Bankroll Management for Slots

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What Stakes and Bankroll Management Tips Will Maximize Your Slots Gaming Experience?

Bankroll Management for Slot PlayersManaging your slots bankroll boils down to the following questions, these tackle the same query from two different ends:

  • What percentage of my money should I play with in any one session?


  • If I have x amount for a slot session, what should my spin amount be?

This page will answer both of these questions. While there are generic slot bankroll management guidelines for both of them, the reality is that there are a lot of different factors which come into play.

These include your personal financial setup, your primary reasons for playing slots, the types of games you play and (an important one) bonuses and comps supplied by your online or live casino.

What I recommend is that you skim the general guidelines to get an idea of the slot money management starting point – and then factor in the personal criteria. If you are honest with yourself, it will be easy to come up with a simple money management format that could last you for many years.

Slot Bankroll Management – General Guidelines / Starting Points

What Percentage per Session: Most of us will not have a strictly separated ‘pot’ set aside for gambling (though this is a smart idea in general). So the starting point for ‘how much of my slots bankroll per session?’ is flexible. The way I look at it is to come up with an amount that you would be prepared to lose if the worst came to the worst over the coming few months. I’ll use a round figure of $1000 to keep the numbers simple.

The range per session should be somewhere between 5% and 10% of your bankroll. If you have a total bankroll of $1000, this means that your maximum spend will be $50 to $100.

Where in the range you place yourself will depend on several things. These include your ability to reload after a bad run, type of slots you enjoy playing and whether you are the kind of player who likes to take a shot at life-changing jackpots. How much you get back from your casino will also factor in (this varies significantly, so make sure you get the best bonus / comps deal).

How Much Should I Spin For? Say you have decided on $50 a session after taking the general guideline and assessing your own needs. If you want to enjoy your slot session, what amount should you spin for on each game?

Bankroll Management For Slots

Once again we have a general guideline, and then a list of factors to take into account. The best starting point is to aim for 100 spins on a particular game. This should be enough to hit a bonus round and see some on-reel features or regular type bigger wins. You might get unlucky and see that money drain away, though 100 spins should be plenty to get some action most of the time.

The factors to account for are more machine specific than to do with you as a player. The RTP (return to player) percentage of a slot shows the long term coinage given back – though the ‘variance’ is a better indicator for the short term. Variance is high when there are fewer wins, only bigger ones (some jackpot slots are good examples). Variance is low when you get frequent wins which are on the smaller side. The adjustments to make are explained in the section below, though the guideline is that you should start with more coins the higher variance the game.

Personal factors also play into the ‘how much to spin for?’ side of slot bankroll management. If you have many hours to fill, then you’ll choose a smaller bet to make the money last. If you like to have a quick session and hopefully a big win, then you might want to bet big (the ‘go large or go home’ school of thought).

Adjusting the General Rules for Your Personal Criteria – Slot Bankroll Management Guide

After starting with the 100 spins or 5% to 10% rule, it is time to start adjusting up and down based on factors which are unique to you and the slot games you prefer. Here are my top 4:

  • Ability to Reload: If you are on a tight budget, then you need to stick closer to the 5% per session rule. If on the other hand you could always spare a little bit more, then even 10% may be too restrictive (though I would not recommend straying too far from this).

  • High or Low Variance Games: If you prefer chasing a jackpot or 250x wins to playing games where you win smaller amounts more often, then you should be stricter with your bankroll management. If you are primarily playing for entertainment and lower variance games are just fine, then 10% of your bankroll in a session should be fine.

  • RTP of the Slot: Some slots take a bigger percentage of your coins than others. This varies between 90% returns (not a great deal) and 97%+ (very good) with most games in the middle. Smaller stakes players often have the worst deal with RTP. If you can find this information and switch to better games, then you can be more flexible overall with your bankroll.

  • What Percentage Comps / Bonuses are you getting: This applies to both live slots and online slots. There is enough competition between casinos that you should be enjoying a bonus / extras every time you play. I have explained this in the section below.

After a quick self-assessment, you should now have a rule (between the 5% and 10% of total bankroll, and between 100 and 200 spins per session to work out your coin size).

Stop-Losses and Slot Bankroll Management

Stop-Losses and Slot Bankroll ManagementA stop loss is a strict amount of losses in a single session after which you will stop playing. You need to be disciplined to consider using this type of rule. If you are not, then you might as well spare yourself the pain of breaking it!

There are times when you are really enjoying a session, and go underneath your usual bankroll allowance for that day. I like the idea of a flexible stop-loss rule for these spots. Something along the lines of allowing another 5% of your roll, though only every 4 times would work. Of course, if you are ‘conservative’ in your approach normally – you’ll have more flexibility. I recommend you are honest with yourself here… if you feel you lack the discipline in general, then stay strict and make sure that any ‘flexible stop-loss rules’ do not work as excuses to keep playing.

The other side of this is how to handle wins. Some players like to bank their stake money and play with the winnings – aiming for a bigger hit. Others set a target (2x or 3x your session stake) and try for that. You’ll need to factor in the variance of slot games you are playing here. High variance games do not work so well with ‘stop-wins’ as your wins will tend to be less frequent, though larger.

Slot Bankroll Management and Casino Comps / Bonuses – Extra Factors to Consider

Many players do not realize just how big a factor bonuses (online) and comps (live casinos) are when it comes to their slots bankroll. These can make a difference that choosing the biggest RTP, lowest variance games or being cautious with your staking can’t make up for!

There are several different types of bonus deals to look out for at online casinos. You will find an in depth overview in this details Slots Bonus Deals page. Below is a summary of the main factors to look out for.

  • Welcome Bonuses: Most casinos offer you a 100% (or more!) matched welcome offer. Compare the play-through requirements and you’ll find those that are quickest to clear.

  • Loyalty Points / Comp Schemes: Earn points while you play that can then be exchanged for more bonuses, free spins or even gifts.

  • Reload Bonuses: If you run out of cash, these extra bonuses come in very handy.

  • Promotions / Specials: The best online casinos offer new deals every week, the worst… well not so much!

  • Free Spins: These can come with your welcome offer, or as one-off promotions. It is always worth reading the small print.

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