A trip to the casino, whether it’s for an afternoon or a weekend, can be one of the most exciting experiences you’ll have anywhere. With that being said, like any good trip, it’s important to plan it out in advance.
No matter what your experience level is in terms of gambling, anyone can enjoy playing a few games in hopes of taking home a few extra dollars. Just remember that it’s important to not let things get out of hand.
In this article, I’ll outline a brief checklist you should look over before heading to the casino.
1 – Create a Bankroll
The most important component to any gambling strategy, whether it’s with sports or the casino, is building and managing your bankroll. Before you read on, let me reiterate—nothing is more important than sticking to your bankroll.
If you aren’t familiar with the concept, that’s okay. It’s very easy to learn. Your bankroll is essentially the pool of money from which you bet. How do you determine the amount that should go into it? My advice would be to choose an amount of money that you can comfortably afford to lose.
Once you have your overall number down, the next step is determining what your bankroll percentage range will be for any one bet. Most experts recommend betting between 3% and 5% on single bet, but for the sake of the exercise, I’ll assume your bankroll is $200 for a day trip to the casino. If we use the 3% to 5% model, your max bet would be $10, and that’s not going to cut it.
At the end of the day, your goal should be to win slowly over time and take a long-term approach. This all starts with creating, and most importantly sticking to, your bankroll.
2 – Plan Out the Games
Whether you’re the world’s most experienced casino player or are taking your first trip, it’s likely that you’re more familiar with some games than others. You may be the type that enjoys the good odds in roulette or blackjack, but perhaps you might be into the competition that poker provides.
Regardless of which games you prefer, it’s helpful to have a plan and choose what casino games you’re going to play once you arrive. The reason? Let’s look at the concept of shopping malls for the answer.
When you go to the mall for one thing in particular, all the shiny options around you can result in impulse purchases that you never needed in the first place. Similarly, if you go into the casino thinking “I’m going to play blackjack,” you can easily get distracted by other games and end up on the Wheel of Fortune. You may even end up on another low-odds game that enticed you with flashing lights and happy sounds.
Plenty of games on the casino floor give you decent odds to win. Stick to those and you’ll give yourself the best chance to walk out of there with more money than you came in with. To help keep you on track, write down your top three games you’re looking to play, and don’t go outside that list.
3 – Choose Your Group Wisely
This one might sound insignificant, but the people you surround yourself with at the casino can have a huge impact on where you’ll wind up at the end of the day.
When you take your gambling trip, it is best, if possible, to go with like-minded individuals who have a focus on winning money and not simply having the wildest time they can. I’ve witnessed countless instances of a friend who tries to keep up with the others by making risky, ill-advised plays in order to not look like they’re scared to go big. Spoiler alert: This almost never works out well in the end.
Even if you’re only able to find one or two people who share your same feelings about the gambling process, that’s more than enough. You’ll feel pressured if you’re the only one with the money-first mindset, but if you have just one additional person in your corner you won’t have to explain yourself.
Knowing when to walk away is a crucial part of leaving the casino a winner, but some friends (you know you have them) would rather risk their bankroll on one roulette spin than walk away with a modest $50 overall winning total.
You know your friends better than anyone else, and you probably have some idea about how they’ll impact your gambling strategy. I’m not saying you should cancel your trip if you don’t have your ideal group, but I would advise picking thoughtfully when putting the weekend crew together.
4 – Play Online Before
In the past few years, as gambling restrictions have slowly started to disappear, real money online casinos have truly become a place to hone your skills, and win money doing it. If you’re going to be making a trip to a physical casino, in the days leading up, try practicing in the online space to get your mindset in the right place.
If you’re thinking that you don’t want to be gambling real money before going to the casino, that’s completely understandable. Keep in mind that there are plenty of free options available that allow you to play with fake money, while still maintaining the essence of the game. Obviously, the stakes are less high than if you were playing with real money, but if you’re trying to get better at the game is should be just as helpful.
If you’re wondering why practicing is necessary when it’s all luck in the end, think about the factors that have nothing to do with luck. Things like bankroll management, progressive betting systems, and other strategies can be worked on just like anything else. Experienced bettors know that there are a lot more things within your control than an amateur would realize.
5 – Know When to Walk Away
Kenny Rogers said it best when he sang, “Know when to walk away.” For an endless number of gamblers, taking this advice would have resulted in a much better outcome.
For psychological reasons that are both easy and difficult to fully understand, when we start winning, we don’t want to stop playing. If you’ve made $200 on the afternoon, trying to win another $100 sounds more appealing than just calling it a day.
Unfortunately, this mindset will have you looking back with endless regret when you get back to even. Or worse, find yourself deep in the red at the bottom of your bankroll.
My advice for working on your gambling discipline is to set a winnings limit. If you cross that threshold, you’ve met your goal, and you can walk away with no regrets. You should make this number a realistic amount, but it is okay if you want to make the goal somewhat lofty. Just be sure to follow your own advice if you hit the number.
A trip to the casino can be some of the most fun you’ll have all year. Regardless of whether you win or lose, the excitement (not to mention the people watching) is usually worth the trip.
Remember that the outcomes of the games are out of your hands, but the money management component is on you. Create a financial plan and stick to it, and you’ll have a great time no matter what happens in there.