Showdown: Slots vs. Table Games
Some people love both casino games equally, but most gamblers that I’ve talked to prefer either slots or table games. Both games have their own advantages and disadvantages. Slot machines are action packed and fast moving, but are good at taking your money. Table games are usually better for your bottom line, but they move slower and require more effort.
Most smart gamblers will tell you to avoid slot machines because the house advantage is so high. This is actually not entirely true for online slots. It’s true that you can lose money quickly at slot machines, but the payback rate for most online slots is in the 96% or higher range. Anyways, let’s take a look at both types of games and give them an honest comparison.
Advantages of Slot Machines
The graphics and animations are the biggest advantage in my opinion. I know that’s kind of shallow, but I really do find it fun to play slots. I know it’s easy to lose money in slot machines, but I don’t care when I’m just there to have a little fun. And with all the entertaining graphics, goofy animations and wild mini-games, I have a hard time passing on slots.
Slot machines also get the edge for the largest jackpots. Table games do have big jackpots at times, but slots are better overall. All of the largest gambling wins on the internet were awarded by slot machines. Progressive jackpot slot machines can grow to be worth several million dollars.
Back to the actual experience, slot machines have fast-paced play. When you play slots, you can spin the reels as fast as you want and keep the game moving. Table games require more patience because they move at a slower pace. If you play at a live casino, you also have to wait for the other players to act.
And finally, slot machines have the advantage of low minimum bets and high maximum bets. You can get started with bets as small as $0.01 per spin. If you’re a high roller, you can easily wager $20, $50 or $100 a spin at certain slots.
Disadvantages of Slot Machines
Slot machines have two major disadvantages. First of all, the fast pace of play makes it easy to lose money quickly. If you have a run of bad luck, you can blow through a lot of money quickly. The house advantage of online slots isn’t too bad, but the overall “churn” can catch up to you. By churn, I mean the rate at which you play, get some money back and then put that same money back in again.
The second disadvantage of slots is that they have rigid gameplay mechanics. There’s really no room for strategy in slot machines. Yes, there are tips and tricks you can use to get the most of your experience, but there’s no way to actually affect the outcome of any single spin.
Advantages of Table Games
The best thing about playing table games is that there is a lot more room for strategy. Blackjack in particular is noted for its various levels of strategy. Entire books have been written devoted entirely to proper blackjack strategy. There is something rewarding about implementing strategy and learning how to minimize the house advantage.
It is also easier to keep track of your money when you play table games. Even online table games move at a much slower pace than slot machines. Each round of play is dictated by cards, dice and your own decisions. It is more difficult to lose track of your wins and losses when you play table games. Table games are definitely the best for budget gamblers.
Last but not least, table games have some of the best wagers in the house. The “odds” bet in craps has almost zero house advantage. The banker bet in baccarat is also one of the best. In my post about the 10 best bets in the casino, table games makes up the majority of the list.
Disadvantages of Table Games
The slow pace of table games can also be a disadvantage. Yes, it is easier to keep track of your wins and losses, but it’s also unbearably slow for action players. This is even more evident when playing at brick and mortar casinos with other players.
Table games also have less flexibility when it comes to betting limits. Online casinos usually restrict the minimum bet to $1. This isn’t too bad, but it’s considerably higher than slot machines. It’s even worse at live casinos where the minimum bet can be as high as $10 or $15 per hand. The maximum limit online usually tops out at about $200.
And the winner is…
Nobody. Slot machines and table games are just completely different games. You’ll have to make the decision based on your own desires. If you are a budget-conscious gambler and/or enjoy making strategic decisions, table games are definitely the best. Table games are also the best for social players (at live casinos).
Slot machines are the best for action players. If you just want to get in there and gamble it up without a care in the world, slot machines are for you. Slots are also good if you dream of winning a massive million dollar jackpot one day. The odds are low, but it’s still fun to try.