Here’s Why You Lose So Much Money Every Time You Visit the Casino

by Michael Stevens
on December 29, 2017

It’s happened to every gambler.

You enter the casino full of hope and excitement. The machines are buzzing, the tables are hopping, and you want to get in on the action. You have a plan – or maybe you don’t. You put your money in the shiniest slot machine, or you pick a table that looks promising.

A few hours later, your pockets are empty, and you’re left wondering what happened.

If you find this happening every time you visit the casino, then it might be time to rethink your gambling strategy and approach. Bearing in mind that the house always has an advantage, you can focus on playing games that give you the lowest house edge.

You can also focus on managing the most important factor in gambling:

Yourself.

Here are a few reasons why you’re leaving the casino with empty pockets or a lighter purse:

You’re Picking the Wrong Games

Picking a game is part of the fun of gambling.

Will this game be the one that gives you that big payout you’re looking for?

Maybe.

If you’re hitting the same machines or table games and consistently losing, it might be time to change things up.

One thing to consider is the house edge. That’s a statistical prediction of how much (on average) you’ll lose on every bet over the long run. In the short run, anything can happen, but in the long run, your average will near the statistical prediction.

Generally, the lower the house edge, the better your chances of walking away a winner.

As table games go, blackjack offers the best odds in the casino. Typically, the house edge is less than 1%, and it’s often lower than that. This assumes that you’re using perfect basic strategy, though.

Video poker machines have a house edge of 3%, and sometimes much less. This also assumes that you’re playing with optimal strategy.

Slot machines have a 5%-30% house edge. You don’t have to worry about strategy when playing slots, though.

Keno has a house edge of 30% or more. There’s no good strategy for keno, either.

It can be intimidating to switch up your game, but it’s worth the effort. You can make the transition easier by staying with a game that’s close to your comfort zone.

Here’s an example:

You usually play slot machines. You switch to video poker. The lower house edge means that over time, it costs you a lot less to play.

If you’re intimidated by social gambling, try to find a table that isn’t crowded.

Or, go to the casino at a time when it isn’t as busy.

If you’re uncomfortable at a specific table, find a different table.

If you must play slot machines, choose machines where you can afford to bet the maximum. Higher bets improve your odds on some machines. Make sure to pay close attention to the denomination and your total overall bet so you don’t get over your head.

If you’re a keno player, keep your bets small. The house advantage is huge. You might win less, but you’ll also lose less.

You’re Picking the Wrong Casinos

Don’t get me wrong–the house edge on games is similar from casino to casino.

Some factors vary, though, and they could help you leave with money in your pocket.

When you have a choice of casinos, choose the one with the best rewards program. The definition of “best” varies, but you’ll want to look at how quickly you earn points. You should also think about how much free play you can earn with your points. Free play gives you more money to spend, and it’s always better to gamble with someone else’s money.

Also pay attention to what discounts you get with your card.

Do you get a percentage off from food purchases?

How often do they give you comps like free hotel stays?

If you’re spending money on food and drinks while you’re there, go where you get the best deals, and lower the cost of your overall casino experience.

One factor that varies from casino to casino is the table limits – your minimum and maximum bets. Some casinos may have higher minimum bets on table games than you might be comfortable with. Or, the slot machines may have higher maximums than you prefer.

Before you start playing, walk around and see what bets are offered at what limits.

If it’s more than you planned on gambling, you’ll be better off heading elsewhere.

You Don’t Have a Plan

You wander into the casino. You sit at whatever game suits your fancy. You take money out of the ATM multiple times.

But you don’t have a plan.

Have a plan for how much you’re going to gamble, and how you’re going to gamble it. Ideally, you should withdraw money from your bank before you set foot into a casino. Casino ATMs charge ridiculous fees for withdrawing money.

Don’t take more money than you can afford to lose. Use money that you’ve allocated for entertainment – not money you need to pay the rent.

If you’re gambling with money you need, the whole experience becomes much more stressful. Gambling should be fun, not stressful. Keep your bankroll to a reasonable amount that you feel comfortable with.

If the temptation to withdraw more money is too much for you, get money from the bank before you go to the casino, and then leave your credit and debit cards at home.

Once you have your money, break it up into smaller bankrolls. It’s much easier to gamble away $100 if you’ve put $100 into a machine. Break up your bills into smaller denominations to manage your betting. Get smaller denominations of chips so you’re not tempted to bet beyond your means.

If you win, walk away. Don’t put it back. Get in your car and go to the bank. If you must continue playing, decide exactly how much you’re going to play and stick to it.

Most importantly, resist the temptation to deviate from your plan. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world to gamble more than you intended to, or to win a decent payout and give it all back to the casino.

You Don’t Know the Game

Blackjack is a strategy game, so if you don’t know basic strategy, you will hurt yourself in the long run. Knowing basic strategy improves your odds of winning and lowers the house edge. You can familiarize yourself with the game before you go by playing free games at an online casino.

If you prefer to learn in person, go to the casino when it’s not busy. Find a table that’s not crowded, and familiarize yourself with the game.

Although slot machines are random, it’s important to know the payouts on the machine you’re playing. If the payouts aren’t listed on the machine, look for the payout table on the machine itself.

It also never hurts to do a little research. Pay attention to how different slot machines are paying out. Simpler machines have tendency to pay more frequently, though the payouts might be lower. Look for 3-reel machines that are in a denomination you’re comfortable with.

Craps can seem complicated. It has multiple bets that you can make. There are pass line bets, odds bets, and come and don’t come bets. You can familiarize yourself with craps via an online casino, or, better yet, find an experienced player who’s willing to explain the ins and outs of the game.

If you stick with the simplest craps bets, the house edge is surprisingly low.

When betting on sports, do your homework before you bet. How has the team been performing? Who’s not able to play in the upcoming game?

Choose your bets based on logic, and not on your sentimental favorite.

Knowing how a game works helps with your planning. It also makes sure that your odds are the best they can be. That, in turn, increases your odds of leaving the casino with money in your pocket.

You Bet Too Much

It can be tempting to bet big.

After all, if you want to win big, you should bet big, right?

That can happen, but it’s much more likely that you’ll be heading home sooner than you planned because you’re out of money.

Consider how much you’re planning to spend overall.

Here’s an example:

You plan to gamble $300. You could play a dollar slot machine, with a max of $3, and you’ll have at least 100 chances to bet.

Or you could play a $5 machine with a max of $15, and you’ll have 20 chances.

Even though you may not win as much playing the smaller maximum, you probably won’t lose as much either.

You can keep playing longer, and that’s the fun part, right?

Similarly, find a table game with a minimum you can handle. Give yourself the best chance to win. The more hands you can play, the better.

Resist the temptation to increase your bet sizes just because you’re winning. Slot machines are random, and what you won before has no effect on what you’re going to win on the next spin. Dice are also random.

It might seem like the game is hot, but that can change in an instant. Stick to your plan, and keep your betting steady.

With blackjack, if you’re a more advanced player, you may be able to count cards and know when to bet bigger. But if you’re a newer player, resist the temptation to increase your bets.

You Play to Recover Your Losses

You’ve been playing for a while, and you’re down. You’ve got to make up your losses. It can seem like the logical thing to bet bigger.

After all, you need to recover what you’ve lost, right?

This is another time you need to use logic over emotion.

The game doesn’t know you’re down, and it’s not going to pay you any better because you’ve lost some money. The odds are still the same.

To minimize your losses, you need to stick to your plan. Keep your bets at a level that you’re comfortable with.

If you must make a change, move to a different machine or a different table, but not one with a higher bet.

Better yet, take a break. Walk outside, get something to eat, or have a drink. Then return with a clear head and see what happens.

You Don’t Take Care of Yourself

It’s so easy to get caught up gambling. Before you know it, the sun’s gone down (or come up), and you haven’t eaten in hours. Your throat is dry and your head hurts.

To make good decisions while gambling, you need to take care of yourself. If you need to, set alarms on your phone to remind you to get up and get something to eat. Have a drink. Take a walk outside.

Sitting for a long time isn’t healthy, either. Stand up, stretch, and sit back down refreshed and ready to play.

If you’re drinking, keep an eye on how much. Intoxication will not help you make good gambling decisions.

If you’re tired, hungry, and cranky, you can get erratic in your play. Your blackjack strategy might slip. You might not hold the right cards when you’re playing video poker. Most importantly, you stop having fun.

Take care of yourself and keep your gambling experience fun.

Conclusion

Even the most seasoned gamblers can sometimes get caught up in the game. Don’t beat yourself up for coming home empty handed. It happens.

What’s important to consider is your overall gambling.

How much did you win or lose over the past month?

Or the last 6 months?

If you review your gambling and find your losses to be more than you anticipated, consider changing things up. If you’re uncertain of what games you might enjoy, try an online casino to get a sense of how different games work and what strategies work the best.

Do your research. Ideally, do this before you head out to the casino. If you bet on sports, check stats on the internet before you place your bets. Most casinos also have their rewards programs online, so you can see what they offer and take full advantage of it.

Most importantly, stick to your plan. Keep your betting steady, and don’t take out more money to win back what you’ve lost. It’s better to take some time and return with a full stomach and a clear head.

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