Bankroll Strategies

The actual mechanics of handling a bankroll are relatively straightforward. The first thing to do is to determine your betting unit. This is your minimum bet which is also the bet you place when you first enter any game. You calculate this by dividing your bankroll amount by some number. The higher the number you use to divide with, the more conservative you are in your betting. Let’s say your bankroll is $1000. Dividing $1000 by 100 would give us a betting unit of $10. If we want to be a little more conservative, we would divide $1000 by 200 to give us a betting unit of $5. So, now if I want to calculate a betting spread of 4 to 1, I could start with my minimum betting unit of $5 to have a betting spread of $5, $10, $15, and $20. We’ll talk a little more about betting spread below.

The second thing to do is to determine your gambling session bankroll which is also your loss-limit. This is a predetermined percentage of your entire bankroll that you will use for betting in one gambling session because you don’t want to use your entire bankroll in one gambling session. For example, if you decide to play blackjack at home at a couple of Internet casinos, you would stop playing if you lost this amount. Again, the percentage that you use for a session bankroll depends on how conservative you are at betting and how large of a bankroll you have. It’s common to divide your bankroll by five to calculate a session bankroll. So, a $1500 bankroll divided by five would give you a $300 session bankroll. If you lose the $300, stop betting and go get a cup of coffee or get some dinner. Stay away from the casinos, restaurants in the casinos, or Internet casinos until you are ready for another gambling session. You should also place a time limit on your gambling session to avoid playing when you are tired; when you are fighting for the casino’s money, you should be at your strongest both mentally and physically. Two or three hours are my limits for playing, but everyone has a different energy level.

You should also decide on how much you can lose at any table. When you lose that amount, you leave the table. I call this my table-loss limit which is a percentage of my session bankroll. This number is usually a net loss of from three to six ‘Betting Units’ and never more than one-third of your session bankroll. Again, this depends on how conservative you are. Anyway, let’s talk about the other side of the coin, winning!

If you start winning, you need to have a predetermined amount of money or goal that you want out of your gambling session; we call this dollar quantity a win-limit amount. The suggested amount is typically equal to your session bankroll. So, using the example in the previous paragraph, you start with a session bankroll of $300 and you start winning. When you have a net win of $300 giving you a total of $600 in your pocket, stop gambling. End your session because you need to discipline yourself to leave the table when you have reached your stop-win goal. This is a safety valve that prevents you from “losing it all back.” Of course, your win-limit amount doesn’t have to be equal to your session bankroll. A more conservative amount would be one-half of your session bankroll, but that is up to you.

The important thing is that you plan ahead, set your winning goal, and YOU control the situation, not the casino. The only exception to this win-limit rule is when you have determined that you are at a hot table and you are winning. In that case, stay until the table starts cooling off. For instance, let’s say you started with your $300 session bankroll and have won another $300, but the table is hot and you continue to win and increase your winnings to $500 above and beyond your original $300 session bankroll. You now have a total of $800 in your pocket. You will know that the table has started to cool off when you have given back about a third of your $500 gain or about $167. At that point, you should definitely stop. Don’t stick around to lose your winnings back. The table has cooled off, so go find another hot-table cash cow!