Money management at slots
By Frank Scoblete
Many casino players believe that there are ways to manage one’s money to prevent the casino from having an edge on them. This is a totally wrong assumption. If the casino has an edge at a game, which it does at just about all games, no money management system is going to take that edge away.
With the far-away exceptions of some mostly long-ago banking machines, the house edge on slot machines exists and is often the biggest of house edges in the casinos, running upwards of 10 percent or more. Such an edge in slot terms means a payback percentage of 90. Many machines actually dip all the way to the mid 80 percent payback. That’s a lot.
In the long run—which is not such a long time— the house edge on slot machines will grind even the most careful money manager of money management down. It is inevitable; you can call it slot destiny.
However, money management if used correctly can limit one’s long-term expected losses. And that is important. Coupled with proper playing strategy good money management systems can go a long way in keeping the house edge at bay, as in you won’t get too hammered if things turn against you at any given time.
From what I can see Mildred Demento’s money management system seems to reﬂect the majority of slot players’ systems. “I bring four hundred dollars to the casino and play until I run out of money or get so tired I can’t keep my eyes open.”
In short, Mildred’s certain amount of money usually allows her to play all day long and maybe most of the night at quarter slots and she admitted that with few exceptions she usually loses most of or every penny she put aside for her slot play.
Obviously in light of reason Miss Demento’s money management system puts her money into a bankroll crisis, except the government will not be there to bail her out as it does for really big banks. My belief is that her system is truly one based on her last name.
Tommy James Monroe (T.J. Monroe) has a diﬀerent money management system, one he calls “going for more with more.” This system sees Tommy playing larger denomination machines which “I like because the payouts are greater when they come and if I am lucky I deﬁnitely make more money at higher payback machines. Higher denominations have better payback, everyone knows that. I also always play full coin [credit].”
He is right about a higher payback percentage. Generally quarter machines will pay about 90 percent return while ﬁve-dollar machines will be somewhere around 94 percent. Keep in mind that my percentages are merely guesses since there are so many venues and so many slot machines across the land that making such a statement is, as stated, something of a guessing game. I am also going to use the standard three coins/credits as our measuring stick for full coin.
Given 10 hours of play on a ﬁve-dollar machine using full coin or credit per decision versus 10 hours of play on a quarter machine, in such time given 10 spins per minute per decision, the ﬁve-dollar machine will see $90,000 passed through it, while the quarter machine will see $4,500 passed through it.
Now, given a 94 percent return on the ﬁve-dollar machine, the player’s expectation is to lose $5,400. At 90 percent for three quarters over 10 hours, the player’s expectation is to lose $450. That is some big diﬀerence.
Certainly, a ﬁve-dollar player may not get the adrenaline kick from playing quarters, I’ll grant you that. And a quarter player might get a heart attack playing a ﬁve-dollar machine. Still, considering money is a real tangible item maybe a ﬁve-dollar player should train him or herself to get kicks from fewer credits played at a lower denomination. (I’ll take that up next issue.)
You will note that how someone plays is a big determiner of what one experiences over time. Should a player just go all in and play and play and play with no concern for losses until the inevitable collapse from fatigue, bankroll destruction or (happily) a big fat (or small) win? Or should one have a way of handling one’s bankroll so that total destruction cannot happen when playing?
Ida Whitaker has a system which is darn good. “I do not play all day long. I give myself four or ﬁve hours split up over two or maybe three sessions. Every time I win a decision, I take one third of that win and put it aside. So I know with the ﬁrst win I get to take home one third of that money. In a four or ﬁve hour period I will have plenty of wins and I will take home one third of all those wins. It is a given at the end of my playing day that I will have money to take home with me. I also play in a leisurely fashion. Anyway, it works for me.”
Her idea of play is sound and if she can really stick to her four or ﬁve hour stints per day, she has found a way to play that is reasonable.
(Next issue my take on saving money with good money management.)
Frank Scoblete’s latest books are I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack; I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps! and Confessions of a Wayward Catholic! Available from Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores. Visit Frank’s new website at www.frankscoblete.com.