Casino Money Management - Make More, Lose Less

April 2014

There are ways to win at casinos, and even ways to do so consistently if you are willing to put in some time studying and training yourself. These methods have been covered elsewhere on this site and others. But whether you play to win or just enjoy a bit of gambling, there are also basic money management strategies that will keep you from getting in too deep. Some examples follow, but first let's look at what your options are for finding casino action near you.

Finding a Casino

There are hundreds of casinos around the country, and you don't have to go to Las Vegas or Atlantic City to find one. Use a good state by state casino list online to locate the ones that are closest to you. Almost all casinos now have information online as to which games they have, so make sure the one you choose has the table games or slot machines you prefer.

You can play online as well, if it's legal where you live. For example, many online platforms include the usual slot machine action in digital form, and have roulette. It's best to have a high-speed internet connection when you use online casino sites, but they are pretty functional and straightforward.

Whether at a physical casino or online you might want to focus on games like video poker because you can figure the odds using an online video poker odds calculator. If you play roulette and have the option, play European roulette rather than American. The European tables have just a "zero," and not the "double zero" that increases the house edge on American tables.

Managing That Money

Even if you are just playing for fun it will be more fun if you win more often and don't ever lose too much. That's where money management strategies can help. They don't exactly change the odds on any given bet, but with proper methods you can have more winning sessions and avoid large losses. Let's look at an example...

If you feel that your casino entertainment is worth $150, make that your bankroll, and commit to losing no more than that. That part is easy enough -- in theory. But what about those times when you win and win and then lose it all back? How do you avoid that? By having the equivalent of what stock traders call a "trailing stop loss."

With stocks the idea is to set a sale price higher and higher as the stock price climbs, so you never lose too much of your gain. You can do the same in a casino by putting aside some money whenever you are winning, and committing to leaving with any of this set-aside profit. There are actually a few ways to do this. If you have doubled your money, for example, you can just "lock up" the original bankroll and a few dollars of profit. If you have a temptation problem, give it to your spouse or go and put the money in your car. You can then play with the remainder of you winnings knowing that you might win more, but you'll leave a little bit ahead in any case.

A more systematic approach is to routinely set aside a certain amount of money. For example, you might "lock up" one dollar for each hand of blackjack you play. If you are winning you can do this all day. But as soon as you start to lose too much you'll run out of operating cash and leave either ahead or with a smaller loss that you might have otherwise had.

By the way, if you really can't resist the temptation to dip into your locked-up profits, there is a simple device that can help. Called the Winners Bank 200, it is metal case the size of a pack of cigarettes that has a slot you put $20 bills into. It locks, and the idea is that you leave the key home so there is no way to get at the money while you're in the casino.

Another money management strategy that allows for larger potential profits is to make bigger bets or bets with higher payouts when you are ahead. For example, if you play a dollar on red or black on the roulette wheel you can play a long time, but you never can win much with even-odds payouts. But if you are ahead and you throw some (but not all) of your profits on straight-up number bets, you can hit a few at 35-to-1 odds and leave a big winner.

In blackjack the strategy is just to start betting more when you are ahead, so you can win bigger and bigger amounts. If you do this only when you are already winning, and you cut back on your bets as soon as you start losing, and leave when you have lost most of your profit, it is a safe way to have occasional big nights without risking much.

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