Bankroll Management: The Art of Not Going Broke

The idea behind bankroll management is pretty simple actually: avoid getting broke. But this is something that is easier said than done. Casinos are designed to leech money out of their patrons, after all. The house advantage will always be there.

What is Bankroll Management?

Bankroll management is the art of maintaining one’s bankroll at casino games, while at the same time, minimizing one’s risk of going broke. The thought here is to make your money last as long as possible; aside from determining the amount of money that you’ll need to comfortably play at the tables, you also need to factor in the losses that you’ll inevitably gain throughout the course of your play.

“So, how big should my bankroll be?” you ask. Accurately determining this amount is actually complicated, especially for newbies, since it requires a little bit of knowledge of win rates, variance, standard deviation, and precise assessment of one’s own skill (especially for games like poker or blackjack).

To make things less complicated, here is a simple formula which you can use for bankroll computation:
(Average Bet Size)(# of Bets Made Per Hour)(Estimated Playing Hours)(0.2) = Bankroll Amount

Since most players can never achieve optimal play at the tables (unless you’re a really excellent player), the 0.2 above accounts for this error and of course, the house edge.

Bankroll Management Tips For People Who Don’t Like Math

If you don’t like computing stuff such as returns, win rates and such, and you really want to make things as simple as possible, you just need to remember these few pointers:

1. Never bring your credit card to any gambling establishment.

Never, ever gamble on credit. If you’re at a casino and you run out of cash, then stop playing at once. Using a credit card gives you an illusion of having unlimited money, and this makes it easier for you to lose track of your finances. And think about the outrageous interest your bank will charge you after just one night of inhibition at your local casino.

2. Keep your casino money away from your personal money.

Make a budget and stick to it religiously. Even better, divide your playing money according to the number of games that you estimate that you’ll be playing. Never bring more money than you need and know your wallet’s limits.

3. Don’t attempt to break a losing streak.

If you find yourself on a losing streak, you might be tempted to “break even” by betting larger amounts and playing recklessly to compensate for your losses. Don’t do this. Instead, take a deep breath and check your bankroll first. Can you afford to go on? Or should you call it a day and go home? Remember, even the best players experienced debilitating losing streaks at least once. This is something you can’t break just by betting bigger and bigger amounts.

4. Be realistic.

Don’t impress other players with unrealistic bets. Stick only to tables you can afford. Always remember to play for fun first, instead of playing for money.

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