So you found a good first deposit bonus and you see the bonus money in your account – and now what? What is the best game to play with that bonus and what kind of strategy should you use to claim the bonus with minimal risk of losing it? Read on and find out.
Bonus Expected Value
First and foremost, we must understand the math of a bonus offer. Simply put, if you have to wager a certain amount of money on a game with a certain house edge, you’re expected to lose a certain amount. The amount of the bonus must be greater than this in order for the bonus to have a positive expectation. If the bonus is 100% up to €100 and you have to wager the bonus 30 times, that means you have to wager €3000. If the game you’re playing has RTP of 95.00%, you stand to lose €150, which means the expected value of your bonus is actually minus €50.
Read more about this topic in our article about expected value.
Best Games to Play
Due to the above calculation, it is usually a bad choice to play table games, even if the casino allows table games to contribute to rollover (5%, 10% or 20% usually). The sheer volume of bets you are required to make will be dragging you further down into negative. Playing slots is the only reasonable way to meet the bonus rollover conditions.
Okay. Which Slots?
While many people assume it’s a matter of math and will choose a slot game with a high RTP and therefore a low house edge, in fact variance is much more important. If your ultimate goal is to just claim the bonus and not win on the slot game itself, then the best scenario is to play a slot game that you can play for hundreds of spins without winning or losing much. Meaning, you need a low variance slot game.
NetEnt slots are known to have medium to low variance, and they usually pamper the player by not letting him lose much even after lots of spins. Slots like Zombies or Copy Cats fit the bill perfectly as they have low variance and also have a relatively high RTP.
There is probably a mathematically optimal way to bet €100 on a slot game in order to reduce the chance of bankruptcy, and definitely you don’t want the bet per spin to be too big. The smaller the bet, the more spins you get and the variance is lower, but then you’ll inevitably be losing money because of the slot’s RTP. For example, with 1000 spins at €0.10 per spin you’ll likely see a loss of €3 if the RTP is 97%. That isn’t too bad. If you need to wager €3000, then in this scenario you’d lose €90 and would have to make 30,000 spins (if we’re using the bonus requirements as in the above example).
If the bet per spin would be €1, that would seriously increase the variance but would also let us blast through the rollover requirements with only 3,000 spins. Note that variance can also work in your favor – if you land one of the bigger winning combinations during one of those 3,000 spins it will be worth a lot of money since your bet per spin is high. This is the approach we’d reccomend, precisely for this reason, to give yourself a chance to win big while also meeting the rollover conditions in a very reasonable manner.