Gamble All Day on a $100 Bankroll

By in Casino & Gaming on
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Writing about gambling, you sometimes lose sight of the value of money. My own bankrolls are never more than a few hundred bucks, though I’m often writing about jackpots in the millions or people betting more per hand than I spent on my last car.

There’s a lot of value to be found in low-cost bets at casinos. Gambling all day at a casino anywhere in America with just $100 to blow is more than do-able, it’s a reality for people like me. I tend toward the low-edge games that let me play as long as possible without spending more than I can afford.

This post is about the many ways you can gamble for a considerable amount of time with just $100 to spend.

Play Low-Cost Slot Machines

Yes, some slot machines can be played for very little money. They’re not always the most popular games, and you won’t usually find all the latest features and licensed characters and stuff, but you can do some cheap gambling if you pick the right games.

You have to be careful with slots, since the penny slots sometimes require big max bets to have any shot at a decent payout. What you should do instead is find a slot machine that allows you to place a max bet for as little as possible.

Another problem with slots – unlike other casino games, we don’t know the payback percentage exactly, so we can’t really estimate how much you’ll lose.

Let’s Say You’re Playing a Machine With a 90% Payback Percentage

The game allows a max bet of $0.25. At that rate, your expected hourly loss is $5. Realistically, you’re giving up 2.5 cents per spin, so if you control your spin rate, you can control your losses a little bit.

If you can maintain that $5 an hour loss rate, you could gamble for quite a long time on your $100 bankroll. Obviously, your real results won’t mimic the theoretical returns, and you could end up winning money.

But that’s not the point of this exercise – the point is to gamble as long as possible for the $100 investment you have with you. To do that, find a low-cost bet max machine and slow down your rate of play a little bit.

Buy $100 in Scratch-Off Lotto Tickets

Why do I concentrate on scratch tickets? Draw games offer huge prizes, but they only draw once or twice a week. That’s too slow. I want instant gratification, and I have $100 to spend on lottery games.

If I buy 100 $1 tickets, and I scratch one every three minutes, that’s five hours of gambling time.

Let’s say I go out and buy 100 Weekly Half Grand tickets from the Texas Lottery. The odds of winning any prize are 1 in 4.78, so I figure my 100-ticket haul should produce about 20 winners in my stack. The prizes on that ticket range from $1 to $1,000. I could make a decent hit, though I know I’ll be lucky to break even.

Is it the most fun you can have gambling?

Probably not – but if you’re really into scratch games, scratching 100 of them at a sitting could be something you’re into. You could also livestream yourself scratching and have some fun online that way. And if I were to hit that $1,000 top prize, it’d be a 10:1 payout based on my $100 investment.

Not bad for five hours of cheap gambling.

Play Keno Like a Pauper

If you want to gamble in the casino and enjoy the atmosphere and all that, playing Keno can be a cheap way to do that.

Most casinos let you play for as little as $1 a ticket. You can even play ten tickets ahead of time. Since Keno moves slowly – maybe 12 outcomes per hour – you can basically mark up your ticket, pay your $10, and relax and enjoy an hour of people-watching, comp’d sodas, and whatever else you can enjoy.

Keno’s casino advantage is obscene. You should probably expect to lose about $0.75 per decision, or $9 an hour. Still, that’s plenty of entertainment for your $100 investment. Don’t expect big winnings, just cheap gambling.

What you don’t want to do is start playing like a rich guy. Avoid the Keno machines, since they produce a lot more than 12 results an hour. Play at a slow pace, watch your spending, and you could sit and play Keno for ten hours or so on your $100 bankroll.

Poker Tournaments Can Be Cheap

You probably don’t live too far from a poker room or casino offering poker tournament play. If you have a way to play online poker, you’ve just doubled your opportunities to play tournament poker.

Single-table poker tournaments tend to run around the clock and most of them end in under an hour. Find the lowest possible buy-in, and you can play until you win or bust. That means you’re going to get at least an hour of play in a single-table tournament in exchange for your buy-in.

If you have $100 to spend, entering a few single-table tournaments throughout the day will give you a lot of gambling time for your buck, without spending another dollar. All of your investment is right at the top of the tournament, and you win or lose on your own merit and skill.

End up in the money in any of these single-table tournaments and you’re likely to end the day with a profit.

If I took $100 and entered eight sit and go tournaments for $10+$1 each, I’ll stay busy all day gambling, and I’ll never spend more than my $100 bankroll. Generally, if I finish third, I’ll double my buy-in and win $20, and if I can finish second, I should triple it. If I luck out and win one of these things, I’ll bring in $50, almost half my bankroll all at once.

Big caveat – you have to know how to play poker to pull this off. I’ve you’ve never played before or aren’t confident in your skills, you shouldn’t be entering $10 buy-ins at all.

Bingo – The Poor Man’s Gamble

My great-grandmother, God bless her, never had much money. She had just enough to survive and run her errands and things, but she rarely had more than a couple of bucks in her wallet, unless she accepted a gift from one of us.

Even she found a way to play bingo a couple times a month.

My grandmother would save up her change and the pocket money we’d slip her and go twice a month to play bingo for four or five hours on $40 or $50. She’d buy packets of bingo cards and it broke down to $10 an hour.

She’d pretty much turn all her winnings into more cards, and I think her best-ever result was to basically break even. But that’s not the point. It got her out of the house, she got to see some friends, and she had a blast playing the game.

$100 at a bingo hall could last you several days of play if you spend it right.

If I were you, I’d avoid the pull-tab tickets sold at bingo spots. They have really long overall odds relative to the cost of the ticket, and they’ll drain your $100 bankroll way too fast to be enjoyable.

Video Poker – The Best Game for Small Bankrolls

Video poker, played according to optimal strategy, gives the casino among the smallest edges of any casino game. With the right pay table and the right game rules, and a good strategy chart to help you make the best decisions, the casino’s payback percentage could be as low as 99.75%.

Let’s Say You Find a Deuces Wild Game With a 99.75% Payback

If you can bet a nickel per coin, your max bet is $0.25 per hand. Your expected loss per hand is just $0.0006, meaning you should expect to lose just $0.37. That requires perfect play, but it’s totally do-able, especially if you limit your play speed to 600 hands per hour.

Chasing that $200 royal flush payout at $0.25 per hand is just as fun as playing a low-cost slot machine or any other budget-minded casino game. Because the game involves a skill element, some gamblers may enjoy playing real money video poker more than the other cheapskate games discussed in this post.


You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to have fun at a casino. I think the times I’ve spent money at that level have actually been pretty embarrassing and depressing.

If I have $100 that I could blow on a round of golf, a few nights at the movies, or a quick casino trip, I know I’m going to choose the casino every time. The only question is exactly how to spend it.

If you concentrate your gambling on those games that cost you the least to play over time, you can have a blast on as little as $100.

Michael Stevens

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 since early 2016. ...

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