On my way to gamble at a casino for the first time, I gave my dad a call. He’s the one who introduced me to gambling, so I thought I’d let him know that I was finally going to try my hand at winning some real money.
Of all the sage wisdom he bestowed on me that day, the one thing that sticks with me is this: “Don’t lose all your money.” He tells me losing is a part of gambling and that people make dumb mistakes at casinos all the time. Since then, I’ve gone back to that casino dozens of times; some trips were successful, and others aren’t.
I can say that I make a point never to repeat the same mistakes I made my very first time. Learning to gamble is challenging, and it can take a while to hit your stride when you’re starting. The house always has an edge, and there’s a variety of ways to deplete your bankroll in a matter of minutes.
To help you out, here are six ways new gamblers lose money at casinos.
1 ‒ Refusing to Prepare
If you think you can walk into a casino without knowing what you’re doing and leave with money, I recommend reconsidering your gambling approach. While most games are easy to learn, failing to read up about the rules and strategies for each game is the easiest way to throw away money. All it takes is a few minutes of research to figure out the rules of each game so that you don’t make a complete fool of yourself.
Outside of playing real money slots, each table game requires a bit of knowledge and strategy if you have hopes of winning.
In my experience, dealers are an excellent resource for newer gamblers, but they shouldn’t be used as a crutch. If you’re going to the casino to have fun and don’t really care about making money, then failing to prepare isn’t the end of the world.
However, if you aspire to be a serious gambler, make sure to read up on the games you’re going to be playing. The internet is full of information to help new gamblers in the decision-making process and inform them about the way games are played. Do yourself a favor and don’t walk into a casino without doing even a limited amount of preparation.
2 ‒ Enjoying Too Many Free Drinks
For some new gamblers, the first time at a casino coincides with a 21st birthday. In college, I had several friends who opted to spend the first part of their 21st birthday at the casino before heading to the bars. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a few drinks at a casino, especially if they’re footing the bill, but moderation is key.
Playing table games requires gamblers to maintain their focus for long periods, and drinking excessively will make it challenging to keep up with the fast pace of gambling. If you’ve never been to a casino, there’s a good chance your first casino will offer to pay for your drinks as long as you’re gambling.
This presents an interesting dilemma that many new gamblers fail to handle correctly. Should you drink on the casino’s dime to have fun, or should you try to make some money at the tables?
This mistake is common amongst many gamblers, and there’s no shame in having some fun when it’s your first time gambling. However, time can feel nonexistent in casinos, and one drink can quickly turn into several. If you want to become a successful gambler, drinking excessively is something you should avoid.
3 ‒ Banking on Beginner’s Luck
As I stated earlier, every single table game and slot machine in a casino favors the house. Knowing this before you gamble for this first time is vital for many reasons. New gamblers are prone to believe the “beginner’s luck” fallacy and think they will win because they’ve never gambled before. I thought the same thing and was disappointed to find that beginners’ luck is merely nonexistent.
Whether you’re winning or losing during your first trip to the casino, the results are entirely random. There is next to nothing you can do to influence the events that determine those wins and losses, so there’s no point in assuming you’ll get a stroke of good fortune because you’re a beginner.
If anything, beginners reap more losses than wins, because the few variables you can control are typically ignored. The misconception that new gamblers will receive favorable cards can lead to poor play and consistent losses. Do not expect to win money just because you haven’t gambled before.
4 ‒ Thinking They’re Due
Similar to the previous point, newer gamblers tend to ignore outcomes, thinking they are due for a win. This phenomenon takes many forms, most notably in bettor’s tendencies to chase losses. After a string of losses, it’s a common misconception that you’ll start to win at any moment. This can lead to even more losses that can be detrimental to your bankroll.
Countering this line of thinking…
It’s essential to stick to your standard bet in an attempt to weather the storm. Tables get cold and losing streaks are frequent. If you chase losses by increasing your bet because you think you’re due, it can lead to an early exit from the casino.
I’ve personally fallen victim to falsely assuming I am due for a win. It makes sense that the cards will turn to your favor at some point, and statistically, that may be the case. However, this shouldn’t affect your strategy because, unless you are counting cards, you genuinely have no idea when a losing streak will come to an end.
5 ‒ Playing Games With the Worst Odds
Understanding the odds of casino games can be challenging for someone with limited or no experience gambling. Casinos are, first and foremost, a business designed to make money off of its patrons. When you walk into a casino, one of the first things you’ll notice is the music and colorful graphics of the slot machines. This is no coincidence.
Slot machines have some of the worst odds in casinos. It’s a common practice for new gamblers to immediately sit down at the first machine that catches their eye and lose money. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this practice, but the odds of winning money off of your first slot machine aren’t as high as other options.
Tables games like blackjack, roulette, and craps have some of the best odds in the casino, with the house edge varying from 1% to 3% depending on the casino. These games may seem intimidating but are relatively easy to learn. Understanding the odds of a game before you sit down is something all aspiring gamblers should do before sitting down at a table.
6 ‒ Mismanaging a Bankroll
If you’re reading this and have no clue what a bankroll is, don’t fret. A bankroll is simply the amount of money you budget for yourself to gamble, and it can be any amount, no matter how large or small. The smartest gamblers use a bankroll to make sure they aren’t blowing past their budget and putting themselves into financial troubles. You should do the same.
There are several best practices for managing a bankroll.
You need to establish how much you’re comfortable losing.
You should gamble within your means and make bets that will allow you to gamble for as long as possible.
When your bankroll is gone, you step away from the table and go home.
For whatever reason, younger gamblers struggle with this concept more than anything. It might be because gambling can be addicting, and if you lose money, you’ll have an impulse to try to win it back. Don’t chase losses, stick to your bankroll, and live to fight another day.
If you’re new to gambling, odds are you’re going to make a couple of common mistakes. No matter how prepared you think you are, the moment you sit down at a table for the first time, the potential for jitters to cloud your judgment and cause you to forget fundamental facets of the game is high. There’s no fault in committing a few errors because it’s part of the learning process. However, these mistakes should be limited if you don’t want to lose money.
Make sure you’ve spent an adequate amount of time preparing to gamble, whether that’s reading or practicing before your trip. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’ll be on the receiving end of some beginner’s luck or due for a win. Both seldom occur. Most importantly, stick to your budget and don’t make a bad situation worse by putting yourself into financial trouble.
If you avoid these common mistakes, you should expect to gamble for longer and even come out on top. But if you find yourself walking away with an empty bankroll, keep your head up. It’s happened to most gamblers, and odds are, it will happen again.
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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