7 Bets That Kill Your Bankroll Every Time

Casino Chips on Left and a Pile of Cash on Right

Protecting your bankroll is rarely covered in gambling books, yet it’s one of the vital things you have to do if you want to have a long gambling career. When you destroy your bankroll, you have to wait until you get more money before you can gamble again.

The best way to protect your bankroll is learning how to win, but most gamblers will be better off if they stop making wagers that kill their bankroll.

Here are the seven worst bets that destroy your bankroll. If you’re making any of these wagers, stop right now and find bets that treat your bankroll better.

1 – Chasing Your Losses

You’re playing roulette for real money and have lost your last four bets on red. You think that there’s no way red can miss five times in a row, but you resist the urge to bet big on red. Then, red misses the fifth time in a row. You decide you can’t wait for another spin because red is due.

You place a big bet on red and watch in anticipation as the ball bounces around and finally comes to rest. Red hasn’t won five spins in a row, so what are the odds that you won when you bet on red on the sixth spin?

The odds are only a little under 50/50 that red wins on the sixth spin. These odds are exactly the same as red winning on any spin and the reason why chasing losses can kill your bankroll.

No bet is due to hit based on anything that happened in the past. The only thing that dictates how likely a bet is to win is the odds, and the odds don’t change based on what happened a minute ago.

When you chase losses, sometimes you win and think you made the right play. But sometimes you lose, and either have to quit gambling, or you have to risk more to keep chasing the last loss. So chasing losses in gambling is never a good idea.

2 – High Cost Slot Machines

I walked through a high-limit room the last time I visited Las Vegas and saw a few slot machines that cost $10 or more per spin to play. The most I’ve ever played per spin on a slots game is $3, and even that was too much for my bankroll.

Slot machines, in general, are bankroll killers, and the higher you bet on each spin, the faster the machine kills your bankroll.

The return percentage for each slot machine varies, but the average return is somewhere between 90% and 92%. Using 90% because it’s a round number, you can see how slot machines kill your bankroll using a simple example.

You’re betting $3 per spin on a slot machine with a 90% return, and you’re taking 500 spins every 60 minutes. So your expected loss is $150 every 60 minutes.

It doesn’t seem like a big bet when you risk $3 on a spin, but when you play so many spins in a short amount of time, you end up risking more money and losing more money than playing at $10 or $20 table games.

3 – 6 to 5 Blackjack Tables

Some blackjack tables pay 3 to 2 when you get a blackjack, while others pay 6 to 5. But, overall, blackjack is a good game that offers a higher return than slot machines and most of the other games you can play in casinos.

But the difference between a table paying 3 to 2 for blackjack and 6 to 5 is much bigger than most gamblers think. So to see just how bad a 6 to 5 table hurts your bankroll, all you have to do is look at a simple example.

I’m going to use $100 per hand as the bet amount because it’s an easy number to work with, but you can adjust the numbers to your normal bet amount.

On a $100 bet, when you have blackjack, you win $150 at a table that pays 3 to 2. On a table that pays 6 to 5, you win $120. What happens to the $30 difference? The casino keeps the $30 difference.

Every time you get blackjack playing at a 6 to 5 table, you don’t make as much money as when you play at a 3 to 2 table, and this kills your bankroll.

4 – Most Craps Bets

Craps tables have a few good bets, but most of the wagers kill your bankroll. In previous sections, you learned about the return for slot machines. Most of the wagers at a craps table have similar returns similar to the returns you get from slot machines.

So when you make these bets with poor returns at the craps table, your bankroll suffers just like when you play slots games.

I could give you a list of all the bad wagers at the craps table, but it’s easier to list the good wagers because the list is shorter.

Closeup of a Casino Craps Table

The two come out roll wager options are both good bets. Don’t pass is a little better than pass, but both have returns over 98.5%. The odds wager you can place when a come out roll sets a point has a 100% return, which makes it the best wager in the casino.

Those three craps wagers are the only bets that don’t kill your bankroll. So don’t make any bet playing craps other than these three wagers.

5 – Baccarat Tie Wager

The return for the tie wager in baccarat is under 86%. You learned how quickly a return of 90% kills your bankroll when you play slots, so imagine how much worse your return is when you don’t get a return that high.

The other two bets you can make when you play baccarat are much better, with a return over 98.7%. These two bets rank in the top five for returns available in most casinos.

So, if you play baccarat, you’re getting a good return when you bet on the player or banker. But any bet on the tie is killing your bankroll.

6 – All in Poker Strategy

If you watch televised poker tournaments, one of the most exciting plays is when a player shoves their chips into the center of the table and says all in. If another player calls the all-in bet, one player is in danger of going home if they lose the hand.

When you play poker, there are times when going all-in is the best play. But I see many poker players use an all-in strategy too often, and there’s nothing that can kill your bankroll faster than losing an all-in poker bet.

Three Aces in Three Card Poker

When you watch televised poker tournaments, you don’t see that the best players never go all in without a huge advantage early in the tournament. Instead, they only go all-in late in the tournament when they have a big advantage or are in danger of busting out of the tournament and have to make a stand.

The exception to this is when a player with a big stack is playing against an opponent who has a smaller stack, and the big stack uses their chip advantage as leverage against the smaller stack.

7 – Betting on Sports without Handicapping

Millions of gamblers bet on sporting events, but only a small percentage of gamblers know how to handicap games. So when you bet on games without handicapping them first, you might as well flip a coin to pick the teams you bet on.

If you’re not handicapping sporting events, you shouldn’t bet on them. If you want to bet a few dollars on a game now and then, it’s ok. But don’t risk a lot of money betting on sports until you learn handicapping skills.

Handicappers spend a lot of time studying teams, players, and statistics to find an edge before they make a bet. And they still lose almost half the time. You don’t have any chance, other than luck, to make money betting on sports without handicapping the games.

Conclusion

If you want to protect your bankroll, you can’t chase losses. You might win for a little bit, but eventually, you’re going to destroy your entire bankroll. Playing slots machines for $2.50 or higher per spin runs thousands through the machine every hour, and if you don’t get lucky, your bankroll takes a big hit.

6 to 5 blackjack tables, most craps wagers, and the tie bet in baccarat all kill your bankroll, so stop making these wagers. Finally, betting on sports without handicapping games and the all-in poker strategy are also bankroll killers that need to be avoided.