Slot Machines and Bankroll – The House Edge

The dreaded House Advantage, or House Edge, keeps the house (casino) alive. These days, entertainment, luxurious restaurants, and non-gambling amenities also help the money flow from your pocket to the house’s pocket. At the end of the day, it’s your bankroll, or what’s left of it, that often is the scale of success. How much money do you need to help beat the house on slot machines? Let’s take a closer look at Slot Machines and Bankroll.

“What Is Expected Value or “EV?”

Expected value is a predicted value of a variable, calculated as the sum of all possible values each multiplied by the probability of its occurrence.

In other words, In betting, the expected value (EV) is the measure of what a bettor can expect to win or lose per bet placed on the same odds time and time again. A positive expected value (+EV) implies profit over time, while a negative value (-EV) implies a loss over time. All bettors should aim to identify betting value with every bet they make.

Any Bet Is A Single Event in Time

It’s important to realize that any bet is a single event. Previous or future events do not depend on that event. There are very few exceptions to this. If anything, this is one of the most important guidelines to understand about casino gambling.

Human beings are wired to look for patterns to predict the future. Casinos understand that all too well. The big sign at the roulette table telling you the history of the past ten or so numbers and colors is proof of that. This sign is meaningless. Remember, any bet is a single event.

What Should My Bankroll Be?Slot Machines and Bankroll

In the long term, the casino wins. However, anything can happen in the short play. So, a short play usually means a short stay without the correct bankroll. A short stay also usually means fewer comps.

Related Posts: Comps and Your Daily Theoretical

Brace yourself for the following suggestion.

  • If you want to spend about 3 hours playing slots, your bankroll should be 200X or 300X the size of your average bet.
  • Most recreational players bring 10X. If you’re playing $1 slots with a 3-coin max bet, you’re betting $3 per spin. So you should have between $600 and $900 to play with for that session. But, of course, with a $30 bankroll, you won’t be playing long at all. 
  • Playing slots with an average wager between $.88 and $1.20?…….$200 to $300 hundred is a good start. 
  • The bankroll differs with the denomination of the machine. Penny or nickel slots should stick with the 200X to 300X bet for your bankroll.
  • If you play quarter slots or dollar slots, you might only need 150X to 200X your average bet size.
  • And for the serious slot player, five-dollar slots or higher 50X to 100X the size of your average bet will work.

Slot Machines and Progressive Jackpots

We all want to find that magic slot machine. You know, the kind that wins and wins. Slot players usually push the button to win and have fun doing it. Easier said than done on both.

The fact is, you need to know the slot machine you’re playing. The simpler the game, the better the odds – at that denomination. The more bells and wishes, the higher the house edge.

Progressive jackpots on slot machines usually lower the payout percentage. Of course, this doesn’t mean casino slot players must avoid progressive jackpots. But there is one truth that every slot player knows – progressive jackpots are elusive and payout less, depending on the type of progressive jackpot. So, playing the game is no harm if your expectations are realistic.

Three Kinds of Progressive Slot Machine Jackpots

Progressive jackpots have three types – Stand Alone Progressive, In-House or Proprietary Progressive, and Wide Area Progressive.

Quick Hit Slot Machine with progressives listed.
Quick Hit Slot Machine with stand-alone progressives listed.
  1. The Stand-Alone Progressive machine is a slot machine that is not linked or connected to other slot machines. Usually, these slot machines’ payback is equal to other slot machines of that type of denomination.
  2. The In-House or Proprietary Progressive machines are a group of machines that are linked together. The casino owns and operates these machines—usually with a lower payout percentage with higher jackpots.
  3. The Wide Area Progressive machines include life-changing progressive jackpots. These machines are linked to other casinos. However, the casino only gets a share of a percentage of the winnings. The progressive jackpot is massive, and the chance of getting it is tiny. Enjoy playing these, but the time spent does not increase your chance of winning the big jackpot. Remember, any bet is a single event.
Slot Machines and Bankroll
The old favorite wide-area progressive

A smart thing to do for slot players is to set aside a specific percentage of the slot bankroll for progressive jackpots. Never spend your whole slot bankroll in them. It will increase your road to ruin exponentially.

Other Tips

  • Usually, the higher the denomination, the better the odds. But in some jurisdictions, such as New England, the difference between a penny and $1 could be a minuscule 1-2%. 
  • Casinos love celebrity or themed slots, and so do players. However, leasing these games is expensive and is usually short-lived. Celebrity slots are an example of this. So, who do you think pays part of the bill with a lower payout percentage, huh?
  • Always use your player’s card. Remember, earning reward points helps diminish the high EV on slots. When not using your card is a benefit, they are based on your need for anonymity, not anything to do with the card’s influence on the machine.

Final Word On Slot Machines and Bankroll

Keep in mind this is to play for approximately 3 hours. But the most important rule for any gambler is Only to gamble with money you can afford to lose.

That’s all for now.


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