Bankroll Basics for Gamblers Who Are Terrible With Money

Dictionary image of Bankroll and Hands with Money

When it comes to managing money, some are perfectly capable of doing so, while others aren’t as fortunate. Financial responsibility requires one to act with self-discipline and maintain complete honesty with themselves.

It’s often far easier to ignore the future implications of one’s spending than to spend money responsibly. But every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and at some point, those decisions can be detrimental.

Day-to-day money management might be challenging enough, but it’s often far more challenging to spend responsibly while gambling. If you struggle to handle money under normal circumstances, casinos can chew you up, spit you out, and leave you penniless.

Gambling is a wonderful hobby for many but can be a source of anxiety and depression due to potential financial duress. That’s especially true for gamblers who can’t seem to keep money in their wallets.

However, poor financial habits are not irreversible, and proper money management can be learned over time. Similarly, managing a casino bankroll is a skill that can and should be picked up by the gambling public.

Before you find yourself in financial turmoil, here are the bankroll basics for gamblers who are downright awful with money.

1 ‒ What Exactly Is a Bankroll?

Bankrolls are a topic that many gamblers, especially irresponsible ones, tend to overlook. These gamblers are often either younger, brand new to gambling, or veterans who have no sense of self-control.

The money mistakes young and inexperienced gamblers often commit are often due to ignorance. While the gambling community is typically quick to offer new players advice, a very small amount deals with money.

I find many gamblers go through the early stages of their time gambling without knowing what a bankroll even is. So, that begs the question, what exactly is a bankroll?

In the simplest terms, a bankroll is the amount of money people use to gamble. That amount is subjective and usually varies from one gambler to another.

Whereas most people have a set budget for housing, car insurance, and groceries, gamblers also set aside funds for wagering if they practice sound money management habits.

A significant portion of gamblers saunter into a casino with some idea of how much they want to spend. Whether or not they stick to that amount often depends on how they do at the tables.

Disciplined gamblers can walk away once a bankroll is wiped out. Less disciplined ones tend to blow past their allowance and continue to gamble.

2 ‒ The Importance of Bankroll Management

Now that we’ve established the basics of what a bankroll is, it’s time to discuss the significance. Simply knowing about a bankroll isn’t enough; you must also weigh how it factors into the gambling experience.

When thinking about gambling, it’s likely that one’s mind is filled with pleasant thoughts and images, as it should be. Gambling is a fantastic form of entertainment and the go-to hobby of countless individuals.

Handing Out Money

But it’s irresponsible to ignore the fact that poor gambling habits have ruined many people’s lives. No one necessarily enjoys considering this, but it’s important to remain grounded and honest with yourself.

Failing to do so can lead to disaster, as casual gambling can quickly spiral into an addiction if you’re not careful. To limit those chances, gamblers should establish a bankroll and stick to it. Money can be both won and lost at a rapid pace inside casinos. A strict budget will keep gambler’s spending habits within reason.

3 ‒ Common Pitfalls Gamblers Face

Casinos are captivating and tend to make it easy for gamblers to spend more money than they intended. Gamblers who walk into a casino without a solid plan or financial responsibility set themselves up for failure.

An unfortunate thing about financial irresponsibility is that it’s typically paired with other bad habits. These tend to include an inability to gamble intelligently, maintain sobriety, and even a complete lack of emotional maturity.

The type of person I’m describing is a significant reason casinos stay in business.

Once inside a casino, some gamblers find it hard to leave, regardless of how they’re faring. It’s impossible to walk away from a heater, and there’s always a chance of redemption if losses are piling up.

The situation I just described happens every single day all around the world.

Lacking emotional maturity and discipline makes it nearly impossible to act responsibly and with foresight. The potential fallout of poor decisions made while gambling is something many don’t consider.

Instead, those consequences will be waiting for you in the not so distant future.

4 ‒ Figuring Out a Bankroll Size That Works for You

Once you decide that it’s time to use a bankroll going forward, you must calculate an amount that works for you.

A bankroll can be however large or small you want it to be. Some gamblers’ bankrolls will be thousands of dollars, while others will be a tiny portion of that.

There isn’t a universally accepted method to calculate a bankroll’s funds. But there are a few things to consider that might help you settle on a specific bankroll size.

Gambling should be relatively stress-free and enjoyable. Nobody should put themselves in a position to fret about money while playing casino games.

To avoid potential stress, never gamble with money you can’t afford to lose. When setting my bankroll, I often ask myself if I would be alright if I lose every last cent.

If that question gives me pause, I lower the amount. I have no interest in stressing about money while I’m supposed to be partaking in one of my favorite pastimes.

For the sake of simplicity, your bankroll should be an amount that, if lost, wouldn’t make you lose any sleep.

5 ‒ How to Stick to Your Bankroll

Sticking to your bankroll can be an uphill battle. It takes an incredible amount of discipline to leave a casino instead of chasing losses.

That’s especially true considering you’ll likely walk past a handful of ATMs on your walk towards the exit. The temptation to deviate from a game plan and continue gambling is hard for some gamblers to ignore.

ATM Bill Breaker in a Casino

All you have to do is swipe your card, punch a few buttons, grab your cash, and you can get back to gambling. But doing this can create a slippery slope and lead to the development of bad habits.

Instead, it’s always worth following through with the promise you made before you started gambling. Sure it might seem tempting to make a run at winning your money back.

But remember the thought process that led you to decide on the particular amount of money you’re gambling.

Losses will sting, but as long as you knew there was a chance you’d never see that money again, they’re easier to deal with.

6 ‒ When to Call It Quits

As I said in a previous point, it’s essential to understand the devastating effects gambling can have.

Gambling addiction is a serious problem for many people. As is the case with other forms of addiction, it’s easy for a gambling addict to ignore obvious issues and dig an even deeper hole.

People who love to gamble but can’t spend money in a responsible manner are at a significant disadvantage. Most dealers and casino personnel will tell you how prevalent and utterly soul-crushing gambling addiction is. Unfortunately, people who are terrible with money are prime candidates.

If you fear that you’re losing control and your gambling habits are getting out of hand, there are a few questions worth considering:

  • Are my gambling decisions impacting my life outside of the casino?
  • Do I constantly find myself blowing past my bankroll?
  • Is gambling no longer fun?

What you do inside a casino should not carry over into other aspects of your life. If feelings of joy gambling used to bring you are replaced by dread and anxiety, it’s worth taking some time off.


Unfortunately, poor spending habits outside of a casino often lead to poor spending habits inside a casino. A gambler who lacks financial responsibility won’t magically start spending money responsibly at casino tables. But that shouldn’t dissuade you from gambling.

Instead, you should create and execute a solid bankroll management strategy. Proper bankrolls, or one’s gambling budget, are a must-have for any skilled and disciplined gambler.

While they don’t have to be any particular amount, that amount shouldn’t cause any stress.

Gamblers who can’t control their spending habits might find it hard to avoid spending a significant amount of money—especially if there is no plan in place or no budget set.

Once you’ve agreed upon an amount, you must hold yourself accountable and not spend beyond your limits. Doing so will enable you to gamble longer and help you avoid any serious financial ramifications.