If you step foot into any land-based or online casino, you’ll see more slots available than all other games combined. It’s difficult to find even one exception to this rule as far as anything resembling a major casino brand is concerned, and that creates a situations where more people enjoy slots than other games as well.
Along these lines, there are plenty of people making big mistakes at how they go about enjoying online slots, and what we want to do here is break down the common mistakes and show you the best practices available. We hope that these tips and ideas will give you things to think about on your own and put you in a position to get the most from your slot play.
Bankroll Management Guidelines when playing slots
The one thing that the most players could do to improve the quality of their online slots experience is work out some better bankroll management strategies. The big idea behind bankroll management is actually twofold. On one hand, you want to make sure that you’re playing within your means in terms of how much you actually spend playing the games. On the other hand, you want to put yourself in a situation where you don’t go broke early on before you’re able to make another deposit; it’s hard to have fun playing online slots if your account is empty.
The best practices for bankroll management start with your own budget for the rest of your financial life. You should decide on the maximum amount that you’re willing to risk each week or each month and include that as a line item on your budget. Do not count on any winnings to supplement your budget back. Instead, include this as an entertainment expense and let any big winnings that come just be extra money on top of whatever budget you have.
Once you have this line item in place on your budget, then you’ll know exactly how much you can lose each week or month, and you can break things down to the point that you can find the exact range of bet sizes that you can comfortably play with. If you are playing a game with a low volatility, then you’ll want to play with bet sizes in the upper end of this range. However, if you’re playing a game with a high volatility, then you’ll choose bets from the lower end. Adjusting to volatility like this with your bankroll management strategy will help you to avoid the impact of big swings.
Maximizing Your RTP Percentage
RTP is a term used in slots that means “return to player,” and it’s represented as a percentage. For example, a slot game with an RTP of 96 percent would return 96 percent of all bets as prizes to players, on average. You can subtract this amount from 100 to get the house advantage for the game as well. There are a number of steps you can take to maximize the RTP of the slots you play, which makes your bankroll last longer and gives you better chances to win over any given session, on average.
Here’s a simple exercise that can increase your RTP percentage over the long run with only about five or ten minutes of prep work. Start by making a list of all of the slots that you play the most often. This can be anywhere from 10 to 20 games or so. Next, go down beside of each one and write down the RTP of each game.
You can find this information in online databases that break down the RTP of every online slot available. Sort your list in order of RTP, and stop playing the games that are on the bottom half of the list in terms of having the lowest RTP rates. This is a simple approach that can cut down the house advantage by a quarter or more.
Stop Wins and Stop Losses
While bankroll management strategies like the ones we mentioned up above generally show you how to choose bet sizes, they don’t really tell you when to stop playing. For this, you need to incorporate stop wins and stop losses into your overall approach to online slots.
A stop loss is an amount that you have decided ahead of time that you can lose before you decide to stop for that session. A good rule of thumb is about 10 percent of your starting bankroll, but some players might want to stretch that to as much as 20 percent depending on their playing habits. The more sessions you’re playing between deposits, the lower you want this percentage to be. This helps you to avoid situations where you lose a much more significant portion of your deposit all at once, which isn’t much fun.
On the opposite side of the fence, we have stop win measures. This is a threshold that you have decided will lead you to cash out in terms of the amount of winnings you have. For example, you may go on a winning streak on a $100 deposit, break an account balance of $20,000, but end up losing most of it back and only taking down a net win of $2,500. A stop win of $10,000, for the sake of example, could have you cash out $9,000 and decide to play with the remaining $1,000. You’ll get to play at higher stakes with chances of winning huge payouts, but you’ll also have guaranteed funds left over from your winning streak that will be fairly impressive.
Practice Safe Casino Selection
Want to know one of the worst feelings in the world? You play your favorite online slots and run up winnings worth several times your initial deposit amount. You decide to cash out in spite of being tempted to keep playing to try to run up your account balance to an even higher total. You then find out that you’re playing with a pretty shady casino when you get endless excuses about why they can’t process your withdrawal, and you eventually end up without ever receiving your winnings.
This is a big part of the reason why you should make sure that you’re playing at licensed, reputable casinos with a good history. Your biggest gambles should come with the games themselves, not from hoping you get paid winnings that are owed to you.
Another reason to play with reputable casino sites is that you can make sure the slots you’re enjoying are authentic. There are a number of bootleg, unauthorized and unlicensed rip-offs of popular online slots out there, and they will have much lower RTP rates that essentially cheat you out of money by misrepresenting what you can expect in terms of payout percentages.
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Pay Attention to Bonus and Promotion Terms and Conditions
A big place where a lot of players lose value is in not paying close attention to the terms and conditions of different promotions and slot bonuses that they claim. For example, there are some bonuses that will not allow you to play certain games, even if they’re online slots. On the other hand, there are others with such large wagering requirements that it’s extremely difficult to clear them. The end result is that you aren’t able to exercise the level of bankroll management that you want.
The most important trap that you should avoid falling into is a situation where you actually lose money by taking advantage of a bonus offer. This is something that can happen when the bonus is relatively small compared to the wagering requirements and those requirements are high compared to the amount of bonus that you’re actually getting. When that happens, you’ll actually spend more on average in losses than what you gain in the total amount of the bonus.
The best practices for slots bonuses include knowing exactly how much you stand to gain from a bonus and how much you’ll lose, on average, while clearing the play-through requirements. Having this information in hand allows you to make smart decisions about which promotions to take advantage of and which to pass up on.
Bringing It All Together
If you follow the best practices and pay attention to the common mistakes that we have discussed here, then you’ll find yourself in a position of getting the most out of your slot sessions. This is what we mean by playing slots the right way because it puts you in as much control as possible by maximizing your chances of winning and stopping as many sources of lost value as possible.