Walk into almost any casino on the planet, and you’re sure to see roulette tables and slot machines.
It’s no surprise how often I get asked, “You’re the expert, slots or roulette?”
I will reply 99.9% of the time with a simple, “It depends.” And it does depend on several factors.
Let’s break down the variables and see if you can answer for yourself.
Learning Curve (Can You Ride That Wave?)
If you are a novice casino gambler preparing for a trip, you’re probably hearing a lot of chatter about how you need to take it easy and stick to the large banks of slot machines.
Then there will be the other half of the semi-pro pundits that direct you to the roulette tables. It’s definitely the easiest of the table games to pick up quickly.
Roulette has a bevy of different bets you can make on any given spin. Regardless, the outcome is 100% left to chance.
The skill involved in playing real money roulette is no different than you’ll invoke on a slot machine. The most significant difference is that you’ll be making a decision while playing roulette.
For a beginner casino gambler, a roulette table may seem intimidating. After all, there are a seemingly endless amount of bets you can make.
Slot machines are relatively simple to understand. A potato could roll into Caesar’s Palace and understand how to play a slot machine.
You just insert money, select your pay lines, and spin the reels. It won’t get any easier than that. However, roulette can easily be picked up in a few rounds by most players.
Furthermore, spend a few minutes watching the play at a casino. The watching is free. It’s the playing that could cost you.
Usually, you can find a friendly face at the roulette table to show you the ropes.
Despite roulette’s simplicity, slots come in as the easiest of all casino games to take a seat and pass the hours. If you’re looking to spend your time destressing from the outside world’s troubles or adverse to learning new things, stick to the slots.
The Casino Odds (Are They Against You?)
There’s nothing you can do to improve your payout odds on a slot machine that won’t land you in jail. You spin the reel via pressing a button or pulling a lever, and the results happen.
Most of the time, the payout percentage on a slot machine in a Las Vegas casino will be between 85-94%. Yet, you may see devices as low as 80% or as high as 98%. This RTP (Return to Player) is set before the slot machines ever hit the casino floor.
Slot machines have random number generators to ensure that any given spin results are as unpredictable as possible. There is no way for you to influence these results, short of cheating.
The only real power a player has on the slots is how many pay lines to bet and denomination. It should be evident that activating maximum pay lines will provide the highest RTP.
Unfortunately, playing max bet and max lines has apparent drawbacks. While you will have a theoretical chance of winning more money with this aggressive approach, you’re also opening yourself up to much more significant losses at a more rapid rate.
If you’re going to play slots for real money, I recommend playing max lines 100% of the time.
My best advice for roulette is to stick to even money bets. Remember that even money implies (mostly) equal probability. So, while 500,000 out of 1,000,000 red should come up, it doesn’t guarantee that 170 out of 200 can’t be black.
This has led many gamblers to go broke remarkably fast. I see this truth as the most fatal flaw of so-called betting systems.
In the end, you’ll get better-sustained odds by playing smart roulette.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Roulette is generally offered in three different forms. You’ll fair best playing American, European, or French roulette depending on where you’re doing your casino gaming.
By far, the American and European variations are the most popular. The differences between the two are subtle but may make a significant impact on your bottom line.
For that reason, it’s essential to understand what variation you’re playing. Online casinos have introduced many more roulette variations and could offer three or more types of roulette.
Knowing the rules for each takes time, but better time than money.
Most casinos are going to offer American or European. If you can stick to one of those, you’ll pick up the game much quicker.
Perhaps you quickly lose interest in repetitive games. You may not love roulette. The variety comes in the outcome.
Roulette provides an avenue for you to mix it up with other players as you collectively try to outsmart the house. I certainly wouldn’t advise adding variety to the game in the form of wildly unpredictable bets.
This kind of loose betting will drain your bankroll as rapidly as anything in the casino.
Slot machines offer a unique variety. The advancement of technology, specifically high-resolution video screens, has brought a new era of slot machines.
Slots machine banks in any casino worth their salt will provide a plethora of different slot machines, all with varying levels of bells and whistles.
In the world of slots, there really is something for everyone.
Let’s be real, most people trekking to the casinos are looking to strike it rich. They can’t be bothered by things like math or reality.
These people are going to the casino for one reason, the slots jackpots. You can keep the measly $400 you won over four days at the roulette table.
Jackpot slots are a massive draw at casinos around the world. The reasons should be abundantly clear. Who couldn’t use a year’s salary or more in one fortunate spin?
Some of the more enormous jackpots can be in the millions. You are never going to see that kind of money being tossed around at a roulette table.
Let’s imagine you set your sights on one of the insanely massive progressive jackpots for slots—for example, the Megabucks slots jackpot offered by IGT.
Today, the jackpot sits at over $15.1 million. That is life-changing money. Hitting such an enormous payday would likely change the financial situation for generations of a family.
For only $3, gamblers can fire their shot at over 750 of these machines in 125 different Nevada casinos. Sounds great until you look at the sobering numbers.
Don’t lose hope yet. Many gamblers play with full knowledge that they aren’t going to have Lady Luck on their side.
The entertainment of spending hours daydreaming about allocating their winnings is well worth the $3 investment.
If you are in it for the imagination factor, I am not here to stomp on your dreams. Go wild, and I wish you all the luck you’ll need.
However, if you are looking to make a few dollars to spend on gifts for friends to commemorate your trip to Sin City or just want to spend as much time as possible on the casino floor, I recommend playing roulette and doing so wisely.
Slots or roulette?
It’s a question with no right answer. I enjoy the slow burn of an hour-long session at the roulette table. I’m able to sometimes extend my bankroll for days because the house advantage is so low.
Occasionally, I’m even able to take home some of the casino’s money—possibly the best feeling in Las Vegas.
On the other hand, my mother-in-law has no interest in putting forth much thought in the casino. She would much rather sit at a slot machine and imagine how she’ll spoil her grandkids when she hits a massive jackpot.
Whether you prefer slots or roulette will significantly depend on your unique personality. Don’t let anyone tell you that one is right and the other is wrong.