A complete diagnostic of every slot machines gamble feature
If you’ve played slot machines for any length of time, you’ve surely
come across what’s colloquially known as the “gamble feature”.
Today, we’re going to take an in-depth look at this special feature,
how it works, whether it’s fair, and why you should or shouldn’t take
advantage of it.
What Is a Slot Machines Gamble Feature?
The easiest way to explain it is to call it by another name –
double or nothing. Let’s say your friend wants to bet $1 on the flip
of a coin. You agree. He flips, you call “Heads”, and it’s heads.
He now owes you a dollar. Or, he might say, “Double or nothing?”
You can either take your $1 and walk away, or you can accept the
double or nothing wager. Acceptance means you’re wagering the $1 you
already won. So you’ll either double your winnings to $2, or get
nothing – i.e. double or nothing. This is exactly what a slots
gambler feature entails.
Every time you win an amount of money greater than the amount you
wagered to spin the reels, you are given the opportunity to gamble
those winnings. The only exception is if the amount won is
excessively high, such as a jackpot prize. You are also restricted to
a certain number of consecutive gamble wins, usually limited to 4x or
5x at most.
What Happens When Taking the Gamble?
Almost every gamble feature is based on a card game. There are a few
ways in which it could play out.
High or Low
This form of gamble will display two cards, one face up, one face
down. The player must choose whether the unseen card will be higher
or lower than the card that’s showing. This game gives the advantage
to the house because a tie will result in a loss, the same as an
Pick the Higher Card
This has one face-up card and four face-down cards. The player’s job
is to pick one of the four unseen cards. The chosen card must be
higher than the face-up card. Again, a tie will lose, but this game
is more fair for the player for two reasons; 1) if the face-up card
is a 6 or below, the player’s odds are 50% or better to choose a
higher card, and 2) the player can decline the gamble feature after
seeing the face-up card (i.e. if the shown card is a King, the player
can back out of the gamble without risking anything).
Red or Black / Pick the Suit
This gamble feature gives the player a choice of two games to play. Red or Black can be played for 2x the winnings (double
or nothing), while Pick the Suit can be played for 4x
Red or Black is an entirely fair game because it has true 50/50 odds.
One card is dealt face down. The player will pick red or black. If
the card is heart or diamond, red wins. If it is club or spade, black
wins. It’s that simple.
Pick the Suit requires the player to select the exact suit of the
face-down card. Again, the odds are fair because there’s a 25% chance
of it being any suit, and a 4x payout for a correct response.
Is It Worth the Gamble?
As you probably noticed, I spoke of the fairness of each game above
while describing it. Pick the Higher Card is the best game of all for
players, due to the fact that you can back out after seeing the
dealer’s card. Red or Black and Pick the Suit are the only slot
machine scenarios in which 100% fair odds are provided (50/50 chance
to win or lose).
As for whether it’s a good idea to take the gamble on a fair game,
that’s entirely up to the player. Even these fair odds can be a bad
deal over time. The more you gamble, the more likely the casino is to
win. And all it takes is one win for the casino to wipe you out.
Perhaps the better question is this – How greedy will you get? Pick
the Higher Card is an awfully tempting game, but get too greedy and
you’re back to square one.
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Adalene Lucas: is our jack of all trades here at DBC. She is a skilled coder, gambler, writer and webmaster. She lives in Manitoba where she enjoys the lush landscapes and camping near Tulabi Falls. Nature gives her inspiration to write. When she's not immersed in nature, her favorite words are "game theory". She lives with her husband and their two Labradors, Kophy and Whisper.