19 Aug

# How a Slots Gamble Feature Works

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 incorrect pick.

#### 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 the winnings.

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.