How to Manage Your Bankroll in 5 Easy Steps

man's hands about to grab money and poker chips from poker table

Whatever casino games you play, the most important tool in any successful gambler’s toolkit is their bankroll.

If you don’t know what a bankroll is, don’t panic: it’s not complicated. A bankroll is just another name for the amount of money a player has to gamble with. Managing your bankroll at the casino is the key to winning more, losing less and beating the casino at their own game.

Use these five easy steps and within a few weeks, you’ll notice the difference in your bank account.

1. Pick your budget wisely and stick to it

A bankroll is basically your gambling budget. Sure, we’d all love to have a bottomless pit of money to take to the casino. But unless you’re Michael Jordan, it’s time to get real.

Take a proper look at your monthly ingoing cash and outgoings, and be honest with yourself about how much disposable income you have.

After you’ve paid your housing, bills, travel, food, and every other painful expense of modern life, how much do you actually have left over? That right there is your casino bankroll. Or, if it makes you feel any better (and any richer), you can call it your fun fund…

pair of hands holding a bundle of twenty dollar notes
Image: Shutterstock.com

Say your fun fund is $300/month and you like to play your favorite casino games 3 times a week. Your bankroll for each gambling session is $25, because $300 divided by 4 (weeks in the month) is $75, and $75 divided by 3 (your number of gambling sessions per week) is $25.

Now you know how much money you’re able to spend, it’s time to work on those self-restraint muscles. Sticking to your budget and being strict with yourself is the only way to reduce the impact of a losing streak.

That’s because if you’re never gambling with a bigger deposit than $25 each time, you can’t lose more than $25. At this point, it’s important to note that gambling away any profits you’ve made during a session is definitely unwise, but ultimately, it won’t eat into your initial outlay. What it will do, though, is impact your total profit for the month.

2. Play with your head, not your heart

Listening to your heart is great when you need to come up with the perfect gift for an anniversary, or if you need to decide what color to paint your bathroom. When you’re gambling, it’s your enemy.

To beat the house, you need to adopt the cold, calculated mindset of an evil genius with no emotion. For anyone who’s not a psychopath, this can be really hard.

That’s why having a system which includes rules for how much to spend, when to cash out, and regular analysis of where you’re winning and losing helps.

Asian man holding bundles of dollars and sitting at a poker table with cash laid on top
Image: Shutterstock.com

If you’re playing blackjack, you’ll need to focus on the probability of whether the next card will be high or low value, not on whether you feel lucky. If you’re playing slots, it means quitting when you’ve spent your initial deposit – even if you’ve ‘got a feeling’ that a bonus game is about to come your way.

A simple way to remember this rule is to tell yourself to just ignore your feelings completely.

3. Monitor money going in and out

You don’t need to get so obsessed with the figures that your basement ends up looking like something from the movie A Beautiful Mind. With that said, you do need to keep track of your cash.

Make a list each month of how much you’ve deposited and withdrawn from your casino account. The reason you should do this is because human memory can’t be trusted. It’s easy to forget that unexpected $40 profit you cashed out on Tuesday, or the $20 extra you deposited when you had some spare cash a few weeks ago.

man's hand placing coins in jar while counting money
Image: Shutterstock.com

Keeping a record of the exact amounts going in and out of your gambling account is the only surefire way to know if you’re turning a profit at the end of the month.

And if you want to take your monitoring to the next level, make a note of which particular games you were playing each time too.

Being able to identify which games you won most on will help you zero in on the profitable ones, so you can focus your attention on playing those types of games next time.

4. Stay calm

Whether you’re playing online or at a casino table or slot machine, you’ll need to channel your inner zen if you want to leave a winner. That’s because impulsive decisions taken when you’re gambling often result in you making a heap of expensive mistakes.

Most gamblers find that they’re most likely to make a bad decision right after either a big win or a big loss, so look out for that danger zone when you’re playing.

man in a suit sitting at a poker table
Image: Shutterstock.com

Calming yourself down after a win or loss gets easier with practice, but it’s worth thinking about the methods you use to reduce your stress levels in your daily life. Then, simply apply those same techniques when you’re gambling.

Do you use a stress ball at work when someone sends you a passive-aggressive email? Take it home and give it a squeeze when you’re playing online roulette.

Do you count to ten while taking deep breaths when someone cuts in front of you in a queue? Do the same thing at the casino. Whatever brings your heart rate down and clears your head will give you an advantage when you play.

5. Cash out when you’ve built up your winnings

We all like looking at our casino account when it’s showing a nice big number. But do you know where that number looks even better? In your bank account!

Leaving money hanging around in your casino account is like leaving a pork chop in front of a dog and expecting it not to eat it. Chances are, if you leave your winnings in your casino account, you’ll probably end up betting with them.

hands grabbing hundred dollar notes
Image: Shutterstock.com

Online casinos know that. They’re designed to make it easier for you to keep your cash in your account instead of going off to another page, entering your details, and withdrawing the money. That’s just good business. It’s not so good for you though.

The best way to avoid wasting your winnings is to withdraw your money and end your gambling session once you hit a fixed target. Before you even sit down to start playing, decide on what your target total is. When you meet that goal, head straight to the cashier.