Guide to Casino Bankroll Management

Casino gambling has been glamorized by countless movies and internet influencers. Anyone who’s never been gambling before probably imagines gaggles of business people in fancy clothes and Rolexes, tossing money everywhere.

While it’s fun to think that’s what all gambling is, in reality, it’s a much more serious affair. For those of us that don’t live the high-life, gambling has a few more intricacies to it. For example, deciding on how much money to bring isn’t a practice you see in the movies, but it’s critical for your success as a gambler.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to manage your casino bankroll to help maximize your winnings—and minimize your losses—while also giving some tips about overall good gambling strategy.

How To Decide How Much Your Casino Bankroll Should Be

BankrollEveryone has a different budget, so developing a casino gambling bankroll isn’t a set-in-stone practice. Generally, you should only play with as much money as you’re comfortable losing. When you log into an online casino or walk through the resort doors, there’s no guarantee that you’ll walk out with cash in your pockets. That’s why it’s important to develop a bankroll budgeting practice else risk losing a lot of money.

There are a couple ways to go about deciding how large your bankroll should be.

The simplest method is to just assess how much free cash you have after bills, car payments, food, and other expenses. Only use your “fun money” for gambling as a rule, just because it’s easy to get carried away, and you don’t want to end up homeless after a weekend in Atlantic City.

To further refine your casino bankroll building strategy, you can look at the average amount you will spend per bet and the average number of hands you’ll play.

In our example, let’s say you’re playing blackjack at a casino with 3 players at your table, with a minimum bet of $10.

There’s a lot of data out online about how many hands per hour are possible for each kind of game. For 3 players in blackjack, there’s an average 105 hands per hour.

So, if we do the math, it looks like for a full hour with a minimum bet, you’d be paying $1,050.

Now, it’s time to calculate your winnings. The average win rate for blackjack is 42% for players, so that works out to about 44 wins and 61 losses. Let’s say all your wins paid back 1:1, so for your 44 wins, you receive $440.

$1,050 – $440 = $610

To play blackjack for an hour, with a $10 minimum bet, you’d need at least $610, but we recommend bringing more just in case your luck runs out.

This is just an example of how you can take data and develop a bankroll strategy out of it. Once you know the win percentage, average hands per hour, and bet size, you can make a reasonable estimation of how much money you’ll need to add to your bankroll.

Of course, there are a few other tips we have to offer, all of which can help you stay in the green!

Gambling Bankroll Management Tips

Every gambler you talk to has some idea about how to save money or manage your bankroll. They might wave their hands and state their experience as being a long-time gambler. And sure, their tips about bankroll management might be said with heart, unless they’re a poker champion or jackpot winner, take what they have to say with a grain of salt.

There are only a few tips for casino bankroll management that really have an impact, and we’ve seen it happen! The top five things you need to know about bankroll management are as follows:

  • Keep the House Edge Low
  • Become a VIP
  • Use a Betting System
  • Slow Your Roll
  • Download a Gambling Bankroll Management App

As long as you abide by these things—and don’t worry about heating up your betting chips like rocking-chair gamblers tell you too—you’ll be on the road to gambling success.

Play Games with Low House Edges

Not all casino games are created equal. The House Edge—the casino’s advantage over the player—varies from game to game. For example, slot machines often have a higher House Edge than certain table games, like baccarat or roulette.

When you’re gambling on a budget, it’s important to recognize that the higher the House Edge, the smaller chance you have of success. The House Edge can be hard to calculate sometimes, and not all online casinos make this information public, so here’s a list of the casino’s advantage no certain games.

Casino Game House Edge
Blackjack 0.25% to 2%
Baccarat 1.06% or 1.24%
Craps 0% to 1.41%
American Roulette 5.26%
European Roulette 2.75%
Slots 1% to 10%
Video Poker 0.25% to 10%+
Three-Card Poker 1.5%
Pai Gow Poker 2.5%
Caribbean Stud 5.0%

If you’re trying to win big money at the casino, playing slots is probably the last thing you want to be doing. The return to player percentage (RTP) on slot machines varies a lot more than for table games, so your chances of winning big aren’t that high.

Blackjack and baccarat are probably the best games for someone on a budget. They’re easy to buy into, and the games aren’t fundamentally difficult. In blackjack, you’re just trying to get 21 before the dealer, and baccarat only has three bets, making it super simple to start playing.

This isn’t to say you can’t play slots! We know they’re fun on occasion. Just know that you’re not going to be Mr. Moneybags unless you happen to hit a jackpot.

Sign Up for the Casino’s Loyalty Rewards Program

Most online casinos offer some kind of loyalty rewards program that incentivizes frequent play. These programs have multiple different tiers, so the more you play, the higher your rank.

All good casino VIP programs are based on points—points you earn by playing the games you already love. Casinos like Café Casino and award players points for each $1 they spend on select slots, video poker machines, and table games. The points can then be redeemed for free cash!

When you sign up with an online casino, they’ll usually automatically add you to their rewards program in the lowest tier. Make sure to read up on what games earn you the most points so you can earn more rewards! Who knows, maybe you’ll earn so many points you can have a whole, free bankroll!

Practice Using a Betting System

Now, some old-timey gamblers might discourage using a betting system because doesn’t do anything to increase your skill or luck. And they’d be right; betting systems don’t do anything to make you better at the game you’re playing.

They are, however, a great bankroll management tool. Betting systems have been around almost as long as many of the casino games you play, like roulette or baccarat.

To explain how betting systems work, let’s look at one of the most popular strategies, the Martingale System.

The Martingale system was invented in 18th century France as a betting method for roulette. This system is a negative progression system, which means you increase your bet amount after every loss, and decrease your bet size after a win.

For example, if you are playing roulette and place a $5 bet on red and win, you’d then place another $5 bet. $5 is your base bet amount, so you increase and decrease in $5 increments.

But, if you were to lose, you’d bet $10, and so forth. The Martingale System, since it was invented for roulette, works great with 1:1 payouts. The simple increase/decrease path makes the system easy to remember, and double betting on a loss helps recoup any losses from a previous hand.

There are many more betting systems than just the Martingale, however, and many of them are much better at keeping your bankroll in check.

Again, betting systems don’t increase your chances at winning a game, but they can help you keep your money organized so you’re not struggling to think of a good betting amount. Use them at your discretion!

Take It Slow

One of the pitfalls new gamblers experience at online casinos is going too fast. Because RNG table games don’t have real dealers or other players, you’re free to control the pace of the game how you see fit. This might mean playing multiple games in quick succession or taking your good ole time.

But, racing through a game simply because you can might hurt your bankroll more than it helps it. Thinking back to how you build your bankroll amount, you know that the more rounds you play per hour, the more money your bankroll will have to contain.

So, if you’re on a budget, you might want to take your time while gambling, otherwise you’ll have blown through your whole bankroll in 15 minutes.

Now, you might only have 15 minutes of time, and that’s fine, but adjust your bankroll to fit that timeframe. Adding $100 to your casino account just to spend a couple minutes spinning the roulette wheel doesn’t sound like the best use of your funds.

If you’re intent on playing as fast as possible, try to decrease your bet amount. For example, if you like playing roulette and frequently bet $10-20 per spin, try reducing your bet to $5. Sure, you won’t win as much if you hit your bet, but you’ll be able to extend your play for longer, which increases your chances of getting more wins.

If you think about it, it’s a great strategy. Let’s say you only place outside bets that have close to a 50/50 chance of success. Betting $20 per spin with a $100 bankroll will get you 5 spins, whereas betting $5 per spin will get you 20 spins.

Let’s do the math here:

5 spins, at a 50/50 chance, you win 2.5 times, rounded down to 2. $20 per bet, 1:1 payout, you make $40 from your two wins.


20 spins, at a 50/50 chance, you win 10 times. $5 per bet, 1:1 payout, you make $50 from your wins.

Theoretically, you could win the same amount on a 1:1 bet in both scenarios, but since you can’t win half a bet, you have to round down. Always round down, the pessimistic outcome is the most realistic.

Use a Gambling Bankroll Management App

When you use a betting system, it’s pretty simple to adjust your bets to fit your bankroll and keep track of how much money you have left to gamble with.

What if we told you there was a simpler way to keep track than using a drink coaster and a pencil? Thanks to technology—and a few gambling enthusiasts with coding know-how—we have a few automated tools to help keep your bankroll in tip-top shape!

Here are a few apps that can help you get a better handle on your bankroll:

Many of the financial apps that are designed as a resource for gamblers have all kinds of statistics and custom graphs to help you visualize your spending. They’re just a handy way to do your casino bookkeeping.

But is a betting bankroll management tool really necessary?

If you’re comfortable gambling by the seat of your pants, the bankroll calculator isn’t necessary. They’re an auxiliary tool that helps people who gamble frequently or want to better optimize their spending.

How to Manage Your Sports Betting Bankroll

Different Sports BallsSports betting accounts for much of the US gambling revenue, and how to manage your sports betting bankroll is a question we get quite a lot.

While it’s much easier to keep track of your sports betting bankroll than your casino bankroll it’s still important to discuss.

Because the fast nature of casino gambling promotes rapid dispersal of funds, sports betting is a more laid-back system. You place a bet on your favorite team, and you wait for that bet to hit. Much more patience is required to be successful with online sports betting, but the long wait times are part of the reason bankroll management is easier with sportsbooks.

Unless you’re betting on a live game, your account balance won’t be constantly changing. You place a few bets for a set amount, and you wait until you win to get any money back in your account.

At an online casino, your balance is updated every time you place a bet or win a round. These constant updates and make you feel like you’re doing better than you actually are, which can lead to more spending.

Managing your sports betting bankroll is as simple as setting a limit of how many bets you want to make, and a maximum bet amount with that. Because you won’t get your winnings immediately, you’ll have to go through the work of making another deposit if you want to keep betting. That’s one of the big reasons sports betting bankrolls are easier to manage, that barrier to entry.

Casino Bankroll Management FAQ

  • What Is The Best Payment Method For Managing Your Bankroll?

    At a land-based casino, don’t even bother bringing your debit/credit card. Using cash is so much better because there’s a limit to how much you have. Cards are designed to present a painless payment experience—you swipe and you’re done. You don’t see money changing hands, it’s all done electronically. But when you physically have to give away cash, it feels much more like a loss, which is why using cash actually helps you save money.

    The same principle applies to online casinos. Use a payment method that takes a while to set up and complete, that way the extra work to make a deposit deters you from spending more than you should.

  • What’s A Reasonable Bankroll For A Night Of Gambling?

    Well, it all depends on your financial situation. But we’d say if you’re able to find low-limit blackjack and baccarat tables, and a few high RTP slot machines, you can get away with a $150-200 bankroll. As long as you’re placing informed bets and watching your speed, you should be in good shape!

  • What’s The Most Effective Betting System?

    The Martingale is a tried-and-true system, but the D’Alembert or Paroli systems are also good choices. Not all systems work well for every game. For example, the Paroli and D’Alembert systems work best when you’re placing even money bets, so something like roulette or blackjack.

  • What Is The Best Game For Someone On A Budget?

    Games that have a high chance of player success are obviously the best. The player has a 42% chance of winning at blackjack, and 47.37% chance of success at American Roulette. Choose games that are likely to payout in the first few games, because that’s how you’ll be able to start building a better bankroll.