How to Manage Your Casino Bankroll
In this article, I am going to show you how to manage your money at the casino and how to make your bankroll last more than it ever did.
The art of managing a casino bankroll is what separates winners from losers.
The only way to survive on the casino floor is to learn how to use the money you have in the smartest possible way and you learn how to base your game choices on the bets you can afford.
People say you should play the casino games with the best odds, and they are awfully right. What they never do, however, is to give you real tips on how much money you need to bring to the casino.
Why Is Bankroll Management So Important?
According to the Mensa Guide to Casino Gambling - a true classic every player should read (at least) once in their lives - you should only bet "what you can afford to lose."
While you might be in it for the big wins, you need to realize that you need skills, time, and luck to beat the house. Before that happens, you will lose - and the only way to survive is to be prepared to deal with a losing streak.
Trust me, you can’t imagine how many people I have seen going broke during the decade I spent in gambling.
I am not talking about those crazy Asian gamblers that flock to the Casino Barriére in Enghien-les-Bains as soon as they they day is over at their restaurants in Paris, I am talking about the real gamblers, those who try to make a living out of gambling and who live on casino strategy books.
You can’t quit while you are ahead if you don’t know how to manage your bankroll.
For how good they can be at finding the best winning strategies, at counting cards, and at finding even the loopholes, they are all doomed to going broke if they don't know how to size their bets and manage their bankroll.
In gambling as in life, bankroll management is the key to success. Exactly as you don’t buy a $4k flat screen TV unless you can afford it, you don’t want to play games you don’t have money for.
On this page, you find a list of useful tips that will show you how to assess what you have and how to manage your money at the casino.
Reading these bankroll management tips will help you become a better gambler. Understanding them, will make you a winner.
Practical Tips to Sizing Your Bets
Casino.com features some of the best live casino games and some of the prettiest live dealers on the internet. For months, I ended up at their tables to enjoy some live action and to talk to the ones that run the games.
Almost every time I was there, someone went broke.
While I suspect the pretty ladies might have something to do with it, I noticed that all the biggest losers had something in common: they didn’t know how to bet.
The moment the dealer convince a John Doe to bet $25 with a bankroll of $100, is the one you understand that:
- Your John Doe doesn’t know what he’s doing
- Your John Doe won’t quit while he’s ahead
- That dealer is good
Putting at risk 1/4 of your capital in a single hand of blackjack is not just wrong, it’s stupid. It reduces your chances to get the money back in case of a losing hand and it is a clear signal of poor bankroll management.
How Much Money Should You Play at The Casino?
You don’t want to know how much money you shouldn’t play, you are here to know how much money you should play. You want to know how much you should invest on your games and, guess what, I am here to tell you exactly that.
To make things easier, let’s continue with the $100 example and let’s stick to live blackjack.
Before you sit at the table to play, you need to know what’s the table minimum bet.
Again, you don’t want to know how much you can win. You want to know how much can lose.
Learn to think like a loser. That’s how you become a winner.
Unless you are a very good player, you shouldn’t play anything that costs more than $2 if all you have is a $100 bankroll.
Fifty hands of blackjack are a very small amount to stay on the safe side. My suggestion would be to play $0.5 / $1 games, but I understand that $2/hand is probably the most reasonable bet for most of the people coming to CasinoSmash.
Avoid Extreme Bets
The reason why I suggest you to play $2 even if I believe that $0,5 or $1 would be a far smarter choice is a psychological one.
While you need to play only what you can afford to lose ($100) and what gives you a fair number of tries ($2/hand), you also need to make sure you play enough money to care about what you are doing.
If there’s one skill we can learn from poker players - they are the true masters of bankroll management -, it’s the ability to bet an amount that doesn’t make you "pot committed" an yet is still big enough to make you care about what the outcomes of your bet.
If a $0,5 bet at blackjack gives you access to a $1,5 win, is that enough for you to care?
If all a $0,05 spin at the slots can give you is a $0.5 prize, does that make it worth your while?
I know it wouldn’t be enough for me because that would kill my interested in the game. That's why I don't waste my time on those games. Any experienced gambler know that the moment you stop caring about your losses because you bet too little, it's the moment you are on a losing path.
You need to care about what you do. You need not to be scare of losing (if that happens, you are playing too much) and you need to be thrilled by the opportunity of putting together a win that means something to you.
If $0,5 is nothing for you, why do you spend your time on those penny slots? Ask yourself this the next time you play slots. I am sure you won't play the same games ever again.
What Is Scared Money?
To conclude this quick guide to managing your bankroll, let’s have a look at what gamblers call "scared money," a.k.a. the money you should never play.
Speaking about scared money, Ritholtz Wealth Management financial advisor Joshua M. Brown once said that "scared money don’t make no money," advising trader not to ever invest what they are not 100 percent sure they can afford to lose.
Similarly, Forex trader and founder of of Daily Price Action Justin Bennett once spoke on the subject of scared money to warn his clients that trading with scared money "is a surefire way to fail at this endeavor."
"Attempting to justify the use of rent money, your grocery budget or any funds needed to pay for living expenses as risk capital is a huge mistake," Bennett continues.
"Despite this truth, many Forex traders still attempt to do so every day. And the advent of brokers accepting debit and credit cards for deposits has further blurred the line between living costs and risk capital."
In this case, gambling is exactly like trading. You should never gamble with money that you are afraid to lose. This puts you at risk both from a financial and a psychological standpoint, since losing scared money can cause emotional side effects that are extremely hard to control.
Gambling and losing scared money will lead to you second-guessing yourself and bring in the gambler’s biggest enemy: fear.
The moment you bet your scared money, your confidence begins to fade, making it harder to concentrate and to keep that clear mind that is essential to get good results at the table.
You start to hope you will win your bets - and there’s nothing more dangerous for you than to rely on hope.
Once again, Bennett helps us to understand how bad this can be for a trader and a gambler. "When it comes to trading, the word "hope" is a four-letter-word," Bennett goes on to explain. "Said differently, it’s a bad word and one that has no place in the markets."
"As soon as you begin hoping for a particular outcome, you open the door for unwanted emotions to creep in such as fear and greed." And the moment that happens, you are doomed.
How to Start Small And Grow Your Bankroll
Unless you are already a pro, chances are you need to grow your bankroll from zero, and that can be a very frustrating experience.
Not knowing where to start from, is the most common issue among beginners. To help you move your first steps in the casino world and build your first bankroll, I put together a list of the top five online casinos for beginners.
These rooms give you the best bang for your bucks. They have the highest bonuses available right now and they allow you to build a bankroll with no deposit needed.
It’s not going to be easy nor quick, but these are the best casinos deals you can find today. Get all the free spins and free money they offer, and use them to build a bankroll remembering that you should never bet more than 1/50 or 1/20 of what you have.