How to use a slot’s RTP to your advantage and beat the casino

It seems like a no-brainer: the higher a slot’s Return to Player percentage, the better it is for you, the player.


While it is correct to assume that a higher RTP benefits the player, it immediately raises another question.

What exactly does it benefit?

Why should you, as the savvy slots player you are, always check the RTP of a slot before you start playing for real money? And how can you earn money by looking for the best-paying online slots?

It’s quite simple. You need to calculate the Expected Value (EV) of a bonus, taking into account the slot’s RTP.

When the EV is positive, you will, on average be able to earn money from a casino bonus. If the EV is negative, you should skip the bonus. Choosing which slot you play bonus money on, has a huge impact on what a bonus is worth in Expected Value.

Sounds complicated? In this guide, we will show you how you can use a slot’s RTP to your advantage.

What benefits come with a higher slot RTP?

Although we hate to be a Debbie-Downer, there is no getting around to it: every casino game has a built-in house edge.

In the long run, you will always lose when playing these casino games.

A higher Return to Player will just mean that it will take longer for you to lose your money.

Prolonged playing times will mean you get to play more spins, increasing your chances of hitting a big win.

In other words, you will benefit by getting more bang for your buck.

This is great in itself; you should always see gambling as a form of entertainment, never as a way to make money.

If you are playing a fixed number of spins, a higher RTP will also mean you will have more money at the end of your session.

For example, say you were to do one thousand spins with a total stake of 1 euro per round.

You would do these 1,000 spins on two slots: the first (slot machine 1) has a Return to Player of 94.7%, and the second (slot machine 2) comes with an RTP of 96.5%.

If we take factors like variance or luck out of the equation, these 1,000 spins on each slot will lead to the following results:

  • On slot machine 1 (RTP 94.7%), the end result is $/€ 947.
  • On slot machine 2 (RTP 96.5%): the end result is $/€ 965.

The difference between the slot with the highest RTP and the lowest RTP equals $/€ 965 – $/€ 947 = $/€18.

By choosing a different machine, you have ended up with $/€18 more.

Or lost $/€18 less. However, you want to look at it.

Using welcome bonuses and slot RTPs to gain a real edge over online casinos

In the previous paragraph, we have learned that a slot’s Return to Player can positively influence your playing time and chances of winning.

And if you are playing a fixed number of spins, a higher RTP will ensure you lose less, on average.

However, there are other ways to use a slot’s RTP to your advantage.

A slot’s RTP can be used to, under strict conditions, earn money from casino welcome bonuses.

Although you may not get rich from this method, welcome bonuses are a great way to beat the online casino at their own game.

Before we tell you how to utilize a slot’s Return to Player to gain an edge over online casinos, we have to get a few things straight.

  • A slot’s RTP is calculated over millions if not billions of spins.
  • You cannot predict when a slot machine is due to the Random Number Generator, which ensures each spin is independent and random.
  • The Return to Player is an average percentage where factors such as variance have been evened out over time.
  • Our method is a great tool to determine if a welcome bonus is “worth it”.
  • Due to said variance (or luck, as people tend to call it), there is no guarantee every casino bonus will end up positive.

To calculate if a casino welcome bonus is worth taking, there are a few things we need to know:

  • What is the % of the bonus that you will receive?
  • What is the wagering requirement?
  • What is the RTP of the slot that you will play?

Many people tend to focus on looking for bonuses with a low wagering requirement, but that is only part of the solution.


How to calculate a casino welcome bonus’ actual worth

To illustrate how the method works, let’s do two examples.

Example 1:

  • We will deposit 100 euros and receive a 100% bonus of 100 euros, for a total starting balance of 200 euros.
  • The wagering requirement is 35 x the bonus.
  • We will be playing Starburst at an RTP of 96.1%.

We will play the slot at a stake of $/€ 1 per spin, meaning we would have to do 3,500 spins to complete the wagering.

As the RTP is 96.1%, the house edge is 3.9%. In other words, on every spin, we would lose $/€ 0.039.

When we have played through 3,500 spins, we have lost $/€ 3,500 x 3.9% = $/€ 136.50.

Your total balance after the playthrough requirements is $/€ 200 -/- $/€ 136.50 = $/€64.50.

As you deposited $/€ 100 and ended up with $/€64.50, your total loss is $/€36.50.

That doesn’t sound too great, does it?

Example 2:

Let’s pick another slot with a higher RTP.

Instead of Starburst, we will go for Quickspin’s classic slot Big Bad Wolf.

This slot comes with an RTP of 97.34%.

The rest of the bonus details remain unchanged.

  • We will deposit 100 euros and receive a 100% bonus of 100 euros, for a starting balance of 200 euros.
  • The wagering requirement is 35 times the bonus.
  • We will be playing Big Bad Wolf at an RTP of 97.34%.

As the RTP is 97.34%, the house edge is 2.66%. In other words, on every spin, we would have a theoretical loss of $/€ 0.0266.

When we have played through 3,500 spins, we have theoretically lost $/€ 3,500 x 2.66% = $/€ 93.10.

When we subtract this loss from the starting balance, we get an end balance of $/€ 200 -/- $/€ 93.10 = $/€ 106.90.

As you deposited $/€ 100 and ended up with $/€106.90, your total win is $/€6.90.

You have gone from a significant loss (a negative EV) to a modest win (a positive EV) by choosing a slot with a higher RTP.

How cool is that?

And the great thing is you can calculate the net worth of every casino bonus just by following these simple steps.

  1. Determine the total wagering amount;
  2. Find a slot with a high RTP;
  3. Calculate the theoretical loss;
  4. Subtract the theoretical loss from your starting balance to determine your end balance;
  5. Subtract the end balance from your deposit to determine a win or a loss.
  6. If there is a win, the Expected Value is positive. If there is a loss, the Expected Value is negative.

What are the break-even points?

To help you determine if a welcome bonus will, on average, give you a net win, we have calculated the break-even points.

These break-even points have a direct correlation with the wagering requirements.

To make a net profit from the bonus, you need to find a slot with an RTP that is higher than the break-even number.

The lower the wagering requirement, the lower the break-even Return to Player:

  • Wagering of 25 x bonus: 96%
  • Wagering of 30 x bonus: 96.69%
  • Wagering of 35 x bonus: 97.15%
  • Wagering of 40 x bonus: 97.50%

Please be advised that online casinos hate losing money.

Most casinos have excluded specific high-RTP slots from playing with bonus money to prevent them from losing money on their welcome bonuses.

Before you decide to take a welcome bonus, always check if the slot you want to play with is not on the excluded list by checking the bonus rules.

Start turning your Welcome Bonus into real money

With all the knowledge you have now acquired from this article, you know which steps to take to determine if a welcome bonus has a positive Expected Value.

Here are some great choices.

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