Unlike blackjack and poker where gamblers can increase their odds of winning with a proper strategy, slots are games of pure chance and one of the most important things a slots player can learn is good bankroll management. It is the only skill that would enable them to avoid losing their money and, sometimes, even end up at a profit. This may not be the most ambitious goal when starting to play but it is the most reasonable one when we realize that slots are, after all, a negative expectation game.
Bankroll management typically has many aspects, including determining a set budget, setting up some limits on the loss and win amount, etc. Many gambling experts online would also argue that discipline is crucial unless players want to lose all their money. Controlling your emotions, however, does not always work when gambling online, especially when playing slots. The reason for this is simple, yet not so obvious – slots are popular among casino players for their entertainment value, not their favorable rules or good odds, and it is the emotional response every slots fan is eager to experience when playing them. The sooner players understand that, the better.
Still, good bankroll management skills could help slots players make their money last and make the most of even the smallest budget. This article explains in short why bankroll management is so important when playing online slots. It also outlines the few most crucial steps in developing money management skills – what to do and what to avoid when playing slot games.
Bankroll and Game Sessions
The first thing players need to know is what a gambling bankroll is. This is money specifically intended for wagering on casino games, whether that would be slots, blackjack, or roulette. The bankroll should not include funds one would spend for food, rent, bills, or for living expenses, in general. There are also a few more basic questions players should ask themselves before entering a casino - what percentage of their entire bankroll should they spend per game session and how much they should bet on each spin based on their fixed budget.
How to Get the Most of a Game Session
Following the aforementioned bankroll management tips would be effective but there are other important things casino patrons need to consider before starting to play slots for real money. To make the most of any game session, they should take into account several factors that would be unique to them and the game they choose to play.
Online Slots Dos and Don'ts
1Consider Slots as a Form of Entertainment
As we have established in the beginning, slots are a negative expectation game, in which players will sooner or later lose. This is why it is important for slots players to view this type of game as a form of entertainment rather than expect to make some huge profits from it. Unlike skill games such as poker or blackjack, slots are based on chance and probabilities, so no strategy can increase your odds of winning. So, the best you can do is manage your bankroll carefully while having fun at your favorite online slots.
2Don’t Use Credit and Debit Cards for Gambling
When setting up a fixed bankroll for playing slots, players should set aside a specific amount of money and use only it in the casino. Many players would often make the mistake of using a credit or a debit card when visiting an online casino. This way they will have instant access to their bank account balance or worse, to their credit card, which would allow them to gamble with borrowed funds.
Rather than having a virtual slot bankroll that is not physically separated from the rest of your money, you may try setting aside a specific amount of money and placing it in a different bank card or an e-wallet. This will be a completely separate source of money that will help you avoid overspending in the casino.
3Gamble Only Money You Can Afford to Lose
No bankroll management plan can guarantee that you will end your game session at a profit. This applies to all casino games but is especially true for slots where the outcome of each spin is completely random and independent of the past or future spins. Although they cannot be predicted or avoided, losing streaks can always occur and deplete the entire bankroll. That’s why players should gamble only money they can afford to lose.
4Don’t Look for “Loose” Slot Games
Patrons in land-based casinos would usually search for the so-called “loose” machines – games that tend to pay out more often. To determine whether a slot is loose or not, they would observe other players or try out different machines themselves. In online casinos, however, they have easy access to the paytables and the RTP percentages of the games, and sometimes, casinos even display the variance.
Players do not need to bet real money on a game to see all this information – instead, they can open their chosen slots in fun play mode and see how the games perform. If they prefer playing a loose slot, they simply need to look out for a low to a medium-variance game with a relatively high RTP and a good variety of special symbols, free spins, and other special features.
5Adjust Your Bet Size Properly
Another important step in bankroll management is adjusting the bet according to the personal gambling budget and the type of game. Determining a proper basic betting unit is crucial but players also need to consider the type of slot they are playing. Certain games, for example, offer a higher RTP percentage if played at the maximum bet level. Such games include slots with progressive jackpots, where the jackpot is unlocked only when betting the maximum number of coins.
Players should know that the size of their bet depends on several things – the number of paylines they choose to activate, the number of coins they bet on each line, and the coin denomination. The best strategy is to activate the maximum lines in order to have more chances to win but keep the size of the coins at the minimum. When it comes to the number of coins risked per line, players should bet as many as they can afford based on their bankroll.
Let’s take a 25-line video slot where players can bet up to 10 coins on each payline, while the possible coin denominations range from $0.01 to $2.00. Those who are on a tight budget should start by activating all 25 lines and sticking to the minimum coin size. If they choose to play with 10 coins on each line, they will need to bet $2.50 on each spin, which is quite high considering they have a session bankroll of $50 or even less. That’s why they can start with betting 2 coins of $0.01 on all 25 lines – this would cost them only $0.50. If they play with only 1 coin, they will spend $0.25 on each spin
6Don’t Expect to Improve Your Odds
One of the most common myths about playing slots is that you can somehow improve your odds of winning by incorporating bankroll management tactics or use progressive betting systems into your play. In reality, slots odds that depend on a range of factors such as the number of reels and rows, the number of symbols that can appear on each reel, the number of paylines, or sometimes, the size of the bet.
Much of this information remains hidden and players simply cannot calculate the odds of winning or losing. In contrast, it is relatively easy to calculate how likely it is to win or lose with each type of bet when playing games such as roulette or craps. So, even the best money management tips cannot help you improve the odds.
7Take Advantage of Online Bonuses
As mentioned above, online casinos offer many different bonuses and loyalty programs to their patrons. Usually, the sign-up bonuses are particularly good since casinos compete against each other to attract new players. Free spins and no-deposit bonuses are also quite attractive although they usually feature tough requirements and conditions that are hard to meet. There are, on the other hand, bonuses with no wagering requirements, no maximum cashout, and no restrictions.
8Don’t Claim All Bonuses You Can Find
In fact, the majority of online casino bonuses seem very appealing but are, in fact, very restrictive and feature conditions that are almost impossible to meet. The reason for this is very simple – their purpose is not to give players some free cash to play with but to make players as much as possible on the casino website. They may be great for trying out new games but the winnings from them can rarely be withdrawn.
That’s why players should try looking for bonuses with favorable rules and take advantage of only the best offers. Rather than claiming all the bonuses they can find, it would be better if they get such special offers only occasionally.