Money Management When Playing Online Slots

In the 100-odd years since Charles Fey of San Francisco, California invented the world’s first mechanical slot machine, The Liberty Bell, the premise of slot games has remained largely unchanged, although they are available of multiple platforms, including online.

In other words then just as now, you feed a slot machine with coins or credits and spin the reels which spin and stop randomly. If you land a winning combination or activate a winning feature, your balance will be credited as per the winning combo highlighted in the game’s paytable and you can cashout your winnings whenever you choose.

The sheer simplicity and entertainment value of Mr. Fay’s invention swept it into the 21st century and made it more popular than ever around the world thanks to virtual or online casinos. In fact, slots are the most popular game category in online casinos with literally hundreds of different games from a host of top developers to choose from.

  • (Follow this link if you want to learn how slots actually work. You’ll read about how slots are programmed, what is Random Number Generator (RNG) software, their volatility, RTPs and even common slot myths and why you should avoid paying them any mind).

Of course, as fun as playing slots can be, they can prove costly if you don’t manage your playing funds properly. Smart money management when playing slots is the key to your long-term success with this novel type of casino game, which has the potential to line your pockets nicely or leave you high and dry.

What is Meant by Money Management?

Effective money management is the ability to manage your money so that you can get the most out of it when you play online slot games for real money. The thing you need to bear in mind about slots – land-based or online – is that most let you change your coin and bet size to suit your particular budget.

This means you may play a game where you can spin the reels for as little as 25c or as much as $250 a spin. As you can see there’s a huge difference between these amounts. While the first is aimed at players with a limited budget, the second is aimed at ‘high rollers,’ i.e. big money players, and there are many bet sizes in between.

So here’s where money management comes in. Let’s assume the player with the smaller budget has $200 in playing funds for that session or day, they would be very prudent to play slots on a smaller bet to ensure their funds go further. The sum of 25c goes into $200 a total of 800 times so the player could enjoy at least 800 spins before their funds ran out (before you took their winnings into account), which is a good ‘pay to play’ yield.

High-Rollers Have Fewer Money Management Rules

For the high-roller there are fewer money management rules because anyone who can afford to bet $250 per reel spin clearly has no financial issues. (And if they do, they can also make use of the money management methods highlighted below).

Consider, however, if the ‘$200 budget’ player logged on to an online casino on their computer or smart phone and chose a slot game with a maximum bet per spin of $50. That would give them as few as four spins (if none of the spins yielded a win) before their funds were finished in less than a minute.

Plus, the chances of winning a worthwhile amount in just four reel spins is unlikely – although not impossible, which is where luck comes into the equation. Unfortunately, the mathematical casino game odds typically trump luck, which casinos are all too aware of and players too often aren’t.

Every Reel Spin is 100% Random

But what about luck? Well, due to the very nature of slots, being 100% random every spin of the reels has the potential to deliver a winning and thus paying combination. However, you don’t need to be a mathematician to figure out that you’re much more likely to rack up more wins with 800 spins than just four – unless you’re lucky. 

Remember that casinos want players to bet high or as long as possible because they know that even when they win most are more likely to continue playing. In other words they’re much more likely to play all of their winnings back in an effort to win even bigger pay-outs (gamblers are notoriously greedy) or to try and recoup earlier losses.

Either way casinos are happy because they know that most players will logoff from their online sessions without winnings to show for their efforts, and many others are likely to make this a pattern. Fortunately, proper money management can break this pattern and give players a better chance of winning more frequently and consistently.

Important Money Management Methods

Here are some of the most important money management methods you should have in place before you gamble online and continue to follow while gambling online:

  • Only play with what you can afford – The golden rule of successful online slots money management is never play with money you can’t afford to lose. Only ever play with funds that are disposable i.e. money earmarked for your entertainment that you can afford to lose. In that way you’ll never develop a gambling problem.
  • Set financial limits – Always set strict daily / per session limits and stick to them. If you only use funds you’ve set aside you don’t have to worry about spending more than you can afford. There will days where your funds are low and you’re tempted to make an extra deposit. Don’t do it. Be strong and end your session. Tomorrow is another day.
  • Stop while you’re ahead – The old saying ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’ can also be applied to gambling. When you’ve accrued some winnings from a particularly good session, don’t be tempted to play it all back in a quest to win even bigger winnings because this is a fool’s errand. Stop while you’re ahead so have something to show for your efforts.
  • Play slots with the highest RTP – Short for return to player, RTP is a percentage assigned to most online slots. It is the percentage of every currency unit (like a dollar, pound or euro) paid out as winnings on average over time. For example, a slot with a 97% RTP means 97c of every dollar played on it is paid as winnings. So choose slots with the highest RTP (anything above 97% is highly worthwhile).

In Short

The long and tall of it is that although online slots money management can and will never alter your chances of winning or your levels of skill, it can save you money in the long run through smart and prudent play and best online gambling practices.