What to Play in A Casino When You Have Limited Funds

Going to the casino is fun. But not quite as fun when you don't have a lot of money to play with. Nobody likes going to the casino and running out of money in 15 minutes. When your bankroll is low, you need games that will allow you to play for a while on what you have.

Most people don't know about or understand the key thing to playing longer with your money. The key term is volatility. You need games with low volatility to have a fighting chance to play longer. A good definition of volatility is "liability to change rapidly and unpredictably, especially for the worse."

So, a high volatility game will generally have more of a higher top end win, but also longer dry spells. A lower volatility game will not have the huge jackpots available, but will have more frequent low end payments.

As with any gambling, things don't always go as they should. You can lose quickly on games you shouldn't and you can win big on games that rarely pay out at a high level. The following games will generally allow you to play longer on your money than others not listed.

Slot Machines

Slot machines are the toughest games in the casino to know their volatility. Slot machine companies don't publish their volatility or win frequency to the public. They do provide this information to the casino itself, with what they call a PAR sheet, but PAR sheets very rarely ever make it out to the public. This is a copy of a portion of a PAR Sheet from a 3 reel Jackpot Party slot machine, just to give you an example of what some of the information is that is given to a casino.

So without this kind of information at your disposal, how do you figure out which games might have lower volatility so you can make your money last longer? The highest possible payout on a machine is a pretty good indication. Any machine that has a progressive has to get that money from somewhere. That somewhere is from lower end payouts usually. Even if a machine doesn't have a progressive jackpot, if it offers a huge regular jackpot, you probably want to stay away from it.

Your best bet is to look for machines with maximum jackpot payouts of 4,000 - 10,000 credits, with the lower being the better for you. These lower jackpots will allow the machine to have more smaller and medium sized pays, letting you play longer on your money in most cases.

Table Games

Table games have much more information available than slot machines. Game inventors have much less of an issue having players with some knowledge of the game, statistics and even how to play it correctly. Many casinos even allow small optimal play charts at the table while you are playing. Mathematicians can also easy decipher and breakdown the odds of table games fairly easy and many do this in their spare time as a challenge or just to help fellow players out.

There are many table games available with low hold percentages and low volatility. With table game inventors coming up with new games every month, many good games are only found in limited or even only a couple of casinos. The list of games below are low volatility games that you will find in many if not most casinos. These are the games you should play if trying to extend your playing time is your goal.

Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is probably the least volatile game you will find in any casino, anywhere you go. Pai Gow Poker is a poker based game played against the dealer. The main game is an even money payout game, with no large payouts offered unless you play one of the optional side bets.

If you just play the main game of Pai Gow Poker and no side bets you can easily stretch your money twice or three times as long as if you played slots. This is a fantastic game to learn if you want to play a game that is social, slower, has low volatility and nothing you do can affect any of the other players at the table. Play just the main bet with no side bets to give yourself the best opportunity of a lengthy session.


Baccarat should be your second choice if low volatility is the name of the game. Baccarat is a very simple card game of who can get closest to 9 between the player and dealer using two or more cards. There are only three outcomes. The player wins, the dealer wins or there is a tie. There is no strategy to Baccarat, as all the rules of when the player and house stays on their total or draws another card are fixed.

If your budget is limited you will most likely have to play this game during off hours at a casino. Because of the low house edge and volatility, the minimum bet is usually much higher than all other table games. $100 would not be an uncommon minimum at many casinos, especially on the Las Vegas Strip. If you can find a game with lower limits, this is a great choice for longer play.


Unlike the previous two games, there is no doubt you will find blackjack games at any casino that has table games. Blackjack is the most popular table game in the world. Blackjack is the third lowest volatility game you will find in a casino and can be made even a little less volatile with one little trick.

Before we get to the trick, there is one condition to this game being a good game to extend your play time. You must know basic blackjack strategy, or when you should hit, stand, double, etc. Playing this game poorly will cost you dearly in the long run. Basic strategy is not terrible hard to learn, but you will need to learn it to help yourself stay on the table.

Now for the trick. At most casinos they will allow you to play two hands of blackjack with a couple of rules. One, the hands have to be next to each other. There can't be someone else playing in between the two hands. Second, each hand must be at least two times whatever the minimum bet is at the table. So if the table minimum is $5, you would have to play $10 on each of the two spots when playing two hands.

Now, you won't have any better or worse chance of winning in the long run playing two hands over one hand, but you will reduce your volatility and extend your play time in most cases. Even at just one hand, blackjack is a low volatility game if you have the basic strategy down.