How to Decide When to Change Tables

Closeup of Two Different Casino Tables

Casino gambling is full of up and down swings that can be attributed to a host of variables. The most notable is the unpredictable nature of casino games.

Games of chance are known for being entertaining and fickle. That’s part of what makes gambling in casinos such a great experience.

However, when chance falls in the opposite direction, or Lady Luck goes missing in action, it’s sometimes advisable to change the scene.

Now, I don’t subscribe to the notion that changing tables will bring you any luck. I do believe making a move is sometimes necessary for your mental acuity and overall well-being.

Here are a few of my best pieces of advice and what to look for regarding how to decide when to change tables. Making a change at the right time could save your bankroll or merely make the trip more fun.

Once Your Buy-In Disappears

Many casino tables require some sort of buy-in. Other games have a natural sort of buy-in as you take your seat and exchange your chips for cash.

Hopefully, you’re not exercising such poor bankroll management that you lay your whole kitty on the table. If this sounds like a solid play or you’re trying to figure out what bankroll management is, stop now and read one of my articles covering money management.

For the rest of you, let’s take a closer look at how this applies to your gambling sessions. The most apparent area this will be seen is during poker games with a minimum buy in.

Some players will immediately walk away, take a break, and join another table. I can understand the mindset, but it’s not always the best option.

If you were subject to a bad beat or got caught in an aggressive hand, that’s not a reason to walk away. Conversely, suppose you get drained by being a weaker poker player than several others. In that case, it’s a good thing you got out as early as possible.

I don’t always walk away from a table when my buy-in disappears, but it can be a good rule when you’re on a tight budget or looking to extend your bankroll.

Listen to Your Gut

Gamblers feel like they’re more intuitive than the average man or woman walking down the street. At the bare minimum, we like to give the impression that we are whenever possible.

I regularly watch casino gamblers and sports bettors let their money ride on something as simple as a hunch. We all know how this goes more often than not, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t listen to that small voice inside of you.

Whenever I get a gut feeling about something, it’s usually accompanied by reasons that appear to be imperceivable at the time. By tuning into the surroundings, it’s possible to start tapping into these gut feelings and knowing when to listen.

Multiple Blackjack Hands on a Table

At the least, you’ll need to understand that this feeling will probably lead to some negative feelings if ignored. For instance, a gut feeling to call an opponent at the poker table could lead to a rash of second-guessing or hoping for what might have been had you called.

At the first inclination that it’s time to move tables, get up and find a new game. Little good can come from choosing to ride it out.

When You Hit Your Win/Loss Limit

It’s vital to your long-term success in the casino to be setting hard win and loss limits before you get to the casino. These limits represent your walking away point for both winning or losing at the games.

So, if my win limit is $500, I’m grabbing my money and heading for safe harbor as soon as I reach that number.

Conversely, it’s equally critical that you have a healthy loss limit. Loss limits help protect gamblers from the urges to continue burning through your gambling bankroll when things aren’t going well for you.

You must take special care and attention to set realistic limits. Walking into the casino with the goal of winning $1 million is a lofty goal for nearly anybody. Still, the odds of ever getting to that number are astronomical for the majority of gamblers.

Most would be thrilled with walking out of the casino with over $1,000. Unfortunately, it could be a sad ending if you don’t walk away when you’re up to $1,000.

The casinos are banking that most gamblers will continue gambling until any winnings have been erased. Buck convention and get out before the casino can win their money back.

When You Run Out of Familiar Faces

One of the initial things I do when I sit down at a casino table is greet the other players. Passing the time between hands with idle conversation can be highly enlightening, especially in my line of work.

Sometimes the night begins to slip away, and players start to depart for various reasons. When you start running out of familiar faces, it may be an excellent time to change tables.

Each time new players sit at a table, the entire energy can change. That leads to a number of gamblers becoming uneasy or merely thrown off their game from regularly getting into a new groove.

Blackjack Players Seated at a Blackjack Table

I like to reevaluate my situation when the original players I sat with are no longer at the table. If I’m on a remarkable streak of more winning hands than losing, I’ll stick around and ride the wins.

However, if the losses are piling up or I am merely going through the motions, I’ll color up and make my way to a different table.

As Soon As the Hot Streak Ends

Whenever I’m in the middle of a winning streak, I cannot be deterred. I’ll ride a winning run of cards as far as I possibly can.

As soon as the run comes to an end, I’m off to greener pastures. The probability of the cards turning back to scorching hot is low enough to facilitate a change.

Don’t fall into the exact trap that I see many gamblers succumb to by assuming the table has another hot streak coming. Any mathematical anomalies will often see a swing towards the opposite for some time.

When you’re at a table and see a streak of wins that bolsters your bank well into the black, prepare for the eventual and abrupt halt. That will enable you to more freely collect your profit and make your way to another table.

When the Casino Pulls the Ol’ Switcheroo

I have been in the middle of several winning runs and had the casino pull the old switcheroo on the table by swapping out dealers. It doesn’t matter if you’re early in a run or the streak of wins has put an enormous influx of chips before you; many pundits will tell you it’s time to get out.

For those who are big believers in fate or the role, luck plays out on the casino floor, swapping out dealers will harpoon your positive energy almost instantly.

Spanish 21 Dealer

Don’t wait around until the cards have gone completely cold before you make your exit. Get away from the new dealer and their energy before any of your wins disappear back into the casino’s coffers.

The Other Players Are a Factor

One thing that many players will account for, whether consciously or not, is the other players around the table. I mentioned earlier how the players around a table can completely shift the dynamics of a table.

Some players are loud and boisterous; this may throw off your personal vibe. My personality type does not mesh well at all with these personalities.

So, I do my best to not sit at tables with those I deem obnoxious. It’s easy enough to merely move to another table without having to air any grievances.

That keeps me in the right headspace while focusing on the game and doesn’t require me to ruin another gambler’s day.

Another hazard of the casino floor is the openly intoxicated gambler. I try to avoid the casino guests that have had a few too many.

If you want to get the most of your casino session, the people around you play a critical role.

When You’ve Reached Your Time Limit

Setting limits is a crucial component of any successful gambler’s self-control toolbox. We’ve already covered the importance of developing and sticking to win and loss limits.

It’s equally important to monitor the amount of time your gambling. Many players will set the alarm on their watch or smartphone at regular intervals.

Closeup of Man Using a Smartphone

These breaks present players with the best opportunities to check their mental state and proceed accordingly. If you’re losing faster than you planned or aren’t having any fun, I’d suggest a table change at the minimum.

You may be better off coming back to fight another day. Casino gambling is first and foremost built for entertainment. When you’re no longer being entertained, you’ve got to face the possibility that it’s time to call it a night.

Our Final Thoughts

There’s no gambler’s handbook or a casino guide that provides a definitive outlook on how to decide when to change tables. So, it falls to each of us as individuals to make the decision for ourselves.

Once you have the notion that a change may be needed, it’s likely time to do precisely that and find another game.