High Limit Slots
High limit slots are slot machines which require relatively large bets in order to play. They have multiple advantages over low limit slots. For example, higher limit games offer a higher payout percentage (in general) than lower limit games. They also usually have their own exclusive section in the casino where you can play. The perks available to high rollers are also better than those offered to low rollers.
How to Choose a Denomination
One of the first choices you’ll make at any casino is what denomination you want to play. A little bit of knowledge, wisdom, and math will help make that decision a lot easier.
Generally speaking, the payout percentage increases along with the denomination. This makes sense. Imagine if you owned a casino. You’re trying to maximize how much money you make per square foot. The penny slots take up just as much space as the $25 slots. How do you make sure that you get lots of money from both machines? You increase your average winnings on the lower limit machine by setting the payout percentage lower.
You should NEVER play above the limits your comfortable with just to try to maximize your payout percentage. In practical terms, you want to minimize your losses while maximizing the amount of fun you have. If you only have a $500 budget for your gambling trip, and you’re playing a $25 per spin slot machine, you’ll lose your entire gambling bankroll faster than you think. And where’s the fun in that?
Most slots players make 600 bets per hour. So if you want to estimate how much money you’ll lose at a given denomination, you can figure it out through simple multiplication and guesswork.
The maximum house edge on slots in Nevada is 25%, so you can assume that in a worst case scenario, you’ll lose 25% of each wager you put through the machine. So you just multiple it: 600 bets/hours X $25 per bet X 25%. That means you can expect to lose $3750 per hour at those stakes. Of course, if you’re playing a game with a better payout percentage (and let’s hope you are, because that 75% is the kind of payout percentage you’ll see at a restaurant or in a bar somewhere), you’ll see a dramatically lower average hourly loss. It’s a safe bet that you’re playing a game with at least a 90% payout percentage, which means you’ll only lose 10% of what you put through the machine. That’s only $1500 per hour.
If you’re a low roller like me, you could play penny slots with an 75% payout percentage and still lose a lot less money on average on an hourly basis. 600 spins per hour X $0.01/bet X 25% is an average loss of only $1.50. I can gamble for a long time if I’m only losing $1.50 per hour, but at the same time, I’m going to be bored out of my mind.
The trick is to find a denomination somewhere in between. You want to play for stakes that are high enough to keep the game interesting, but at the same time, you don’t want to lose more money than you can afford.
In John Vorhaus’s book Poker Night: Winning at Home, at the Casino, and Beyond, he describes a concept he calls your “gulp limit”. You use your gulp limit to determine the size of your gambling bankroll. It should be an amount large enough that if you lost it, you’d gulp.
Once you’ve decided on the size of your gambling bankroll, you can back out those numbers versus how much time playing you want to spend on your casino trip.
For example, suppose you’re going to Vegas for the weekend. You’re only spending two days there, but you want to spend four hours each day playing slots. You want to have fun, but you don’t want to destroy your finances, either.
You need enough money to play for eight hours without going broke. If you’re playing the penny slots we discussed earlier, then you’ll be fine with $10 or $20. On the other hand, if you’re playing the $25 per spin machines, you should be okay with losing $12,000 over the weekend. Here are some suggested bankrolls and slot machine limits for that scenario:
- Penny Slots - $10 or $20
- Nickel Slots - $50 or $100
- Quarter Slots - $250 or $500
- Dollar Slots - $1000 or $2000
- Five Dollar Slots - $5000 to $10,000
Those are just rough guidelines, and the goal isn’t to lose that amount of money. The goal is to just determine how to get the maximum amount of fun given the size of your gambling bankroll for the trip.
High Limit Games Online
Most Internet casinos have lower betting limits than you’ll find at land-based casinos, but there’s a secret that a lot of online gambling sites don’t mention in public. Their customer service department can sometimes up the limits for specific players. It depends upon which casino you’re patronizing and what software they use; not all casinos can accommodate online high rollers. But it’s worth asking for a casino host if you want to play for higher stakes per spin.
Of course, some games have reasonably high betting limits anyway. When you consider that some games allow you to wager on multiple paylines, the dollar amounts can become very high quite rapidly. For example, you might find a five dollar game, but you can bet on 9 lines at a time, which means you’re wagering $45 a spin. That’s a good amount of action, and it’s certainly not the highest limit game on the Internet, either.
In fact, online casinos often offer even higher payback percentages than land-based casinos. The cost involved in running an Internet based casino is dramatically lower than that of running a land-based casino. Internet casinos offer other advantages to high limit slots players, too, such as convenience and privacy.