What’s The Best Use of My Casino Budget?

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Brian using his brain

We get players who ask for advice on what to play and how to play all the time. Here’s an example of a question we recently received, which came through as a comment on the site:

I am going to Las Vegas for 9 days for my birthday. This will be our 6th trip there. We have never bet more than $5 per spin and our budget going there will be around $8000. I think I have been playing all wrong. Mostly penny machines at 1 cent at $5 or less. I would love to get more than our highest hand pay of $1,400, but I also don’t want to break the bank on the first night we are there. Any suggestions on casinos, machines and where to start denomination wise. Any advice would help.

Amy N.

Let’s go through the main buckets one by one, and we’re going to give some universal advice here.

Where to Play

When it comes to Las Vegas, our primary recommendations will always be the two smokefree options: The Brian Christopher Slots at Plaza area downtown, and Park MGM on the strip.

Outside of that, however, our core recommendation is: Play where you want to stay. Ensuring you put some good play into the casino you wish to stay at for the rooms, amenities, etc. can be a helpful investment, since those offers will come rolling in for future visits.

With a nearly $1,000 a day budget, you’ve got a pretty healthy budget to get some offers on the board, so that should be a consideration. Different players have different aspirations – they want good offers, or they want a luxurious stay, or they want to stay at or near a certain location – so that should be your primary consideration.

The same may go if a casino is linked to a home casino in terms of rewards – you may want to pool your Vegas play into a rewards program that not only rewards you in Las Vegas, but back at home, too.

What to Play

Slots are built in different ways to attract different types of players. They all have a house advantage for the casino and tend to be pretty similar in that regard. So we simply recommend finding games you like to play.

There isn’t a “best” game that pays better or anything like that, as that’s not how slots work, and slots can have good runs and bad runs so even our experience may not be your experience. If you see games on Brian Christopher’s channel that interest you and make you want to play them, perhaps start there!

How Much to Play

Let’s start with your total budget. You should make a plan to divide it into daily portions or something that ensures you don’t spend it all too early in the trip. Nine days is a long time and it’s not a bad thing to pace yourself in Sin City.

Do you divide your budget into chunks for longer trips?

Players on Brian Christopher’s YouTube channel agreed in a recent poll; nearly two thirds break their budget down to ensure their money lasts. Only 20 percent roll the dice (we’re gamblers after all) and hope their money will hold out.

As far as the handpay jackpot note, if you want to get a bigger jackpot, bet higher – but that shouldn’t be your goal, really. Handpay jackpots are a flat arbitrary number, and the easiest way to get a bigger one is starting with a bigger bet, but it doesn’t mean you’re doing better on the slots. 

Brian once got a $7,200 jackpot on an 80 cent bet. His biggest jackpot ever was on a $125 bet – one was 9,000x is bet and the other was less than 300x his bet.

If you want to ensure your money lasts awhile, you should pick a bet amount that you can do 300-500 times on your daily budget, since slots are increasingly volatile and you could have a tough run. On your daily budget, you’d be looking at $2-3 a spin to start. You can always increase it if things are going well and you want to push a bit, but that would be a good starting point.

What Denomination to Play

Each machine has different bets at different denoms, so here we say, based on what your bet level is, find your comfort zone. We do know that playing a higher denomination can generally yield a bit of a better payback over the long term. 

So if your $3 bet can be achieved at dime denomination as well as penny denomination, playing some dime denomination bets may not be a bad idea!


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2 Replies to “What’s The Best Use of My Casino Budget?”

  • Diana Chavez Villarreal says:

    I love to gamble but I always have a very low budget. Sometimes I win and sometimes I’m left with nothing. But my winnings are for my next visit to the casino. Love watching you!!

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