The Pitfalls of Playing for High Stakes Online

Article written & published by Simmo! on November 1st, 2015.

High Stakes Gambling - Welcome to my World!

I have been playing online for well over a decade now and the landscape has changed a lot over that time. I started out as a player placing modest bets but over that period, I have morphed into a "high roller" with bet sizes well into double-figures on slots and even into 3 figures on table games.

Unfortunately, along the way I have learned the hard way that a lot of online casinos simply aren't geared up to take high stakes players. Even some household names fall well short.

This 2-part article aims to pass on my experience of high-rolling online, explaining the pitfalls and identifying casinos that are geared up for high stakes players. If you are the type of player who expects to make regular withdrawals of over £5,000 then this article is squarely aimed at you!

Where To Start Reading

If you want to hear about the problems I have hit while playing higher stakes online, then keep reading this article. It mainly concerns withdrawal limits and bet sizes but there are secondary considerations too.

If you prefer to identify "high-roller friendly" online casinos then you can skip directly to either my article entitled "High Stakes Play on Table Games" or "Playing High Limit Slots", which both cut to the chase. Both articles highlight casinos where I know I can play for high stakes with minimum fuss.


So if you haven't clicked one of the links above and are still reading this article, then let's get started...

The Main Pitfalls High Stakes Players Face

Over the past decade, as online casino software has become more prolific and governments have cottoned on to the tax opportunites that come with regulation, casino gaming licences have become easier and cheaper to obtain. It also means that a casino isn't always required to put large reserve sums aside for settling player wins. Indeed, many live dangerously close to the edge and I have heard from people I know working in the industry that some live very hand-to-mouth, often waiting on player loss accumulation to pay out the wins.

What this means is that high rollers now need to be very vigilant when chossing where to play. The decision used to be relatively straightforward and based on a few questions that were easily researched: does this casino have a good reputation? Does it have the games I like? Are the bet limits sufficiently high enough for me? These days, those still apply but they are much more difficult to fathom and you can also throw into the mix the question over withdrawal policies - or more accurately, withdrawal limits which have become a major obstacle to high rolling.

In fact, in more recent times, even bet limits have seen big changes. For example, take arguably the most well-known and respected online casino games developer, Microgaming. Until around 3-4 years ago, their games were only available via a "dedicated" Microgaming casino, whether that be "Instant Play" or Download. The bet limits were generally all the same and very flexible making it fairly safe for any high roller to play any Microgaming casino without restrictions.

There was the odd exception like Roxy Palace (since bought by 32Red PLC and now much more suitable for high rolling) where limits applied but it was rare. Then, the "open platform" concept appeared on the scene. While this was very good for players in that the games choice at any given casino could come from a variety of developers, it also opened the door to more licencees at a cheaper cost.

As a consequence, a lot of the games added to multi-game platforms like EveryMatrix and Quickfire along with others, had their maximum bet limits reduced to limit the risk exposure to the licencee. To be fair, most of the games still have limits that suit the majority of players but speaking as ahigh roller myself, I have yet to find a casino on a 3rd party open platform that gives me everything I want when it comes to limits. Plus, this shift also saw an even more worrying trend: the implementation of low maximum withdrawal limits.

There is nothing worse that hitting something decent and then finding that you can't withdraw it all. A problem that is amplified if you are betting big and are trying to dig yourself out of a hole! Unfortunately, you would be amazed at the number of casinos with low withdrawal limits. From as little as 1,500 a month in fact.

I'd say the majority of open-platform casinos have these limits, usually below 10,000 a week or month although some will offer to extend these for high rollers. Even dome dedicated platform providers from Microgaming and Playtech impose restrictions and worse still. Check this one out for example:

"Players who withdraw a sum of money that is 2 times or more greater than their lifetime deposits across the site will only be able to withdraw their winnings at a sum of 2,000 per week".

Pretty poor eh! Some do a 5x lifetime deposits rule which is more typical. As a high roller, you want to know just where the buck stops before you start playing, not when you hit a big win!

Signup Bonuses & Limits

The days of a casino signup bonus being a free meal ticket are long gone. So far gone in fact that, more often than not, you'll pay just to sit down at the table and pick up a knife and fork.

If you are a high roller then you probably don't take sign-up bonuses anyway. There are 3 issues with these: the wagering requirements restricting your ability to cash out a big win, the fact a casino often limits the maximum you can cash out from a bonus and the latest worrying trend which is to severely limit the maximum bet size, meaning if you bet too much on one spin (or on the worng game), you'll forfeit the bonus, winnings and probably your deposit.

My recommendation is simple; don't take signup bonuses - they just aren't worth it anymore. Loyalty bonuses are another kettle of fish and deserve to be investigated as they can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, often tailored to you and your style of game-play. It depends where you play.

Where To Safely Play High Limit Games

The good news is, there are still some very good safehavens for high rollers. The one you choose to play will largely depend on the games you want to play: some are better for table games and live dealers, some for slots so it is at this point that I am going to ask you to choose which follow-up article is most relevant to you:

Playing High Stakes on Table Games »
Playing High Limit Slots »