Bankroll Management When Playing Casino Games

July 11, 2019

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Playing casino games can be a lot of fun, especially if you stay within your limits and make your betting dollars last longer.

Bankroll management is a concept that is mostly used by poker pros, but also applies for recreational players and casino games. The idea is simple enough – by better managing your money you will mitigate the risk of serious loss.

What Is Bankroll Management?

Your bankroll is the amount of money that you have set aside to play with. If you are a serious, long term player, then you may have a bankroll that is set aside for months or years of play. For a recreational player, it could be as simple as taking out a few dollars to play with, and sticking to it.

In any case, your bankroll is separate to all other everyday finances. By keeping it separate, you don’t risk losing money that could affect other aspects of life.

Bankroll management then, refers to the conditions you set for how you will manage this money while playing. These conditions include the stakes that you will play at, so that you only risk a small percentage of your bankroll for any single bet.

Setting betting limits, loss limits, and goals for walking away beforehand, means that you stick to a logical plan based on lowering risk, or playing for longer.

Understanding Your Goals

Ultimately, you will set your own conditions, but there are guidelines to follow. Poker professionals tend to follow strict rules on bankroll management. They may make sure they have at least 100 – 200 buy-ins, depending on the format of the game. So, if the buy-in is $2, then a pro may want at least $200 – $400 to play those games.

This means that they are more likely to ride out a losing streak or a patch of bad variance. They can afford to lose a lot of games before their bankroll is in danger. Compare this to betting the full bankroll on a single game. One loss and it’s all over. For a professional, this could be a career ending mistake.

Recreational players don’t really have the same dilemma, but they can still follow the same principle to regulate their own gaming and get more enjoyment from the casino.

Consider a recreational roulette player with a $100 bankroll for the weekend. If they place the full $100 on a single spin, they could lose it all and have to leave, or else risk spending more. If they place no more than 5% of this on the table for any one spin, say $5 a spin, then they have 20 spins. Lower it to 2.5% and they have 40 spins. They may win small amounts during this time, and earn more spins.

Whereas for a professional poker player bankroll management is an absolute necessity, for a recreational player it’s more about limiting losses and playing in a steady and fun way.

Remember, bankroll management allows for you to move up or down in stakes depending on whether you win or lose. So, if you lose 20 games in a row, you might want to move down in stakes so that you are once again risking a lower percentage of your bankroll, and vice-versa.

Betting Smart To Conserve Bankroll

Important to bankroll management, especially if you are playing a game that is at least partly skill-based such as blackjack and poker, is the idea of betting smart. You basically want to find the best odds and bet on them, avoiding bets that will damage your chances and ruin your bankroll.

Superstition is common around the world, whether it’s throwing salt over your head or believing that certain numbers will bring you fortune. Superstitions give us fun hints about culture, but they have no place at the casino tables. For example, you don’t want to bet all your bankroll on a certain ‘favourite’ number or hand.

Always be aware of the house edge for games. For example, slot machines may have a 90% RTP (return-to-player) or a 99% RTP. Which one would you rather play? Games like Keno have a huge house edge, while the edge in Blackjack can be reduced to a tiny percentage.

Finally, always know when to walk away. Bankroll management really helps with this. Set your limits for losses for the night and stick to them no matter what. It can also help to decide on an amount that you would happily walk away with if you win, so that you sometimes leave up. If you’re intoxicated or tired, go home!

Bankroll management and proper betting strategies can help you to maximize your enjoyment of the casino, while negating the risk of a serious loss.


Author: Tom M.

Tom has been creating online content for over 10 years now starting way back as a small, impressionable 16-year-old. Tom mainly writes about sport and gambling, but every now and then also delves into fleshier subjects like politics and psychology. When he was 18 he created HungarianFootball.com and over the last few years he's written on a freelance basis for ESPN, WorldSoccer, Goal.com, among many others.

Twitter @TMortimerFtbl


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