Learning the slots rules can make you a mechanically proficient player, but to derive continued enjoyment you have to wager in a responsible manner. For this you have to be aware that over time losses are imminent. Therefore you have to master strategic issues of managing your bankroll and setting wagering limits.
Managing your Bankroll
The first and most crucial activity that anyone who wagers on a regular basis has to do is to decide on his bankroll amount. The objective of this is to ensure that the player does not wager more than he can afford to.
One way to go about this is to take your monthly income as a base. Deduct from that the expenses that you have to meet for food, home, clothes, children's education and others. Also set aside savings for annual expenses and provision for emergencies. A part of what is left should be fixed as your monthly bankroll. This amount becomes sacrosanct. You cannot wager more this amount at any cost.
Next you have to estimate how many days in a month you are likely to wager. You have to make sure that you do not impinge on your working time or time for family and socializing. You can divide the monthly bankroll by the number of days to get a daily bankroll. If you want to wager for slightly longer hours on holidays, you can adjust for that.
Next you should estimate your session time and the number of slots spins you can get in that time. New players can play for free at any online casino and get this information from the game statistics or gaming history. This should give you an idea of how much you can wager per spin. Always enable the maximum number of paylines and choose the line bet so that the total bet falls in your chosen range.
Understanding Payout Percentages
Average payout percentage is a term commonly used in relation to an online casino game. Across all casino games, excluding sucker bets, the average payout percentage would generally lie between 94% and 99.5%. An average payout percent of 97% would mean that if you start with a bankroll of $100 then at the end of a reasonably long period of wagering you can expect a depletion of $3 in your bankroll and be left with $97.
In casino games like roulette and craps the average payout percent can be mathematically calculated, but this is not possible in online slots. The parameters required for carrying out this calculation are not known and in any event the calculation would be extremely complex. Therefore the slots player has to depend on reported payout percent figures that are based on what is actually achieved in real or test sessions.
Some slots developers report the payout percent for individual slot games based on the pre-release tests. However, based on audit reports of actual performance the average payout percent across all slots games is found to be around 95%. The crux of the matter is that slots players can expect to lose 5% of their bankroll over a month or a year, depending on how frequently they gamble.
Being a Smarter Player
Understanding the slots rules can make you a proficient player but to become a smarter player you have to ensure that you are gambling responsibly. You have to realize that in the long term you will lose about 5% of your bankroll and you have to be comfortable psychologically and financially with that. You have to be able to afford this loss and treat is as you would treat the price of a ticket for a sporting event. You have spent money but have enjoyed yourself. Smarter players are ready with contingency plans in case they find that they are spending too much time and money on slots gambling.
Understanding that over time regardless of big wins or not losses are imminent
Online casinos have to cover their costs and therefore online slots are devised to ensure that on an average the casinos retain a small percent of the amount wagered. The payout percent is always less than 100%. Players will win from time to time but over longer spans of time they will deplete their bankrolls. There are some players who win millions of dollars in progressive jackpots. But for every such player there are thousands who have lost much more than their expected share. Therefore slots players have to assume that they will lose some money in the long run and plan for it.
Knowing when to Quit
Often quitting the session is the most difficult part. If they have won at the end of the session they are tempted to risk larger amounts. If they have lost heavily then they are tempted to wager more in the hope of recovery. The simple practice should be that when you have wagered the bankroll allotted for that session once through, you should quit. If you win you should save for a rainy day. If you have lost then you should treat it as the price paid for having a good time. If your bankroll for the day is $20, quit when you have wagered $20.
Sources for Help
If a player gets into a habit of wagering more than his set bankroll, then it is the first sign of problem gambling and he should take immediate remedial action. All reputed online casinos offer facilities for such players. Players can set a cap on the maximum bet and also on the amount wagered per week. All players should utilize these facilities. Online casinos also allow players to exclude themselves for a cooling period of a few months. Players who have wagered more than they can afford should opt for this exclusion. For even greater assistance professional responsible gambling agencies should be contacted.
Responsible Gambling Council
Responsible Gambling Council was established in 1983 in Canada. The council delivers awareness programs for problem gambling, devises best practices for responsible gambling and offers treatment to problem gamblers. Responsible Gambling Council operates through treatment centers mostly spread out in Canada and the USA but also in some other countries.
Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline
The Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline provides information about problem gambling services in Ontario and can direct the gambler to a treatment provider. It is funded by the Government of Ontario and offers services round the clock. Its services are confidential and free and are available over the phone, through live chat and using e-mail.
Problem Gambling Australia
In Australia the main source of problem gambling are the pokies or slots machines. The Australian government is implementing an initiative will make it mandatory for gamblers to set their limits before they start wagering. Regular messages on machines will inform players of the risks of gambling, and also their expected hourly rate of expenditure.
GamCare is the problem gambling support organization in the United Kingdom. It offers support over phone and online. It also provides a forum moderated by experts where problem gamblers can discuss their problems. GamCare does not pass judgment on gambling but provides free counseling to those adversely affected by gambling dependency.
Avoid Using the Stop Reels Button to Extend Play
Since all slots games have a house edge, the more the players wager the more the money that will be made by the casinos in the long term. In slots games the reels take some time to come to rest. Slot machine developers usually provide a Stop Reels button, using which players can abort the spinning and stop the reels at once. Using the Stop Reels button each spin takes less time and therefore players can get more spins in a given period of time. This gives them an opportunity to wager more. This is not a healthy gambling practice and as a prudent strategy players should avoid using the Stop Reels button.