6 Gambling Mistakes That Are Killing Your Bankroll

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If you’ve been gambling long enough, you know that there are good months, bad months, and months where you end up right where you started. This is the typical course for most risk-takers whether it’s in business or gambling.

Regardless of the type of casino games you’re playing, or sports you’re betting on, the same philosophies apply to maintaining and growing your bankroll.

If you’ve found that you’re consistently finding yourself on the losing end of the equation, continue reading this article to see if you’re guilty of committing these gambling mistakes.

1 – You Don’t Have a Bankroll System in Place

If you talk to 10 successful gamblers, they’ll all probably have their own strategies that have resulted in their profits. One thing they will almost always have in common is their dedication to the bankroll concept.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, your bankroll is the pool of money from which you bet. It’s set aside for the explicit purpose of gambling. As a general rule, it should be an amount of money that you can afford to lose without suffering real financial struggle.

The most important component of your bankroll is the percentage range that determines how much you’ll allow yourself to put on a single bet.

For Example:

If you have a $1,000 bankroll and have your range between 3% and 6% that means you never bet more than $60 on a single play.

Obviously, your betting range will be determined by your risk tolerance and total amount of money in your bankroll, but most gamblers recommend staying as low as possible with your percentage range.

The reason for the betting range is simple – you don’t ever put yourself in position to have a few bad losses derail your bankroll. If you’re finding yourself suffering from losing big bets, try reworking your strategy to improve betting discipline.

2 – You Bet on Everything

Gambling on the length of the National Anthem in the Super Bowl is just as entertaining as betting on a roulette spin. What I mean is that betting on anything and having the opportunity to win “free money” is inherently exciting.

Even though it’s fun to have some skin in the game, if the goal is to win money, you need to pick your spots. Not only should you be sticking to the games you know, whether you’re betting on sports or casino games, but you should stick to specific bets that you’re familiar with. If you are looking to expand your horizons in terms of the bets you want to make, just start out making low-risk bets.

The best bettors who routinely make money are the ones who don’t bet because there’s something you can wager on, but those who find odds they like and then bet.

3 – You Don’t Bet for Value

If there’s a bet to be made on sports where the favorite is -500, obviously it is way more-likely-than-not that the favorite will win the game. Does that mean you should make the bet because it’s nearly a sure thing? Absolutely not.

The key to being successful in the long-term is by focusing on getting the best value, not the best chance to win. Sportsbooks know that amateur bettors get seduced by the idea of betting $50 to win an “easy” $10. They also know that offering those odds are going to work out in the house’s favor.

I wouldn’t go quite as far as saying you should never take a bet without having plus-odds, meaning you’ll win more than you’re risking, but you should be wary of betting on huge favorites in any situation.

4 – You Bet Under the Influence of Alcohol or Emotion

For bettors who are truly sharps, there’s no emotion behind the vast majority of plays. If you’re betting on a team because you had their jersey as a kid, or if you’re doubling down in blackjack because you have your lucky numbers in-hand, you’re going to end up losing more than you win.

Luck is obviously a huge factor in winning or losing bets of all types. However, the difference between leaving things up to chance and betting with a calculated strategy accounts for the five or six percent that determines who makes money and who loses money over time.

Another major gambling faux pas that happens quite frequently is betting under the influence of alcohol. If you’re betting at a casino and are more concerned with winning money than just “having a good time,” you shouldn’t be drinking at a rate that causes your judgement to be altered.

It’s unrealistic to think that you won’t ever make a bet while you’re drinking, but one great way to avoid making stupid mistakes is by placing your bets beforehand. I know that some people would argue that waiting until the closing odds is important, but it’s more likely that you’ll mess up because you’re intoxicated than it is that you’ll lose because you bet before you see the closing odds.

This is more specific to sports, but if you’re planning on betting on games at night, submit your bets before you hit the bars and you’ll: a.) Avoid the temptation of making more bets because you’ve already got your plays in, and b.) Save yourself the regret the next day of realizing you bet half your bankroll on a +600 moneyline because it “felt right at the time.”

5 – You Don’t Look Around for the Best Odds

Most bettors have one or two online sportsbooks they utilize on a regular basis. Although there is something to say about familiarity, there’s even more to say about giving yourself the best chance to find good odds.

On the casino gaming side of things, a lot of players get comfortable with one site and rarely stray, even though there are plenty of advantages to looking elsewhere.

A Sports Betting Example:

Different sportsbooks offer different odds. Let’s say you want to bet on the Patriots moneyline at -150. It’s always worth it to look at a few different sportsbooks and see if you can find the odds at -140 or better. Keep in mind that you won’t always find something better, but it costs absolutely nothing (except a couple of minutes) to check.

When it comes to online casino games, the repercussions of not utilizing multiple sites are more severe. Many online casinos offer bonuses that can have major benefits for both new and existing players. For example, many sites offer a sign-up bonus, re-load match, or even free games if you sign up.

It might sound like certain offers are too good to be true, but remember that these sites have a huge incentive to win you over as a player. The majority of gamblers do stick to one or two sites, and the majority of gamblers do lose over time. In both of these cases, it pays to be in the minority.

6 – You Rely on Luck

Every single gambler who’s ever wagered on anything has gotten both lucky and unlucky. In fact, these are the two constants when it comes to betting.

The thing that separates a profitable gambler from a losing gambler is only a few percentage points difference between wins and losses. If you win 57% of your bets, you can make a great living as a gambler. If you win 51% of your bets, you’re probably not going to break even when accounting for the juice.

Getting to that high-50s number takes a huge amount of research and practice, but it can be accomplished by anyone who’s willing to put in the time. If you’re looking to take gambling seriously, read all you can and try to get a true statistical advantage that you can apply in your bets.


The good news is that anyone has the capability to become a profitable sports bettor if they employ discipline and hard work into the craft. The bad news is that very few are willing to do that.

If you’re guilt of making any (or all) of these mistakes, see if a change in strategy can help put some extra money back in your bankroll!

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...

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