bankroll management

Bankroll Management – How To Handle Gambling Money

Managing the money is crucial in all things in life. Whether we are talking about our monthly budget or credit payments, people are usually pretty good at knowing how much money they have and how to distribute it to pay for what needs to be paid. This is true in most things, but gambling is not one of those things for the majority of us.

Gambling has a strange power of making people play well beyond their means and forgetting about what they are really risking. Prudent gamblers understand that good bankroll management is probably more important than any other skill you can have while playing casino games.

Knowing perfect strategy, following betting systems and all other gamblers’ tricks can work pretty well, but if you end up running out of cash, the game will end and you will go home empty handed. For this reason, it is crucial to understand what bankroll management is and to follow it as strictly as possible.

Risking big can lead to a fast and massive winning streak, but in more cases, it leads to going broke and losing everything you have. On the other hand, smart and steady betting with the bankroll you have at your disposal will give you a chance to get the best of the money and have a real chance at winning.

How Much Do I Need to Gamble?

This is one of the questions you will often hear among older gamblers, and one that is absolutely nonsensical. Pretty much every gambler out there believes that their level of gambling is the right one. For instance, you will often see high stakes gamblers laughing at people betting $10 per hand of blackjack and the lower stakes punters whispering about the crazy Chinese who just lost $100.000 at the baccarat table.

The real truth is that there is no right amount to gamble, just like there is no right amount to spend on clothes or a dinner. Everyone does what they can afford and you should not be looking to gamble beyond what you can afford. In fact, you should probably gamble lower than that, as this way you will not be risking any money that you need for other things in your life.


Game Type Betting Unit Recommended Bankroll
Video Slots Low Variance $1 $200
Video Slots High Variance $1 $500
Card Games BJ/Poker/Baccarat $10 $300
Roulette Even Money $10 $250
Roulette Numbers Betting $10 $1.000

Remember that gambling is just fun and entertainment and it should under no circumstances be considered as a way of getting rich fast. Chances are you will not get rich fast in a casino anytime soon and if you bet too much you will more likely go home without a dime.

If other players or anyone else is convincing you as to how much you should gamble, remember to keep a straight head and think about what you can really afford to lose. Once a losing streak starts, it can be difficult to do that, but if you don’t, things will only get worse for you.

Choosing Your Bets

How much you bet in a particular game should depend on a number of factors. Naturally, you cannot bet the same amount on a spin of roulette or a video slots spin, as the odds and probabilities are different. The base unit you are betting should be determined by comparing your bankroll with the volatility of the game at hand.

Card games like blackjack or baccarat offer steady payouts, which means that having a few dozen units should be enough to keep you going for a while. On the other hand, if you are going to bet on numbers on roulette, you will need a bigger bankroll compared to the base unit and video slots will require you to have at least a few hundred spins worth of ammo.

Very often, you will see gamblers do it wrong one way or the other. While some players will bet half of what they brought to a casino, thinking that this is their lucky spin, others will keep betting very small and leave themselves with almost no chance at actually winning money. The smart gambler is the one who understands the game he is playing and adjusts his bets based on the game’s volatility and payout potential.

Video Slots Bankroll Strategy

Slots are probably the one game where it can be the most difficult to determine how much money you need to keep spinning at a certain coin value. This is because every slot game is different, and each of them offers you a different chance at a big payout as well as more or less frequent small payouts.

When you are playing low volatility slots, you will likely not need a massive bankroll. There are many slots out there where 100 bets will last you a very long time, as they have a very solid hit rate and well over half the spins end up with the player winning back some of the money invested.

On the other hand, there are slots with few paylines and many symbols that hardly ever pay anything, and once they do, the payouts are usually pretty big. These slots can easily get into a long losing streak, and it is not unusual to go for 300 or 400 spins without a decent win or a feature triggered.

The frustration that losing streaks can lead to is the main reason that some players increase their bet past what they can realistically afford and  one of the most misunderstood concepts. If you are playing slots and hoping that for some reason you will not have losing streaks, you are just wrong.

The thing to do is consider how volatile the slot is, set your bet at a level where you are not likely to go bust anytime soon and hope that you do run a bit better than average, so that you would come away on top.

Card Games and Roulette Bankroll Management

Casino card games are probably the easiest to have a decent bankroll for as they usually offer modest payouts for things that are close to even money to happen. For instance, in blackjack or baccarat, you will be winning many hands, which is why bringing 200 units to the table is simply redundant.

Winning and losing streaks still do happen, but bringing some 30 to 40 units to a blackjack table should be enough. When you are gambling online, it is smart to deposit such an amount and start playing. If you run good, you can walk away at some point and if you run bad and lose this deposit, there is absolutely no shame in quitting. Chasing after the losses is the best way to lose big very fast anyway.

Roulette is one of the games where bankroll strategy is the most difficult to talk about, because every player has his way of betting. If you were to bet on red or black every spin, you would not need a large bankroll at all, as the events are close to 50/50 to happen. On the other hand, players who have their own numbers they like to bet and who don’t cover too much of the table will need a lot more betting units as the losing streaks are much more likely in such games.

Still, no matter which table game you choose, bankroll management is much easier when playing table games opposed to slots as the table games simply have a much more consistent payout rate and don’t offer any massive jackpots that slots usually do.

Chasing Losses and Quitting While Ahead

If you know the first thing about gambling, you have probably heard that chasing your losses is the worst thing you can do. This is in fact true and unlike many other things that gamblers say, you should indeed never chase your losses. As already mentioned in this guide, keeping consistent with your bets and always betting the same amount until you have significantly increased your bankroll is the way to go.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that all gambling games are games of streaks. When you are on a winning streak, things may seem easy and you may think that nothing could even go wrong. This quickly changes when cards start falling the other way, which is why quitting while you are ahead is a lesson every successful gambler will teach you.

Don’t be greedy and keep betting until you have a chip in front of you. Think ahead about what you would realistically like to win at a game. If things are going well and you are close to your imaginary number, there is absolutely nothing wrong with walking away and coming back another day. This way, you not only get to play longer and risk less, but you also get that thrilling sensation of going to sleep knowing you are a winner on the day. After all, it is this sensation that most players actually play for, so why not give yourself that satisfaction.

What Poker Players Can Teach Us

Poker games such as Hold’em or Omaha have long been regarded as games of skill with a luck element and the numbers of professional poker players who have made a fortune playing them go a long way to testify to this. However, even in these skill based games, luck plays a part and poker players understand this, which is why they will never go into a game on their last dime.

No matter the skill level, things can go wrong at the poker table and even a long odds underdog can get there on occasion. For this reason, poker players practice bankroll management as one of the key skills when they are developing their overall gameplay strategy. It is not uncommon to see a poker player build up a bankroll of 300x their total buyin for a game before they start playing such a game.

Poker players do this to reduce their risk of ruin, a mathematical factor that can be calculated based on a number of elements. If poker players are doing it in games where skill plays a massive part, just think about how important it is to use when playing casino games where luck is the more important element.

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