12 Tips for Gambling With a Small Bankroll

Friends Cheering Playing Casino Slots, Hands Opening Empty Wallet with Dollar Bill Falling Out
Everyone dreams of gambling with a huge stack of chips. It’s nice knowing you can take a chance on an iffy blackjack hand because you have the money to play another game. The same goes with any of the games at the casino. It’s just fun to play with a lot of money.

But what happens when you don’t have a lot of money and you’re practicing better casino bankroll management? Don’t worry, you can still have fun gambling. It’s just as satisfying when you go from the short stack to the table leader as there is starting from the top and continuing to win.

In fact, starting with a small stack can be your test of skill as a gambler if that’s what gets your poker juices flowing. More importantly, though, playing the game with a small bankroll can be every bit as rewarding as playing with a big stack, you just need a few tips on how best to pull it off.

Go Online

Computer Laptop Displaying Slot Online Casino Game on ScreenThe best and easiest way to gamble without a lot of money is to avoid any semblance of a casino. Instead, sit down with a cold drink, maybe turn on some music, and open your laptop. The internet is full of online casinos that will allow you to gamble without paying a single penny, offering free games to play.

Some online gambling sites offer virtual currency for you to start playing on their site. As long as you don’t lose your head and take advantage of the online site’s giveaways, you’ll likely never run out of “money” to play. Once you’ve gotten your fill, you can always find online sites that will take money in exchange for higher stakes, just know the laws in your area.

Avoid Luxury Hotels

It pains us to say this, but if you have a small bankroll, you might be better off staying away from the nicer, newer hotels. Yes, I know they’re beautiful, have great themes, good food, delicious cocktails, and more. However, they’re not free. In fact, they’re not even cheap.

Most of the things you do at a luxury hotel carry a surcharge.

This is because they’re the place to be seen, gambling pros and sharks often congregate at newer venues.

If you want, go to the luxury hotels to see the sights and mess around, but when it gets serious, take your smaller bankroll to a less fancy place. Your money will go farther if you do.

Pick the Right Table

Split Image, on the Right Group of People Playing Casino Craps, Left Photo of People Playing Roulette
Part of picking the right table includes staying away from luxury hotels. Like we said, the sharks, the hustlers, and the pros all congregate there. If you have a small bankroll, you’ll want to stay away from them until you’ve built up a reserve.

Instead, find a casino that has steady traffic with people who are looking for a game, not a victim. When you find that casino, survey the players at each of the tables. If you see someone who is ultracompetitive or just a jerk, they could just be after your money. Instead, find a table that’s at least half full with people that appear calm and friendly. The fact that they aren’t cutthroat should give you a better chance to win some money.

Let the Casino Meet Your Needs

It’s not a guarantee that your food and drink needs will be taken care of by a casino. But some are loose with offering you free cocktails, food comps, and other perks. At the very least, you should be able to swell the size of your bankroll with the money you otherwise would have spent on cocktails and snacks.

But this advice really only works if you’re loyal to one casino. You will need to lose some of that bankroll before you begin receiving casino comps. If you only lose a little here and a little there, you may not get a simple comp at all. So, it’s important that you establish yourself as a regular.

Play the Pass Line

Craps Table Layout with Yellow Arrow Pointing Towards Pass Line
Craps is one of the most economical ways to gamble if you’re looking to play at a casino.

It’s a social environment where you can make some fairly low risk bets that often payout by playing the pass line.

When you’re playing the game of craps, the pass line means you are betting that the shooter will hit a seven or an 11 before they hit a two, three, or a 12. Playing the pass line doesn’t pay out very much (you may only double your bet), but seven is the most common number on two dice, so you have a good chance of winning.

Slots for the Win

All protests about slot machines aside, if you have a small bankroll, slot machines are a great way to stretch it. You can always find cheap slot machines, especially in older casinos, which require very little money for a pull on the lever (or the press of a button).

At the very least, even a small purse can provide hours of entertainment in the casino while a few lucky players will find a significant return on investment at the slot machines.

Make Friends With the Bookie

People Sitting at Casino Sportsbook, Three Dollar Bills Spread Out
Okay, you probably won’t make friends with the people running your local sportsbook, but you can certainly use it to your advantage if you don’t have a lot of money. Sports betting can be incredibly lucrative if you’re willing to bet on some underdogs.

Additionally,there are always events you can bet on.

Consider splashing a little cash at the sportsbook in your chosen casino, then sit back to enjoy the game.

Bet a Small Number of Games

If you do choose to go the sportsbook route, don’t overdo the sports betting. Pick two or three games that you know and bet on those. That will limit your losses while stretching your bankroll over the course of each game.

Blackjack Before Hold’em

Ace of Spades Card, Jack Blackjack Card, Three Stacks of Casino ChipsHold’em can be an expensive undertaking, especially in games with antes and large big blinds. If poker is your game of choice, consider looking for cheaper but fun blackjack games. Some are as low as one dollar. These games will pack all of the skill and competition of a much more expensive game of poker. But the hit to your bankroll with each hand will be far, far lower.

Find Tournaments

If Hold’em is your game, look for tournaments instead of cash games. In a tournament, you pay a set amount of a number of chips. You then get to play for the life of the tournament off that one single payment. If you’re good enough or lucky enough, a single payment can stretch out into an evening of gambling.

Find Limited Rebuy Tournaments

If you find tournaments are your thing, that’s great. We also recommend that you avoid tournaments with lots of rebuys.

A rebuy means a player can pay a certain amount of money to re-enter the tournament even when they’re out of money.

It’s very hard to knock out a player who can keep buying in, which means it’s hard to cash out and make money at the tournament.

Set Loss Limits

Group of People Playing Slot Machines in Casino, Yellow Sign Warning Reached Bankroll Limit
When you have a smaller bankroll, you need a good defense. That’s where loss limits come into play. Simply put, a “loss limit” is a set amount of money that once you lose, you’re done playing for the night. Set your loss limit and stick to it like a drowning person to a lifesaver.

If you don’t, your entire casino trip might be over before it’s done. In fact, if you can, don’t bring more money than your loss limit to avoid the temptation of going over budget.


While gambling with a small bankroll doesn’t sound as glamorous as gambling on a big budget, it can still be a great time. All you need is a smart strategy, the right place to play, a strong loss limit, and the right game. With the tips we mentioned in this guide, you’re guaranteed to have plenty of fun!