You win some, you lose some. Unfortunately, for the majority of bettors, a casino trip ends in the latter.
The thrill of having a chance at hitting it big is worth the price of admission, but it would certainly be nice if consistent winning could be part of the plan – even if it’s just a small amount. You may not have stopped going back, but losing money at the casino isn’t a sustainable financial strategy.
In the following article, I’m going to lay out the most common reasons gamblers keep losing money at the casino, and then explain what you can do about it.
1 – You Don’t Have a Bankroll
It’s not the most fun part of gambling, but it’s undoubtedly the most important. Having a defined casino bankroll is the first step to avoiding big losses and managing your money effectively.
If you aren’t familiar with the term, your bankroll is the pool of money that you’ve set aside explicitly for gambling. You can create one just for a single day, or keep one going if you’re a frequent gambler.
The first thing to consider when setting up your bankroll is that it should only include an amount of money or cash that you’re willing to lose. Essentially, you should think of it like a purchase or an investment where you may or may not ever see that money again.
The reason it’s so important to have a bankroll when you enter the casino is because it’s a not-so-subtle reminder that you shouldn’t keep gambling once you’ve reached a certain loss amount. It prevents a bad day at the casino from seriously hurting you financially.
When you set aside your money, the very next step of creating a bankroll is determining a percentage or range between which you can place bets.
For example, if you have a $500 bankroll you might say that you’ll only bet between 2% and 5% of your total amount on any one bet. That means nothing less than $10, and nothing more than $25. This is important to note because it will help you realize which minimums you can afford. That $50 minimum blackjack table just wouldn’t be a prudent decision with this amount.
Keep track of your bankroll number as much as possible, and calculate where you’re at every time you take a break. Again, a bankroll isn’t the most exciting thing, but it is the most important.
2 – You Never Take Breaks
I’ll let you in on a secret – every single game in the casino (with the exception of poker) is slightly tilted in the house’s favor. That means, statistically speaking, the more you bet or play, the more likely it is that you’ll lose money.
Regardless of whether or not you’re winning, it’s crucial to step away every so often in order to recalibrate. If you’re on a hot streak this can be especially difficult, but walking away before your luck turns in the other direction might just be the best thing you can do.
It’s completely understandable that in the heat of a real money roulette or blackjack game that you’ll get sucked into the action. To combat this inevitability, try setting a 30-minute timer on your cell phone that will alert you to take a lap around the casino, use the restroom, or do any other activity besides gambling.
Even the best gamblers have a hard time thinking clearly when they’re in the middle of a streak. Don’t fall victim to this by utilizing the timer trick
3 – You’re Picking the Wrong Games
One thing that you simply can’t afford to overlook when trying to come out of the casino ahead is the games you’re playing. Yes, there are several different ones that all give you roughly the same odds, but others need to be avoided entirely.
Unfortunately, slot machines rank near the top of the list of games that should not be played by gamblers hoping to maximize their bankroll. Although they’re fun, easy, addicting, and can occasionally result in a big jackpot, the risk doesn’t match the potential reward.
Besides simply looking at the odds involved with slots, it’s important to take another factor into account – the number of turns you can run through in a short amount of time.
As I mentioned previously, all games are slightly tilted in the house’s favor. The more you bet or play, the more it’s likely that you are eventually going to have the numbers regress to the mean, which results in you losing.
With slots, you can do hundreds of spins in an hour, meaning that it’s more likely than not the statistical probabilities will come through, and that’s bad news for gamblers.
I won’t say that slot machines should never be played, but they should never be played for long periods of time. If you’re able to win money, quit before things start going the other way.
Another mistake players often make that costs them is choosing 6/5 blackjack. The majority of blackjack games pay 3/2 meaning you’ll get a higher payout if you hit blackjack.
The tricky thing about this one is that you often won’t notice the difference if you don’t actively look for it. Before playing any blackjack game, make sure it’s 3/2 and not 6/5. It’s a near guarantee that there’s one somewhere in the casino.
4 – You’re a Victim of the Gambler’s Fallacy
I see this one happening on roulette more than any other game, but it can be applied to just about everything in the casino.
For example, if in roulette the ball has landed on red 4 times in a row, it’s “due” to be black in the next couple of spins. This is an example of one of the worst casino gambling strategies.
The reality is that each spin is its own thing. The fact that it was red on the last spin, or the last 100 spins, has absolutely no impact on what the next spin will be.
It’s hard to wrap your mind around the concept, and many people would probably argue that it’s human nature to think in terms of this fallacy. However, now that you know about it, you can potentially avoid it.
5 – You Drink Too Much
You can go to the casino to have a good time, you can go to the casino to win money, but accomplishing both at the same time is difficult.
I’m not against having a few drinks while still maintaining your original gambling strategy, but if you’re drinking to the point where you start making poor decisions, your finances are not going to be in good shape.
Simply put, alcohol exacerbates the personality traits that lead to losing money at a casino. Unnecessary risk taking, thoughtless decisions, and irrational wishful thinking are exactly what the casino wants – and it’s exactly what alcohol accomplishes.
Like I said, have fun and let loose if you want – but factor that in and consider the effect it will likely have on both your bankroll and bank account.
If you are going out with friends, regardless of it’s in Las Vegas or your hometown, consider lowering your bankroll for that trip. If it’s more about the good times than the money, prioritize accordingly.
Few people can consistently win money at casinos. Perhaps the reason is that most people violate one of, if not all of, the five things described in this article.
The good news? It’s never too late to change. Watch your alcohol intake, have a bankroll, choose the right games, and you’ll be on your way to being successful.