How to Manage a Bankroll as an Inexperienced Gambler

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The biggest challenge new gamblers regularly face is staying within their financial means at the beginning of their gambling careers. Gambling is incredibly addicting, especially if you experience some early success. However, if your beginner’s luck begins to fade, it might be challenging not to bleed yourself dry.

This phenomenon makes it necessary for new gamblers to employ what is colloquially known as a bankroll. Simply put, a bankroll is the amount of money you intend to gamble with on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. If you’re struggling with maintaining a balanced gambling budget, here are 7 ways to manage your bankroll.

1 ‒ Set Your Budget

First and foremost, gamblers need to set an amount they intend to gamble with. This amount is subjective and will vary from person to person and doesn’t need to be a certain amount. When setting a daily or weekly amount, you need to figure out how much money you’re comfortable losing. As a gambler, you should never bet with money you aren’t comfortable losing.

When you bet an amount of money you can’t afford to lose, your decision making will most likely be questionable because you’ll be betting with emotions rather than logic. In other words, scared money doesn’t make money.

Your bankroll should come from the money you budget for entertainment or various activities. Bankrolls shouldn’t come from the money you typically allocate to things like rent, food, car payments, or other living expenses. The more comfortable you are with the amount you set, the better you should fare while gambling.

2 ‒ Stick to Your Strengths

Once you’ve set up a bankroll and feel confident with the amount of money you’re going to wager, it’s time to figure out how to maximize your bankroll. Depending on what type of gambling you plan to participate in, whether it’s sports betting bankroll management or casino gambling, you need to weigh your strengths and weaknesses.

If you walk into a casino knowing you’re terrible at blackjack but thrive at the craps table, obviously it’s recommended that you spend more time playing craps. Similarly, if you are successful gambling on basketball but can’t seem to win a football bet, then stick to hoops.

When you force yourself to play to your strengths, you increase your chances of profit and extending your time gambling. Depleting a bankroll is a reality most gamblers will face at some point, but by playing games you’re comfortable with, you’ll be more likely to avoid going broke.

3 ‒ Make Flat Bets

Flat betting is somewhat of a conservative approach to gambling that savvy, seasoned gamblers often employ. When you use flat bets, you bet the same amount every single bet, whether it’s at the casino or the sportsbook. This is especially useful when sports betting online or at sportsbooks because you limit the chance of blowing your bankroll on significant losses.

Most gamblers use a flat betting system to remove emotion from the situation when gambling. Personally, I come across several sports wagers a week that I feel entirely confident in, so much so that I want to drop several units on one bet. Luckily for me, I’m often able to talk myself out of these ludicrous bets and avoid catastrophic losses.

Sticking to flat betting is crucial to a successful beginning to gambling because it will allow you to familiarize yourself with the gambling industry. There exists a natural, emotional impulse to bet more after big wins and even big losses. But, you should rarely gamble with your heart, and wagering the same amount consistently eliminates this possibility.

4 ‒ Set a Daily Allowance

Say you are going over your monthly budget and figure you’ll set aside $500 for gambling purposes. That means you’ll have about $115 to gamble with every week. Most new gamblers will see that the final amount and refuse to pace themselves for the long haul for their bankroll to last the entire month.

I’m a big advocate setting a daily, weekly, and monthly budget, so I am always aware of my financial state. It’s incredibly simple to delude yourself into thinking you’re faring better than you really are, which can lead to poor decisions.

Each day, before you place any wagers, take a look at how your bets have been doing recently and set a daily budget. This way, regardless of how your bets do, you won’t feel possessed to continue to drain your resources. Setting daily limits requires discipline and is growing increasingly challenging with the return of spots. However, you will make sure you’re not depleting your bankroll too early in the week or month by limiting yourself.

5 ‒ Don’t Chase Losses

Inexperienced gamblers who are unfamiliar with gambling jargon might not be aware of the concept behind chasing losses. However, odds are you’ve already made this mistake in your brief real money gambling stint. When you can’t seem to secure a win, no matter how much time and effort you devote your bets, you might begin to bet out of desperation.

Betting with your heart on your sleeve is arguably the worst thing you can do as a new gambler; but also a common problem many gamblers face. If you’re on a losing streak and see your money vanishing, and you’re like me, you’ll feel an impulse to place more bets to win back your money. This is what’s known as chasing losses.

When you chase losses, you limit the amount of time you’re spending on locating the bets with the best value and typically make spontaneous decisions that can lead to losses. If you’re on a losing streak, don’t make matters worse. Stop the bleeding and reevaluate your plan of attack the following day.

6 ‒ Know When to Call It a Day

On the subject of limiting damage, it’s essential to know when to say when, if you’re serious about managing your bankroll. This thought can be applied to any form of gambling, including sports betting and gambling at the casino. Even if you’re doing exceptionally well at the blackjack table and are deciding whether to increase your bets, or you’ve won several sports wagers in a row, it’s crucial to know when to call it a day.

The point of gambling is to win money, obviously, so why do so many gamblers struggle with figuring out when to pull the plug? Well, because winning is addictive, of course. When you are on a heater and can’t seem to lose, it’s nearly impossible to tear yourself away from the table. But at some point, the losses will return, and you’ll be kicking yourself for not getting out sooner.

I recommend always setting a goal amount before trips to the casino or your sportsbook. If you’re lucky enough to hit that amount, have the self-control to head home with your winnings.

7 ‒ Track Progress

Some of the best gamblers are those who keep diligent records of all of their wins and losses. Tracking progress is the easiest way to figure out which methods and systems work for you and which ones should be abandoned. This is as easy as keeping a daily log on your phone, or even a scratch sheet of paper. It doesn’t need to be technically advanced as long as you’re keeping some sort of record.

By employing a record-keeping system, you’ll continue to familiarize yourself with the gambling industry and realize where your strengths and weaknesses lie. It will also force you to stay within your means if you blow through your bankroll.

Successful gamblers should be meticulous and deliberate in their approach to gambling. I always tell people that gambling should be treated as a second job if you’re serious about winning money. The more serious you take yourself, the sharper and more successful you’ll be at gambling.


Bankroll management is one of the most important parts of profitable gambling, but it is also one of the hardest things to learn as a new gambler. If you make sure to budget effectively, you can continue to gamble for extended periods, instead of just being a one-hit-wonder.

Funds should come from any extra money you have after covering all of your living expenses. Once again, never gamble with money you cannot afford to lose. To ensure maximization of time gambling, stick to your strengths, and avoid your weaknesses. Consider using flat bets, regardless of how confident you feel about any given wager.

Remember to track all of your wins and losses and to gamble with your brain and not your heart. If things are going great, know when to pull the plug because, at some point, losses will return. Similarly, if you can’t seem to snag a win, avoid chasing losses to win back some of your money. You’re not at your best when your emotions are on display, and gambling, while you’re emotionally charged, is the easiest way to blow up 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 since early 2016. ...

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