You can get lucky, and you can develop your skills at every game on the floor, but if you aren’t managing your money properly, there’s a chance you’ll walk out of the casino with less than you started with.
Because you’re already in an environment where risk is part of the deal, money management takes shape in a different way in the casino. Learning how to best utilize your bankroll is what separates a sustainable gambling strategy from one that forces you to stay away from fun.
In this article, I’ll lay out what you need to know to effectively manage your money while gambling at a casino.
1 – Create a Bankroll Even If It’s Just for the Night
Ideally, if you gamble frequently you’d have a running bankroll. A bankroll, for those who don’t know, is a pool of money set aside specifically for the purpose of gambling.
A bankroll is important for several reasons. First, it helps you keep track of your money.
The second reason a bankroll is important is because it provides guidelines for how much you should wager on one play. Most experts recommend only betting between 2% and 5% of your bankroll on one bet, but you can adjust your range to fit your needs.
I’ll lay out an example that you can put into practice next time you go into the casino: Start with an amount of money you can afford to lose – I’ll say $500. Next, create the percentage range. For this example I’ll say between 2% and 10%, meaning on any given play you’ll bet between $10 and $50. It can be tempting, but don’t go over that 10% number – it’ll help keep you in the game when you start losing.
It’s really that simple! A bankroll isn’t going to make you a huge winner, but it is going to help you avoid becoming a huge loser, which is always more than half the battle.
2 – Choose the Right Games
This one is directly about money management, but it will help you from suffering big losses that set you back.
When it comes to winning money at the casino – something few people are able to do consistently – it all starts with playing the right games. If you’re frequently betting your money on high-risk games, you risk losing it all before you have a chance to hit it big.
While there are several viable options out there, I’ll keep it simple by recommending two of the games with the lowest barrier to entry (easy to learn), lowest house edge, and best return to players. These two are roulette and blackjack. These two casino classics don’t require complicated strategies to be successful. Instead, discipline becomes much more of a priority.
Understand that just because you have a near 50% of winning each time doesn’t mean that it will shake out that way. However, if you can learn the right times to take on a little extra risk, and the right time to pull back, you can make a nice profit without putting your bankroll in jeopardy.
This also seems like an appropriate time to remind you that you should be extremely wary of playing any game you don’t know. If there’s a particular game that piques your interest, try to find a free version online, and play it until you fully understand the rules.
3 – Slow Down
If you’re someone who frequents the slot machine, this piece of advice is especially important for you.
When you’re spending a good deal of time in the casino, it’s crucial to slow down your pace of play. Not only will it slow your rate of losing, but it will also give you some time to reassess your financial situation. On top of those two very important things, the longer you play, the better chance you have of getting comps from the house.
It might seem like slowing down won’t have any noticeable impact on your bottom line, and sometimes, it won’t! With that being said, there simply just isn’t a good argument against a slower pace of play.
Casinos are generally fun places to hang out. I’ll spare you the commentary on the people-watching, but suffice it to say that it can be worth the price of admission just to take a walk around the gaming floor. Remember, each minute you spend away from gambling is a minute you aren’t losing any money. If you’re lucky enough to have gotten out to a fast start, this can help you stretch your winnings further.
Now back to the comp aspect of the slower pace of play. Casinos reward players for sticking around. They know that the longer most folks play, the more they’re likely to lose. In that sense, it’s just good business to offer you, the player, some freebies to encourage you to stick around.
It might seem like a devious plan by the house, but if you’re smart and use these benefits to your advantage, it can work out in your favor. Players can earn comps in several ways, but one of the most common is simply by casino staff observing the total time you’re gambling.
When you look at the math, the longer you play = the more comps you’ll receive, and the fewer hands you play = the less money you’ll lose, the answer is simple. A slower pace of play is an easy way to practice good casino money management.
4 – Consume Minimal Alcohol
What this should really is, “Don’t drink at all if you want to give yourself the best opportunity to win money.” Fortunately, I’m going to take a realistic approach. A high percentage of players, especially those who are treating their casino trip as a vacation, are just simply going to have drinks while they play. The key is to avoid crossing over into the place where your decisions are being influenced.
I hate to sound like no-fun guy, but even just a couple of drinks is enough to seriously impact your decision-making ability. Keep in mind that it only takes one bad bet to seriously derail your entire night…or worse.
If you’re one of the types who has trouble drinking in small amounts (no judgment here), it might be best to wait until you’re finished playing to imbibe.
Let’s be honest, gambling is enough of a thrill in and of itself. Is it really worth the risk to jeopardize your winnings by becoming intoxicated? This is one lesson you don’t want to learn the hard way.
5 – Know When to Call It
We all want the big win. It’s human nature to continue to want to grow your winnings once you’re on a hot streak, but it’s almost never a good idea.
Winning money gambling is undeniably great. You get to have fun, and win money? Sign me up!
The next time you’re winning and want to walk away but your friends are begging you to keep playing, ask yourself if they’re winning or losing. Chances are, it’ll be the latter.
I get it – it is tough feeling like you’re cutting your hot streak short. If it’s any consolation, remind yourself that you’ll be working out of here with more money than you started with, and you had fun doing it. That’s what winning is all about.
Money management is at the core of any good casino player’s strategy. The discipline it takes to keep yourself from getting greedy can be painful, but this is one of the few times I can guarantee it will always be worth it.
The next time you visit the casino, keep these tips in mind and see if it helps you put any extra money back in your pocket.