Oct 20, 2018

Money Management for Slots Players

author Peter Sommer Proper money management is the cornerstone of a smart slot machine game. It allows you to have the game firmly in your hands and under control, avoiding the common mistakes made by losing players. So let's see what will help us to win, or, conversely, will take them away from us.

If you've been playing slots for a long time, you're familiar with these mistakes:

  • Playing until you lose all your money.
  • You win a big prize and then lose it again.
  • Playing high stakes when you don't have a big enough bankroll to do so.
  • Trying your luck at higher stakes. You want to win more and faster.
  • You lose a set bankroll and borrow more money in the hope of winning it back.
  • You play with money you can't afford to lose.

If you answered "yes" to some or even all of the points on that list, this article is for you. We don't claim to teach you how to win at slots, but you can reduce your potential losses and avoid the trouble that gambling can cause in your personal life by handling your money correctly.

✋ If you are playing too much and don't want to play anymore, read our article How to stop playing slots which may help you.

Only play with money you can afford to lose.

First of all, never go to a casino with money you can't lose. Most slot players don't think about how much money they should take into the game.

What's the worst that can happen? You have one of those nights where you lose almost every game and lose your entire bankroll. It can and does happen too. If losing would bother you, you'd better not even bet. So never gamble with money to pay bills or other essentials and respect the following advice. Divide the bankroll by the number of gaming sessions.

To protect your bankroll from being lost in a single session, you need to divide it by the number of gaming sessions you want to play in the casino. Suppose you take €600 to the casino and you want to play three sessions. It means that you have €200 available in each session. We understand that this can be very difficult for avid players in particular.

How Much Money to Take to the Casino?

The basic idea is to limit your losses to acceptable amounts. At worst, you will lose €200, but you will still have another €400 leftover to try your luck elsewhere.

Determine correctly what bets you are going to play

The average slot player plays about 500 games per hour. So, on average, an hour's play, assuming a 95% return, will cost you:

Cost of the spin Expected hour loss
€5 €125
€10 €250
€20 €500

We can then use the above information to get a rough idea of what slot machine we should play. Our total bankroll is €6000, and we plan to play for 9 hours (three 3-hour sessions). It means that the maximum amount we can afford to lose per hour of play is €667 (€6000 divided by 9 hours). The table above shows that you can play spins for €20, and your bankroll will last you for more than 9 hours of play (we assume a 95% return and 500 games per hour). If your bankroll is €2000 and you only plan to play for 8 hours (maximum loss of 250 per hour), you should play for a maximum of €10 per spin.

Of course, these numbers do not show the real situation but only calculate the slot's set payback, according to which you can calculate the amount of a spin.

💡 Don't know how to find the slot return? Most online slots list Return to Player in the rules or the game information. Always take the time to look up what return the slot offers. It will pay off in the long run.

Set a maximum loss depending on your bankroll

According to the example above, you can lose more than €250 in a single gaming session under no circumstances. This amount is, therefore, your maximum loss. You must therefore be careful and, above all, follow the rules. You must play with discipline and stop playing when you reach the set amount. Take a break, and then you can start the next game session with €250.

Protect your winnings

The worst thing you can do during the game is to put your winnings back into the machine and walk away empty-handed. It would be best if you protect your winnings. After all, it's your money, not the casino's, and you want to walk away with it.

The easiest way to do this is to set winning targets. Here's how it works.

Let's say we go into a session with a €1,000 bankroll. We set a winning target of €300 (30% of your session). If you're lucky and your bankroll reaches €1,300, increase your targets to €1,600. As long as you keep winning, you can also gradually increase your goals. Sooner or later, though, your luck will run out. When this happens, and your bankroll drops below the last winning target you exceeded, it's a clear signal to quit the game and walks away with the winnings.

If you follow the above advice, you will never lose your winnings. But you also never have to limit your winnings to a particular value when you are on a winning streak. As long as you keep winning, you will also increase your winning goals.

Sometimes this strategy leads to low winnings in a short period. Good then. Your goal is to win and walk away. It will be far more enjoyable than playing for a more extended period of time and losing all your money.

Don't forget to withdraw your winnings from the online casino. 

Sometimes it can take up to a few days for the money to reach your account or e-wallet. You will still see it as an active balance (at some online casinos). And if you start playing with it, it will cancel your withdrawal request. The safest thing to do is not to play in the casino at all until you have winnings in your bank account or e-wallet.

Slow down your game

Unfortunately, it doesn't matter what slot you're playing. The house will always win. It means the faster and longer you play, the more you will lose in the long run. Although it seems like trite advice, those who play slowly will lose less.

The table below shows the expected hourly loss for a bet of €10 per spin on a slot machine with an RTP of 95%.

Number spins in one hour Expected hour loss
600 €300
500 €250
400 €200
300 €150
200 €100
100 €50

With some online slots, you can choose how quickly the results appear on the reels when you press the button. Never choose the fastest option here.

A simple way you can slow down the game is by pausing between spins. If you press the spin button fast, you can easily spin 600 times. By slowing the game down, you can get to 400 spins per hour, which will reduce your loss by 33%. At the very least, you'll be able to play longer with the same bankroll.

Online slots offer the feature to start the rounds, where you set the bet automatically, the number of spins, and possibly other attributes (e.g. stopping when a bonus feature is triggered, on a high win, etc.) But these automatic spins are much faster than you. Plus, if you're the one playing, you'll enjoy it more. And that's the point.

An excellent way to play fewer rounds is to take regular breaks. Stop playing for 15 minutes every hour. Again, direct proportionality will apply, where a 15-minute break will save you 25% of the hourly losses.

Keep a Game Log

How is it that most players believe they won more than lost, when all casino games are set up to favour the casino? It's due to so-called selective memory because we are more likely to remember events that we rate as favourable. Simply put, players recognise that they won, but they prefer to forget how much they lost afterwards.

🧠 Selective memory is one of the psychological fallacies associated with gambling. Want to know more? Read our article on the psychology of gambling.

Then it doesn't matter much how you keep a record of your wins and losses. Generally, it would be best to record the difference between the amount you came into the casino with and the amount you left with. All you need is a pencil and paper. An Excel spreadsheet is also helpful. Online casino players have an advantage. It is because the entire player history can be traced here. It includes all deposits, withdrawals and even the results of individual game rounds.

Why should you keep a record? Because players tend to downplay losses, it can happen that you accidentally lose more than you originally wanted to due to a forgotten loss.

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