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Playing Slots Professionally

For many, an end to the 9-to-5 drudgery and spending your time doing what you love is the ultimate dream.

Ditching the office for the casino might sound like heaven, but does it stack up, and could anyone realistically become a professional slots player?

From handling bankrolls, swings and the monotony, hopefully we will show you the life of a career gambler isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Is it a Career You Want?

Let's say it right now: playing slots for a long session is monotonous, soul-destroying, and boring. You could also end up in the red after a 12-hour session.

For some professional poker players, that's the reality of the daily grind. They can employ optimum playing strategy, calculate the odds all day, yet still come out a loser before bedtime.

Though slots is more about pure gambling than poker, the same problems apply. It can be lonely, the hours might be irregular, and for a minority, addiction is a possibility.

Professional Slots: The +EV Choice

A few years ago, a Reddit user claiming to be a professional slots player took to the Q&A site to field questions about his chosen career.

"Like in poker and stock trading, a person can calculate variables and deduce whether or not something is worth investing time and money in," he boasted.

The player was very clear about picking only the "beatable" slots he found around the casinos of the US. He also highlighted his targeting of free spins and progressive jackpots on selected slots.

What professional slots over the long-term boils down to is a focus on +EV (Expected Value); that is, hunting out good-value spots to gamble in in order to improve your long-term profits.

For jackpot-hunters, that means calculating progressive jackpots that increase for the lowest amount of buy-in possible (progressives are made up of percentages of each coin bet paid) and taking the shots.

On a more basic level, a quick scan of the paytable is essential. Look for RTPs (theoretical Return to Player percentages) which show how much a slot pays out in the long term for every $100 wagered.

Handling the Variance

As with professional poker players, making a living is also about handling the downswings; those times when you're on such a losing streak you're in danger of going bust and working out where the rent is going to come from.

Finding the right slots is the first job of a pro, but making sure your bankroll isn't going to disappear is the next.

Bonus-hunters might get $500 in the hole before they hit a jackpot worth $800. Unless you employ sensible bankroll management you're going to end up in the same hole. From there, it's all about dropping down stakes, building up a roll, and having enough money to take on the big jackpots.

Remember that all slots are created differently; some are low-variance, which dish out plenty of small regular wins, while others are high-variance games - slots that suck up a lot of money but can pay out a rare massive jackpot. Of course, you could get lucky and hit a jackpot early on. From there you can bank your winnings and continue employing sensible bankroll management with the remainder.

Taking the Big Jackpots

While expensive, hitting the big progressive jackpots is the best way to make serious money. Progressives are made up of small portions of coin bets on specific slots, and most progressive jackpots can only be won if you're wagering the maximum coin.

The slot machine doesn't care if the jackpot is high or low, and just because it's been climbing for weeks and hasn't been won it doesn't mean it will be cracked soon.

However, big jackpots attract more bets, and the higher the jackpot the more value your bet theoretically has.

Volume and Bonus-Hunting

Although slots are weighted in the house's favour, there are still ways to make your money go further.

Utilise the online casino lobby and load up three or four low-variance slots at once; that way you can clear a decent volume play within a shorter time span and increase your profits.

The best thing you can do, however, is shop around. There's so much competition at the best online casinos, like the ones reviewed at VegasSlots.co.uk, that canny gamblers can open multiple accounts and ride the bonus wave.

Sign up for a variety of welcome bonuses that give you free cash for playing enough slots, and take advantage of free spins offers when you join up.

If you're playing professionally, look out for leaderboard challenges that reward a share of cash for slots players who rack up enough play or hit missions in a set time period.

From welcome bonuses to loyalty schemes and refer-a-friend bonuses, there's a range of methods to exploit the casinos' generosity. Turning pro might be for only the bravest slots players, but by being savvy you can get the casinos to help you every last bit.

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