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The Joy of Gambling Money Management

Money management is rarely an exciting topic, but should you avoid managing your gambling bankroll it will likely disappear. If you want to be careful with your money, consider what you can honestly afford to spend each month for entertainment.

Gambling is Entertainment

Casinos often advertise their “products” and “services” as entertainment. Gambling has certainly gone mainstream, and all things considered, treating your trips to the casino as entertainment is a good idea. Especially since you are unlikely to have a profit at the end of any given year from gambling unless you are either a very successful blackjack card counter, an excellent poker player, or just happen to have hit a large enough jackpot at slots or table games to offset your previous losses.

With those sobering facts in mind, every player should understand that the casino has the edge, and while I’m certainly not advocating a trip that includes a decision to “lose” money, it is realistic and sensible to set a limit to what you should “risk.” Budgeting your money is one of the least practiced financial arts, so don’t be intimidated, but it really is a good idea.

If you know that you can afford to spend 20-percent of your take home income on entertainment (movies, meals out, party’s with friends, sporting events, and yes, gambling), then a prudent, sensible way of budgeting your gambling money would be to decide how much of that 20-percent you should spend at the casino. Sounds easy, but following through is tough.

Suppose you can afford to spend $500 each month on fun and entertainment, and, you like to go to meals and the movies. Well, if half of that $500 goes to your meals and movies, then the most you can afford to spend at the casinos is $250 each month!

Now is the time to take the bull by the horns and force yourself to understand that $250 limit! In our scenario, the most you can spend is $250, so you can chop that up anyway you want – and risk that much each trip. If you go to the casino every week, well, you better only take $60 with you the first trip!The Good News

The good news about budgeting your gambling bankroll is that once you start tracking your expenses, you’ll find out what games you really enjoy, which ones you do best at, and sticking to your limit will get easier. And, when you have a good outing at the casino and actually bring home more money than you left with, you can add to your money management bankroll and perhaps spend more next week, or even use that windfall on some other venture.

Once you have settled on a per-trip (such as a weekly allotment) amount to risk, you’ll know how much you should be wagering per bet or per spin on the slots. If you have $60 to risk, you’ll probably have more fun at the penny or nickle slots than taking a flyer on the dollar slots where your $60 is likely to be gone in five minutes.

If you play poker, it makes more sense to take $100 into a game with smaller limits than to try and play a $5-10 or higher game where you will be limited to just a couple of losing hands before your $100 is gone.

Limit or No-Limit Poker

If you want the best bang-for-your-buck, you should consider playing a no-limit game. Although you could lose a big hand right away and be unable to continue playing, you’ll also give yourself the best chance to win significantly more than in a limit game (assuming your skill level is similar in both games).

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