your it.

A word of caution – many of the same type of slot machine – can include payoffs of all the kinds listed below.  Your job is to check the machine for what kind it is.  I repeat – READ THE MACHINE.

Here’s the break down of different versions of slot machines that you should, OR should not be betting Max Bet, using different machines to illustrate.


Many slot machines, video and classic reels, pay out a straight multiplier.  In other words, playing $1 will pay the same on all other bets x (times) the number of coins. In other words, if you are playing a game where all of the jackpots are in proportion then it is totally up to you whether you bet max. NETG ADVICE: Playing Max Bet is not necessary.  Play the denomination comfy for you.


Notice the three Payouts.

Notice the three Payouts.

Classic slots are the original version and are still popular today.  Some examples include Double Diamonds, Red, White & Blue, and Blazing 7’s. You might have a game that pays 1,000 for one coin, 2,000 for two coins and 5,000 for the max of three coins. In this case you get an additional 3,000 coins for just one extra coin bet. NETG ADVICE: Play Max Bet or drop down in denomination to be able to play Max according to your bankroll. 

“BUY A PAY” Slot Machines

Three different pays for 1, 2, or 3 coins.
Three different pays for 1, 2, or 3 coins.

There is one type of classic slots that require max bet. These games are known as “buy a pay.” Quite simply they have two or three different pay tables. Each coin activates an additional pay table. Mostly Classic reals have this variation, like Red, White & Blue. If you play less than max bet you cannot win any of the top prizes even if you hit the right symbols. NETG ADVICE: Play Max Bet or drop down in denomination to be able to play Max according to your bankroll. 


Wheel of Fortune Slot
There is one type of slot machine that makes playing max bet an absolute must – games with a progressive jackpot. Almost all progressives require that you bet the maximum number of coins to qualify for the top jackpot. If you play less than max you cannot win the top jackpot. Probably, the most famous brand from IGT is “Wheel of Fortune.” NETG doesn’t recommend playing progressives unless you intend to play max. You are much better off going for a non progressive slot. This is because you can hit the top winning combo and in some cases get nothing because you are a few coins short, or just a fraction of the main progressive jackpot.  NETG ADVICE: Play Max Bet, period.    

Quick Hit Slot Machine
Quick Hit Slot Machine

Some progressive slots, like the many versions of “Quick Hit” slots, come in many size max bets, from $1.50 to $5.00 on a penny machine.  Again, read the machine – play to your bankroll.


Hot Shot Slots. 5 Progressive slots within the slot machine, but must play max bet to get access to progressive Jackpots.

On bonus game slots,  like “Hot Shot,” you will be required to play max to win the jackpot and in some cases, like say “Cashman,” you will not have to. NETG ADVICE: Before playing any bonus game slot be sure to read the pay table to find out if max bet is required.Mr. Cashman Slot Machine


Some slot machines increase either the type or number of important bonus or wild symbols.  For example, some of Ainsworth Gaming’s slots give a better chance for matching bonus symbols for the free game bonus.  The more coins played, the more matching bonus/progressive symbols appear.  NETG ADVICE: Playing Max Bet is not necessary.  Play the denomination comfy for you.

FINAL NOTE – whatever the slot machine, always play maximum lines, whether it be 1, 3, 5……or 50.  Different from Max Bet, it optimizes your play by covering all possibilities at whatever number of coins you decide to play.

I hope this has been helpful.  The bottom line is you can’t blindly play any old slot machine.  Some machines, such as “Gazellions” by Aristocrat, continues to add the number of possible free games until hit.  If the high number of games are on the top two of four screens, playing only $.50 to get the super bonus might be your best play.Slot

Bottom Line – Read the machine’s Pay Table and Bonus features, and know if not betting MAX is going to diminish your payouts by not being eligible for the jackpot, or bonus payouts.

Hope this was helpful.