Finding optimal strategy just by experience would be too inaccurate. To find the optimal strategy I have reverse-engineered 2 NetEnt slots (high variance with 98% and medium variance with 96% RTP) and carried out a lot of simulations. I have also modified those slots to 92%, 96% and 98% payout to observe the influence of RTP on your chances to win.
My methodology: Imagine a player who starts with a bonus with value $100 which has 50x wagering requirements and maximal converted value $500. What percentage of a bonus will that player be able to convert if he bet X on certain slot Y? We calculate the converted percentage (later referred as EFFECTIVENESS) by simulating the situation 100 000 times.
Running this algorithm a few times I was able to find the optimal bet for certain slot configurations. For example the following chart shows how effectiveness changes with bet size on 96% high variance slot:
Playing a little with bet sizes around 0.50% of the original bonus value I have found out that the most effective bet in this case is 0.30% of the bonus. 0.30% of $100 bonus is $0.30. I state bet size in % of bonus as chances are equal for $0.03 bet and $10 bonus and for $0.30 bet and $100 bonus.
Then I have experimented with other slot configurations and bet sizes:
- 92% high variance is most effective at 1% bet (20.17% effectiveness)
- 96% high variance is most effective at 0.30% bet (36.21% effectiveness)
- 98% high variance is most effective at 0.20% bet (53.54% effectiveness)
- 92% medium variance is most effective at 2% bet (21.75% effectiveness)
- 96% medium variance is most effective at 0.80% bet (38.17% effectiveness)
- 98% medium variance is most effective at 0.50% bet (55.50% effectiveness)
What patterns have I observed?
If maximal converted value is 5x bonus then a medium volatility slot is doing a little better. RTP is the most significant indicator for the success so you should pick your slot by RTP. Higher RTP works more effectively with lower bets. Same is true for the slot volatility.Now imagine that you win in free spins $2 and your max. win is restricted to $50. The situation is a lot different as now you can cash-out up to 25 times of the original bonus which favors more high volatility games.
To make your bonus journey more effective:
I have run tons of simulations and compiled tables for various maximal converted values (X times bonus). This table contains optimal bet size with $100 bonus and expected effectiveness for all 6 slot configurations. For different starting bonus size you’ll need to use proportional bet size. All values are calculated for 50x wagering requirements:
You can see that the effectiveness is crazy when you have no bet limit or very high bet limit. But also the chance to convert one bonus is very low: while for $100 bet on 98% RTP high variance slot it’s just 1.1% for $1 bet on the same slot chance to convert is 8.85% with 79% effectiveness.
Since the vast majority of no deposit bonuses have restrictions for maximal converted value I’m not stating the chance to convert the bonus in the table. If you decide to choose a bet for optimal effectiveness then the chance to convert a bonus is also quite good.
Conclusion: Free bonuses are a good option to make some money for a coffee or beer. But if you are eager to win more money (for a nice new bicycle for example) then read my next chapter which focuses on real