This is arguably one of the most important disciplines that someone can have when playing on slot machines and it is not too far a stretch to imagine that only the very serious gamblers know how to do this, also known as veterans of the industry.

While this could have been built up through experience, having an idea of when to gamble, how much to stake and on what kind of combination, can stand a player in good stead, especially if they are playing the long game.

Although there might be, in the grand scheme of things, a great deal of difference between someone who is visiting somewhere like Las Vegas and a regular gambler, the likelihood is that, they still focus on having some form of fiscal responsibility.

Bankroll Management when playing slots

 

Where to start with bankroll management with your slot experience

Knowing exactly where to begin and whether there is any kind of formula that you should use, is no doubt a question that many a beginner asks themselves when it comes to controlling their own bankroll, however, there are definitely steps that you can follow which will help to aid you in the best possible way and hopefully preserve some of your capital for longer.

Percentage per session: While the vast majority will not necessarily have a seperate pot put aside for wagering (even though this could be a smart action to take), the best way to come up with an answer to this is to ask yourself how much you can afford to lose. This amount though, will no doubt differ based on how long you are planning to gamble for, in terms of days, weeks or months.

Also, it is important to bear in mind the amount of sessions you are planning on having, again, whether this is in terms of per day, week or month and as a result of this, you should then decide what percentage of your total bankroll you are willing to use for each session.

Understanding what your range is and where to place yourself when it comes to bankroll management is vital and this really depends on a number of highly important factors which relate to your gameplay.

This includes your ability to reload after a bad run (losing streak), the type of slots that you enjoy playing (by extension, whether these have high or low volatility, therefore affecting payout frequency) and whether as well as how often that you choose to try your luck with the big jackpots.

One of the biggest decisions, is knowing how much money to spin for and how many spins you make on each slot as well and whether or not to use the ‘max bet’ and this has a number of benefits and drawbacks.

The ideal tactic is to aim for at least 100 spins on each slot game, because this should be enough to land at least a couple of bonus rounds as well as being able to see some on-reel features or regular type bigger wins. Obviously, there are no guarantees because anything can happen, however, 100 spins is considered a decent amount to give yourself a fair enough chance of achieving a number of the possible outcomes that are available most of the time.

There are of course, a number of technical factors to take into account, which have more to do with the machine than the player.

The RTP (Return To Player) percentage of the slot refers to the long term coinage that is given back to the player and each slot varies on their percentage level of this.

When experimenting with the number of spins that you have decided to make per session, for example, in your first session you have decided to make 100, it is then worth some trial and error, making adjustments in order to get a better understanding, based on a number of different key variables.

Ability to reload: Should your budget be quite limited, it means that you will then need to be relatively conservative and use a small portion of your entire bankroll that you had set aside. If however, you have more of a generous bankroll, then it might be worth upping the percentage of how much of it you use, though don’t become reckless in just one session.

Slots which have high or low volatility: This should definitely have some bearing on your decision making process. If you are looking to win big (high volatility slots) and are willing to exercise your patience, using a higher percentage of your bankroll is a good idea, though you must be disciplined about where you draw a line. Due to the higher payout frequency with low volatility slots, using a lower percentage of your bankroll will do just fine, as you stand more of a chance of supplementing your overall stake with winnings in the form of low payouts.

Slots that have different RTP percentages: There are slots which take a higher percentage of your stake than others, so it is always worth looking into this before you start playing. This percentage varies between 90 percent and 97 percent, with the majority of slots generally hovering around the 93-94 percent mark.

 

Imposing a Stop Loss Action to bankroll management

The term ‘stop loss’ actually originates from the world of financial trading (actually called a ‘stop loss order’ or SLO) and refers to the fact that traders and trading institutions can impose a limit to the amount that they are comfortable losing on the price gains or losses (dependent on whether they have traded long or short) of a stock option. This means that the trading position will shut down once it has hit the amount in terms of losses that has been imposed.

This can also be applied to playing slots, though it is a little bit more in your control, because it is manual. The key for this to work is by having strict discipline, because this is a self imposed action and if you are going to break it, then there is no point in having it.

One potential exception to this rule, is if you have been on a winning streak so are effectively ‘up’, but then slide into a losing streak, which even though you may have lost more than your self imposed stop loss, you may only be breaking even overall.

Where stop losses may be hard to implement is on slots with higher volatility, because this essentially is more of a long game, so invariably, you are more than likely going to lose a considerable amount up front. In this case, your stop loss limit might be higher, though, it is always worth still being disciplined and having the judgement to know when it isn’t going to be your day.

 

Bonuses and how they can affect bankroll management when playing slots

When it comes to bankroll management, the majority of players (novices and beginners in particular), do not factor in the availability of bonuses and especially welcome bonuses if playing online.

These can make a significant difference to your initial RTP rate, because of the fact that you have free credit essentially which you will not have factored into your bankroll management. It is even potentially possible to plan your whole strategy based on bonuses and anticipated rewards, however, do not bank solely on these.

Welcome bonuses: The vast majority of casinos will offer you at least a 100 percent (some even 200 percent) matched welcome offer, based on your initial deposit, however, there will more than likely be terms and conditions in place which stipulate that you have to make a minimum deposit – usually anywhere between £5 and £20 depending on the casino.

Loyalty reward points: These can come in extremely useful to your long term bankroll, because as you play, you are able to earn points, which can be exchanged later on when you hit a certain point level. These can then usually be exchanged for bonuses or free spins, that can substantially make a difference to your bankroll.

Reload bonuses: These can be very timely indeed, especially if you are near the limit of your session’s bankroll and could do with a boost. It could occur at any time and your account will immediately be credited with more funds.

Promotional offers: Depending on which casino that you are a part of, you may find that you can secure added extras every so often, such as more credit for a certain slot if you make deposit of ‘x’ amount. These are certainly worth participating in.

Free spins: Whether these come as part of your welcome package or a one off bonus, free spins can be very advantageous. They don’t have any effect whatsoever on your bankroll and you can potentially build up a nice little bonus fund if you win small amounts with at least a proportion of each free spin. Any welcome package which offers 50 free spins (some do), is definitely worth taking up, though it is advisable to do homework on which slots to use them on (some may be limited). Choosing a slot with low volatility stands you a good chance of building up a small pot of incremental winnings, whereas playing a high volatile slot could be a great way of putting yourself into a position to win big, without even parting with any funds.

 

Remember

If you plan on playing slots regularly, it is always worth having a bankroll and then sticking to it, especially if there are limits to your fiscal gambling ability. Discipline is without a doubt, an important factor with gambling and it can be easy to get drawn in, regardless of whether you are on a winning streak or losing streak.

The random number generator (RNG) in slots means that there is an equal, mathematical chance of any outcome occurring – the slot doesn’t have any memory of what happened last, so even if you won on your last spin, it does not mean that you will lose on your next.

Overall, judgement is key and never spending more than you can afford, otherwise your slot experience may be over before it has even started.

Charles Baxendale (BSc, MSc Mathematics and Computer Science)

Charles Baxendale

(BSc, MSc Mathematics and Computer Science)

A keen researcher in the development of methods and theories for computer sciences. A lover of algorithms and mathematical computation. Consultant to online slots software companies and a player in my spare time.