For many avid gamblers, the prospect of success as a professional gambler is a dream come true. There are a significant number of savvy-minded casino aficionados that have accomplished this grandiose feat.
Casinos worldwide are filled with poker players and advantage players who have unlocked the code to unlocking their favorite casino games as a career. Those rare few that find success in sports betting have the potential to become ultra-wealthy.
Slot machines offer a unique challenge to the would-be professional. Let’s look at why you may want to reconsider playing slots as a career.
What Is a Career as a Slots Player?
The basic premise of playing slot machines for a living is straightforward. Your golden plan is to squeak out enough profit on the one-armed bandits to live.
The old proverb “It takes money to make money” is especially true here. Before you ever embark on your new career path, you’ll obviously need a substantial bankroll.
Players that make a career playing poker or sports betting start with significant bankrolls. Still, they only put 1-3% of their money into play at any given moment.
For slot players, this is significantly more tricky. For starters, the volatility of slots can vary greatly from machine to machine.
You’ll have to make a crucial decision on what games to play and which jackpots to chase. Then you’ll be relying on a massive run of good luck.
I don’t need to tell you that slot machines have some of the highest house edges on the casino floor. You’ll need to carefully pick your spots, or you may be back to the office in short order.
So, the challenges for slot players looking to start a career in the casino are tremendous. There are also outside factors that must be considered before handing your resignation letter to HR and throwing up deuces.
One thing many people fail to consider in their dreaming phase of becoming professional gamblers is their proximity to the casinos.
There’s a large swath of middle America that isn’t positioned for a daily grind in the casinos. However, as many states begin to legalize online casinos, this could change in the near future.
Still, a successful career as a slots player will likely require some sort of relocation. In order to make enough profits to stay afloat, you’ll need to be near the best slots payouts.
Let’s just hope they don’t require proof of income.
Regardless of the financial burden, the move could come with, there may be more important factors to examine.
You’ll possibly be moving away from friends or family. This can strain adults, but the impact on any children may be much more significant.
It would be best if you carefully weigh all of the potential impacts a cross-country move could have on your family. Even if you’re a complete loner without any family or friends, being in a new city can be a different adventure than you planned for.
Anytime you plan a career change, it’s essential to account for any and all responsibilities you have. This includes your financial obligations but also covers much more ground than you may think.
I’ll start with your finances. You’ll need to be making a livable wage playing slot machines for real money. Otherwise, you’re just an unemployed gambler that’s on the road to becoming destitute.
So, you’ll need to factor in your monthly bills. I’ve posted an example below.
- Rent: $1100 (Modest 3-bedroom in Las Vegas)
- Car and Insurance: $650
- Cell Phone: $90
- Cable and Internet: $150
- Electric: $250 (Assuming you can stand it being a little warm)
- Groceries: $550
- Incidentals/Fun Money: $300
This rough estimate covers many of your regular expenses and indeed leaves a few things out. Still, that’s over $3,000 per month in bills and expenses on a very modest budget.
So, on the low end, you’ll need to make roughly $100 per day just to survive. I’ve played just enough slots to understand how difficult that may be.
What about other essential variables?
You’re going to have to give up things like health insurance, your 401k, and paid time off when you ditch the office job.
To compensate for these perks immediately vanishing and covering them yourself, you need to look at making a $5,000 per month profit to maintain a healthy lifestyle with the above budget.
This should certainly give you pause for concern, which brings us to our next point.
Do You Possess the Necessary Mental Fortitude?
It’s a legitimate question and maybe impossible to answer without diving in headfirst. However, there are some things you can look at to help you make a decision.
Casino gambling is built for entertainment. In many ways, building a career as a professional slots player is tantamount to making a living by attending concerts.
The major difference being that Bruce Springsteen isn’t going to give you an opportunity to win your admission back.
The casino will give you back some of your money on occasion. The best slot machines in Las Vegas will still have a house edge of over 2%.
This means that, on average, the best paying slots will keep 2% of every dollar you play over a reasonable time. How can you ever expect to make a profit faced with those numbers?
Believe it or not, there may be a navigable path to making a profit on slot machines, but you’ll have to be a complete zen master.
When players are faced with this kind of immense battle, it’s natural for many to fold before they can uncover a winning formula. You’ll most likely see your bankroll slowly siphon for hours during these sessions.
The biggest obstacle may be toeing the line between resolve and stubbornness. When you double down and refuse to walk away in the casino, you’re in for a mess.
Fortunately, there are several potential ways to make steady income playing slot machines.
Different Streams of Income
Most of the few players that play slots for a living focus on the tournaments. This is another reason that Las Vegas is an excellent home base for professional slots players.
Las Vegas has more casinos than anywhere in the United States. You won’t have any trouble finding tournaments 7-days a week.
Many casinos will allow players to gain free entries into tournaments based on the amount they play. This is an unusual way to cut down on the house edge.
Still, even if you’re covering your own entry, there’s money to be made in the tournaments. You’ll be playing for set access and competing against other players rather than the casino.
Anytime you take the house out of the equation, you’ll improve your chances. This is one reason poker players often make a decent living.
However, poker is above all a game of skill, and slot machines are 100% chance. That presents a significant issue to the professional slots player.
Slot machines depend largely on random number generators to produce a result. These RNGs act utterly independent from any agenda; they merely spit out a random spin.
That means you have zero influence on the outcome of a single slot spin. The player with Lady Luck on their side will win, and the others will lose.
Of course, this could make for a life-changing windfall if you’re on the receiving end of the equation.
Slot machines have one pretty massive advantage over other games. I’m referring to the lucrative progressive jackpots.
The massive jackpots that come from the progressive slots can regularly reach into the six-figures. Many of the most prominent slots go well into the millions.
Clearly, winning millions on a single pull of the slots would make your new career a worthwhile endeavor. Unfortunately, you’ve got as good of a chance of hitting the lottery.
A Case for Going Pro
I believe in following your passion. If you desire to make a living as a slot machine pro, I wish you unlimited success.
However, there’s not really a way for you to guarantee a long-term profit from playing slot machines. So, I would encourage you to make the slot machines a part-time gig until you’ve discovered a key to making money.
Perhaps your best next option is to find a career in the casino industry.
Why You Should Probably Reconsider
The fact that there’s no single way for you to regularly make money playing slot machines is going to be the most glaring roadblock for many.
When you factor in all of the financial obligations and responsibilities you have, going pro as a slot machine player is borderline reckless.
Sometimes, hobbies are best reserved for being just that and nothing more.
There are many reasons why you may want to reconsider playing slots as a career. The argument against this move all comes down to the house edge.
You simply can’t overcome the return to the player with comps or raising the stakes. You’ll need to hit a significant jackpot to carry you through the countless losses.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …