9 Reasons Why You Bust Your Gambling Bankroll in 1 Hour

Roll of Money and Casino Chips on Fire

Do you ever feel like casinos are ripping you off? And sometimes, this feeling is especially prevalent when you lose $200, or so, within less than an hour.

Casinos are only supposed to carry between a 1% and 5% house edge with most games. But you definitely feel like their edge is 50% when your money vanishes so quickly.

I can say with complete confidence that you’re not losing due to crooked casinos. Instead, you’re making one or more big mistakes that cause you to quickly bust out.

That said, you can read about the following nine reasons why your bankroll is disappearing insanely fast in the casino.

1 – You Don’t Account for Volatility

Assuming you consider return to player (RTP) before playing casino games, then you’re already ahead of many gamblers.

RTP is a great factor to focus on, because it relates directly to your long-term chances of winning. The key word here, though, is “long term.”

Assuming that you lose your bankroll too quickly, then you might need to consider the short term. Volatility is a good measure of whether you can win now rather than later.

This term refers to how likely your short-term results are to match the RTP. If there’s not much variation, like with blackjack, then you have a stronger chance of achieving the RTP of your chosen game.

High volatility, on the other hand, suggests that your results could be all over the board. You may win big during one session, then lose all your money within 10 minutes the next time out.

2 – You Play Slot Machines

Slot machines are definitely the most volatile games in the casino. Volatile slots don’t pay very frequently due to their large prizes.

Assuming these games delivered frequent payouts, then casinos and developers would lose serious money whenever a player hit the jackpot.

A Row of Reeled Slot Machines

A slot machine with 97% RTP looks excellent on the surface. But if it has a huge jackpot and high volatility, then it could quickly take your money.

You can still find certain slot machines that aren’t so volatile. By and large, though, you should stick with these games if you don’t want to lose quickly.

3 – Your Slots Bets Are Too High

You’ll only compound potential bankroll problems by introducing large bets into the equation. If you wager $1 or more per spin, then you’ll need big payouts to sustain your bankroll.

Here’s an example to illustrate this point.

  • You bet $1 per spin
  • You perform 700 spins per hour
  • 700 x 1 = $700 wagered in total
  • The house edge is 5%
  • 700 x 0.05 = $35 in hourly losses

Unfortunately, some slot machines force you to place big wagers. This thought is especially true in land-based casinos. You may be required to play as many as 300 lines for one penny apiece ($3 total).

But you don’t have to settle for these types of games. You can either continue hunting a given land-based casino or just play online slots.

The latter offers flexible betting options that usually let you wager anywhere from $0.20 to $100 per spin.

4 – You Fake It ‘Til You Make It With Skill-Based Games

Skill-based gaming is an exciting alternative to traditional house-banked casino games. After all, it gives you the opportunity to win long-term profits.

Popular skill-based forms of gambling include daily fantasy sports (DFS), esports betting, poker (e.g. Texas hold’em), and sports betting.

You’ve probably noticed the profile of a successful pro from one or more of these games. For example, poker pros are often depicted as serious and aggressive.

Therefore, you may immediately copy them by betting big and trying to intimidate opponents. The only problem is that you don’t have the experience or skill to back up your blind aggression.

Faking it ‘til you make it with these forms of gambling leads to wagering way too much. Assuming you’re inexperienced, then you’ll lose money faster than when playing a typical house-banked game.

5 – You Think That Comps Are Actually Worth the Extra Play

Comps are always nice to receive no matter if you’re playing slot machines or table games. You can get free buffet passes, drinks, limo rides, and hotel stays at land-based venues. Meanwhile, you’ll be privy to deposit bonuses, comp points, and free spins at online casinos.

These rewards incentivize you to continue gambling. However, you are more likely to bust your bankroll by gambling big and/or extending your playing volume just to pick up these rewards.

Comps are never worth anywhere close to what you stand to lose. These casino “freebies” aren’t free at all when breaking down the math.

Here’s an example.

  • You play a blackjack game with a 1.5% house edge
  • You gamble $10,000 over the course of your session
  • 10,000 x 0.015 = $150 in theoretical losses
  • Comp rate is 0.05%
  • 10,000 x 0.0005 = $5 in comps
  • 150 / 5 = 30
  • Your theoretical losses are worth 30x the rewards in this instance.

Despite the grim math, you can still look forward to comps as a fun part of casino gaming. However, you should never put your bankroll on the line just to earn more of them.

6 – You’re Always Focused on Big Jackpots

Going back to volatility, games with the largest jackpots are less likely to offer short-term winnings. Again, they’d force the house to lose lots of money if they both paid frequently and offered big jackpots.

Of course, you might still be lured by six- and seven-figure prizes. They allow you to get rich much faster than grinding your way up the stakes.

The problem, though, is that you also deal with far more volatility in these instances. Your odds of losing your bankroll again and again are much greater than winning a jackpot.

If you still want to chase big progressive prizes, then you should consider only dedicating a small portion of your play to such games. This way, you can still go for huge prizes without losing everything too quickly.

7 – You Like to Try Risky and Downright Stupid Strategies

Perhaps you’re not adept at strategy for most casino games and other forms of gambling. But even in this case, you probably realize that conservative approaches are best until you eventually become a better gambler.

Nevertheless, some strategies call on you to forgo all logic and chase the biggest prizes. While these approaches might offer plenty of thrills, they usually end in disaster.

Here are a few of the worst extreme casino strategies.

  • Going all in on every poker hand (I’ve seen too many online players do this)
  • Making huge sports bets when you have a good “feeling” about a certain games
  • Only chasing royal flushes in video poker
  • Using your entire poker bankroll for a single tournament buy-in (e.g. $10k for WSOP Main Event)

Each of these plans can pay off big if they work. However, they’re statistically far more likely to fail and cost you all your money.

8 – You Gamble With People Wealthier Than You

Gambling is always more fun when you do it with your closest buddies. Playing casino games with friends brings a social element into the fold.

Hopefully, though, your friend circle isn’t full of people who can comfortably place wagers that are far more than you can afford.

You may be quite disciplined at bankroll management under normal circumstances, but you’ll probably gamble above your means when you’re around wealthier peers.

You’re even more likely to fall into this trap when the alcohol starts flowing. That said, you should gamble with a different group of friends or at least limit your number of drinks.

9 – You Use the Martingale

The Martingale is one of the simplest and most popular betting systems in any type of gambling. It calls on you to double bets following every loss. Once you finally net a win, you return to the original wager.

Here’s an example of the Martingale in play.

  • You bet $10 on a roulette spin and lose (bankroll at -$10)
  • You bet $20 on a roulette spin and lose (bankroll at -$30)
  • You bet $40 on a roulette spin and lose (bankroll at -$70)
  • You bet $80 on a roulette spin and lose (bankroll at -$150)
  • You win $160 on a roulette spin (bankroll at +$10)

The amazing thing in this example is that you collect $10 despite only winning one out of five wagers. You may think that the Martingale is a godsend as a result.

It theoretically could deliver profits in every session. However, the problem with it is twofold.

  1. You’d need an infinite bankroll to guarantee that you’d never lose everything with the Martingale.
  2. Casino tables have betting limits to reduce this system’s effectiveness.

You can still experience plenty of short-term success with the Martingale. However, you should never view it as a path towards riches.


If you’ve gambled for any measurable amount of time, you’ve probably lost your funds within 30 to 60 minutes a time or two. You likely felt robbed in the aftermath as well.

Luckily, you don’t have to settle for short and uninspiring gambling sessions. You can stretch your gambling dollar much further just by focusing on simple concepts.

First off, you shouldn’t be playing volatile games if you’re all about playing longer. Slot machines and any other jackpot game/bet (i.e. Caribbean Stud side bet) don’t offer much value in the short run.

An Ornate Roulette Wheel

You also want to avoid mimicking the pros in skill-based games. Unless you’re a DFS or sports betting expert, for example, then you shouldn’t try betting or playing like a professional gambler.

Another pitfall to avoid includes overvaluing comps. VIP rewards are certainly nice, but they never offer enough value to warrant chasing them.

You may be tempted to try a wild strategy or popular betting system from time to time. If you go this route, though, then you should be willing to lose everything.

In summary, you should look over the nine topics covered here if you’re tired of busting out too quickly. You’ll stand a better chance of extending your play and even winning money with the right mindset.