The aim of gambling is, of course, to win money, but any experienced gambler will tell you that it’s unrealistic to expect to win consistently. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Successful gamblers are not just lucky, or even extremely skilled, though both luck and skill can play a big part in winning.
Most successful casino gamblers have learned perfect casino money management strategies. This means that they limit their losses, enjoy their gambling, and never go broke. Money management is a completely different skill from the skills you learn in order to play a game well, but it is perhaps the most important skill that any regular casino gambler can learn. What exactly are the elements of perfect casino money management?
Your bankroll is the money you have available to spend on gambling, or on a particular game that you’ve decided to play on a particular casino visit. Successful gamblers will have a gambling bankroll that is kept completely apart from all other funds, in a separate account. This may be your account at an online casino, or a separate bank account, but keeping your gambling fund separate from other money is the first step to good money management. Just like you would have a budget to spend on any other hobby, interest or activity, you have a budget for what you will spend on gambling.
The difference, of course, is that unlike most other hobbies or interests, with gambling your funds can go up as well as down. We’ll talk more about how winnings apply to money management later, but the important thing to know about bankrolls is that you must have one. Gambling without limits is irresponsible gambling, and what leads gamblers to go broke.
If you are a regular gambler, your bankroll, once established, should remain constant or increase. This means that if you’re on a losing streak, you should add money to your bankroll, from your other disposable income, before continuing to gamble. You may also hear gamblers referring to their bankroll for a particular game, so if you are playing roulette this evening, you can set your bankroll for that session at, say, $500, and when you reach that amount, you stop playing.
This will depend on many different factors. One of the most important is the amount you like to bet. The safest way to gamble is with a big bankroll and small bets. If you like to bet $10 at a time, then a $100 bankroll is not enough, but if you are betting $1 at a time, then your $100 bankroll goes a lot further. If you like to bet $1,000 at a time, then you might be more comfortable with a bankroll of $100,000. The money management is in the ratio. A small bankroll is fine for a small bettor, a big bankroll is a necessity for a high roller. Small bets with a significant bankroll is the safest and, some would argue, most enjoyable way to gamble.
Each gambler has to make their own decision on what they want their ratio to be in order to feel safe and comfortable. Once you have set your ratio, however, you stick to it. Say you decide that you want your bankroll to be 200 to 1. This means that for every dollar you wager, you have to have $200 in your bankroll. No exceptions.
If you are into specific gambling strategies such as the Martingale system or the Fibonacci strategy, then you will already know that the strategy you use should always be related to the bankroll you have available. If you are using a progression strategy where you steadily increase your bets, then you will need sufficient funds to allow you to complete this strategy until it pays off.
Some strategies involve both increasing and decreasing bets depending on whether you are winning or losing. This is a more conservative form of play and requires a more modest bankroll, but you must still ensure that you can continue to play within your bankroll, whether you are winning or losing.
We have already stressed that your bankroll should be a completely separate set of funds from all other money you need in your day-to day life. Just to be clear though, it is vital that you avoid gambling with:
· Money you need for necessities
· Money you are saving for other important things
· Borrowed money or credit cards
Never bet more than you can afford to lose. This does not mean betting until you are broke and then stopping. It means stopping betting at a point where your daily life and finances will be affected by your current losses.
Money management is largely about limiting losses. Having a set bankroll, or limit, for each game or casino session forces you to stop gambling while your losses are still modest. What happens when you are winning though?
It’s understandable that successful gamblers want to enjoy their winnings, and that’s fine. When you win, you can either spend those winnings on something special, or add them to your bankroll to fund further gambling. Either is fine as long as your bankroll remains constant, or increases, for as long as you want to enjoy your gambling hobby.
While we’re on the subject of winning, good money management also involves setting goals for how much you want to win, and being disciplined enough to stop when you reach your goal. Limiting your winnings seems crazy to some new gamblers, but setting a winning limit teaches you to quit while you’re ahead. If you keep playing a winning streak, you will inevitably start losing again eventually, so learn to take your winnings and walk away with them.
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Words: Sean McNulty