21 Nov

RTPs Mean Nothing when we Don’t Learn to Stop

Why a 95% slot RTP can still eat your entire casino bankroll.

Why a 95% Slot RTP can still eat your Entire Casino BankrollI’ve spent the last few years trying to advise online gamblers in making wise decisions. Sure, I could say the easiest way not to lose is not to gamble at all, but what’s the fun in that? Gambling is supposed to be fun, right? So, my goal is to give the best advice I can to those who are going to hit up the land-based or online casinos, encouraging a good time, without breaking your budget.

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When it comes to slot machines, I have, time and again, lauded the value of playing games with the highest theoretical return to player, or RTP. Slots aren’t generally known for having high RTPs, especially in the terrestrial realm. But online, it’s not uncommon to find them with payout ratios of 95-97%.

I know very well that many of you have taken similar advice, only to walk away with nothing left in your bankroll. If a slot machine pays 95% RTP, and you have $100 to spend, why is it that you tend to run out of money?

Shouldn’t you be left with $95?

Well, RTPs are theoretical, which I’ve also stated time and again. But that’s not usually the reason so many players lose more than the theoretical $5 loss per $100. It’s usually because players aren’t paying attention to how much they’re actually wagering. You can easily blow through $100 in slots wagers in a matter of minutes. If you really want to keep that 95% in your pocket, you’d have to make yourself stop playing within 5-10 minutes—as soon as you place $100 in wagers. And we all know how hard it is to do that.

What’s happening is you’re running through that $100, with the machine (theoretically) returning $95. Then you’re running through the $95, returning $90.25. Then again with that, returning about $85.74, and then again, returning around $81.45. The return continues to decrease in short intervals, until eventually…

Your entire casino bankroll runs dry!

Not knowing when to stop – that is one problem. Playing entirely too fast is the other. Both are errors the majority of casino gamblers commit on every trip to the slots or table games.

Speed is the bigger of the two problems. No one is content to play for a few minutes and leave. Having that $95 left in our pocket isn’t going to feel like a win. It feels like a loss of $5, with no real entertainment value to show for it. It’s more like a waste of time and money than anything else. The trick is to make your gambling dollars last as long as possible, and that means taking your time on the machines.

When you sit down at a game, look over the pay table first. Know what symbols are involved, and if there are any special symbols to look for. What features can you trigger, what does it take to trigger them, and what happens when you do? Not only does the inspection take a little extra time, you’ll actually know what you’re playing for. And that means you’ll take the time to look for it with each spin.

Too many players don’t bother to learn the rules. They just insert money and press spin repeatedly until something good happens. Unfortunately, taking that simplified route is the fastest way to fly through an entire casino bankroll.

If you can manage to walk away with any of you bankroll left, and still feel like you’ve gotten your money’s worth in entertainment value, you should consider it a win at the casino.

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