This is exactly how I do it. I limit myself to '1 quarter'. If I do crappy then oh well I am done. Can get through the first level on smashtv and depending sometimes halfway into the second. Pacman 1 or 2 sometimes 3 levels (I really suck at pacman ). My wife can get about 13-15 in ms pacman. Some of the games there is no way you are not going to get very far without a stack of quarters (I am looking at you Terminator 2).
These machines are not meant to be super played. They are designed to make money. That means giving that feedback of 'oh ALMOST' to tweak your brain. They are merciless. If you feel like it is too hard many games have some settings to ease up on the difficulty. But make no mistake they are designed to be difficult but entertaining while they take your money. So when you run out someone else is watching going 'hey I think I can do that' and they drop a quarter too and the cycle continues.
The people who owned them looked to the 'take'. If the machine was not bringing in cash they got rid of them.