Bankroll Management For Online Slots Players
By: Mark Wadie
Published On: 25th January 2024
If you plan to play online slots regularly then you need to understand the principles of bankroll management. They will give you a better chance of success and ensure that you always play responsibly. In this article we explain why bankroll management is important and outline the components that you can use to make up your own strategy.
This article is part of a series of guides for slots players to help you play safe and have fun at all times. Find out more here.
The Objectives of Bankroll Management
Bankroll management for casino players is not just about managing risk, though that is a big part of it. There are other reasons to take this side of the experience seriously. Here are four principal objectives for you to think about when figuring out your approach.
Managing Financial Risk – the main objective is to ensure that you don’t spend more than you can afford to. Setting a budget over a specified time period whilst capping bets and losses will help to ensure that you don’t spend too much.
Increasing your winnings – when done well, bankroll management can increase your chances of finishing with a positive balance. Playing sensible stakes, choosing games with suitable odds and withdrawing part of your payout when you hit a winning streak are all part of the game.
Improving Decision Making – by providing a financial framework bankroll management ensures you make sound decisions at all times, avoiding irrational behaviour and emotionally-driven bets. It makes you a more strategic and calculated gambler.
Having Fun – bankroll management is about empowerment. It means you stay in control of the experience and know when to continue and when to withdraw. That makes it more fun and may extend your play time as you choose sensible stakes and pace yourself over your session.
Strategy for Bankroll Management
Each person’s strategy for bankroll management will be different depending on their budget, their attitude to risk, and the games they play. But the key components that go into setting a strategy remain the same.
Set a budget
The most important part of bankroll management is deciding on your budget. This should be a sensible portion of your disposable income after all bills and essentials are paid for. Most people choose to set a monthly budget as that timeframe fits with their regular income and outgoings.
Remember that gambling is a form of entertainment and can never be relied as a source of income. The best approach should be to assume that you are going to lose it all (though hopefully you won't!)
Divide your bankroll
Once you have decided how much you can afford to spend each month, divide it into smaller amounts to spend over a day or a week. That will stop you from burning through a month’s budget in 1 day and wrestling with the decision to put more in.
Avoid chasing losses
It is the temptation of every gambler who has ever lost money to want to bet more to recoup what’s gone. Ultimately this is a very dangerous game and can lead to bigger losses and losing your bankroll more quickly.
This is an area of bankroll management that not everyone follows but it’s another useful tool to help manage your budget. Bet sizing means setting a max bet that is a percentage of your overall budget. Typically, this will be between 1% and 5% of your total. If you have £100 to bet on slots today, you might choose to only bet £1 per spin.
You should keep in mind the RTP of the games you play – normally 96% on slots – to understand how long your balance might last at your chosen stake level. For example, starting with a £100 balance, if you bet £1 per spin at a 96% RTP, you would get 2,501 spins from a game before your balance ran out.
Set win and loss limits
As well as setting a budget and stake limits, it’s also a good idea to set limits on how much you win or lose over a day, week or month. This is a good way to stop yourself from spending your winnings before you can enjoy them, or chasing your losses when you are down.
Choose suitable games
This is an important decision for slots players and comes down in part to the kind of gambling you enjoy. Amongst other things, slots are categorised by their volatility (variance) levels. Low variance games have a more even win distribution, typically paying out small amounts on a regular basis. High variance games have a very uneven win distribution and are likely to pay out less frequently but in larger amounts. They are inherently more risky.
If you want to make your balance last then low variance games are more suitable and they are better for bankroll management. But this won’t suit everyone. If you choose to play more risky games then you need to factor that into your decisions around budget and stake limits.
And whilst for slots players there is no strategy that can improve your chances of winning – these are fixed odds games, remember – that does not mean that it's not important to understand the game you play. When approaching a new slot, you should familiarise yourself with the gameplay before spending real cash. This can be done by playing in demo or fun mode.
Play for entertainment
Always remember that gambling is for entertainment. Slots are great fun to play with 1,000s to choose from with all kind of themes, features and payouts. So enjoy them as they are meant to be enjoyed and accept losses as part of the game.
It is always recommended as part of bankroll management that you take breaks and avoid long sessions when gambling. This is particularly true after a big win or a losing streak. It helps you to maintain perspective and avoid the pitfalls of raising your bets beyond your limits and chasing losses or hoping to capitalise on your payouts.
Use responsible gambling tools
Under UK regulations online slot sites are required to provide responsible gambling tools in every account. These enable the player to set their chosen limits for deposits, losses and wagers. You can also use these to set the time frame for alerts that remind you how long you have been playing for.
Keeping a record of your deposits, spend and losses every day is also a useful way to keep on top of your bankroll and avoid periods of excessive betting. By recording the numbers in a spreadsheet or on a piece of paper it makes them real and stops you from losing track of what you are spending.
Bankroll management is essential for anyone who plays at online casinos every day, week or month. It is not about guaranteeing success – there is no way to do that with gambling – but it will minimise financial risks and keep you playing safely, responsibly and within your means. The notes in this article are a starting point to help you build your own bankroll management strategy according to your own budget and playing habits. You can pick and choose which to use and even add more yourself, but whatever you do, always remember to stay disciplined and stick to your plan.
Mark Wadie is senior editor at All Slot Sites. He sets the tone for the website, writing much of the content as well as commissioning features, guides and reviews from other experienced journalists.