How to Effectively Manage Your Bankroll
Handling your bankroll is critically important because it’s easy to get swept away with good fortune, or to find oneself in a hole and decide to try to dig your way out. Below are a number of tips to help you more effectively manage your online betting bankroll so you can have fun more safely.
Whether you prefer sports betting, casino wagers, or mixing the two (and perhaps adding a dash of bingo) planning ahead and assessing your bankroll pre-emptively is the first step to effectively managing your finances. Whether you’re just starting out betting for the first time or making the shift from brick-and-mortar casinos to the online variety, and whether your wallet is on the thin or thick side, the golden rule is the same – only bet what you can afford to lose.
This could even be rephrased as only betting what you’re comfortable losing. Wagering is there for a fun distraction, and if you’re ever in a situation in which you’re getting more stress than pleasure from gambling the odds are you have been putting down stakes that are just too high. Before considering specific stakes, the overall bankroll should be determined.
This is the total sum you deposit at a betting site for the purpose of betting and should be tailored to your own individual means, and preferences (just because you have a million dollars doesn’t mean you have to have high stakes, but if your money is more limited then it’s vital to cut your cloth according to your means). Work out a sum you are comfortable betting with and could afford to lose, and do not deposit any more than that.
Picking the Best Place to Play
One critical decision is deciding where you want to play, as there’s no shortage of online sportsbooks and casinos at which to have fun (and many sites offer both types of betting under a single virtual roof).
While the bonuses and software suppliers vary from one site to another, the most important matters for managing bankroll are avoiding dubious sites and, more commonly, those that have higher fees for deposits and withdrawals.
The very success of the online betting industry also means there’s an excess of sites and picking trustworthy places to play can be tricky. However, it’s easy to find the best online gaming options in Europe by consulting this link and browsing the foremost European online casinos without having to sift through the entire internet yourself.
Play with Small Stakes
In addition to planning ahead it’s as well to acknowledge the role that random chance has when it comes to placing bets. Luck can often come in streaks, which can mean you encounter either a purple patch or a dry spell.
This happens to everyone, in both casino betting (where results are mostly random, although they can be affected by player decisions in games like blackjack and poker) and sports wagering (referees can make or break a bet). To help absorb losses during an iffy patch, playing with small stakes (often around 1% of a bankroll) is a good idea.
If you deposit $100 and bet $20 a time it does not take much misfortune to reduce your funds to zero, which means a short episode of unhappiness, followed by the temptation to transfer more cash. Financial discipline matters as much with individual stakes as with the determination of your total bankroll.
Don’t Get Carried Away
The wheel of fortune is ever turning, and sometimes the upside can be as difficult to handle as the downside (prosperity brings its own share of decisions, as does adversity). When you start betting you might get a lovely slice of luck that sees you finish ahead repeatedly, or possibly encounter a big win.
If this is massive (a progressive jackpot that’s the size of a top lottery prize) then obviously withdrawing it pronto should be your priority, but most of the time good wins are of a more modest size. After enjoying some of these it can be tempting to crank up the size of bets, possibly in percentage as well as absolute terms.
If you’re substantially ahead it can be a good idea to withdraw your initial bankroll with a little extra on top (perhaps 20-50%, or more, depending on your preference and how much you’ve won). That way, you’re ahead and everything you’re playing with is just extra cash. If you up the stakes instead and your luck turns then you can rapidly diminish your bankroll and see the profits frittered away.
This is especially the case with casino betting. When sports betting, which does have luck play a (smaller) role, it can be advisable to raise stakes once you get into a winning habit but to do so at a slow rate so any losses remain easily absorbed. Increasing stakes at a lower rate than your overall bankroll has risen is one way of ensuring you avoid getting carried away and to maintain financial wellness.
Don’t Chase Losses
If mathematical models could guarantee profits then betting would not exist as the business model would be untenable. This has not stopped those who are more optimistic than numerate seeking to find such methods to turn the inherently risky proposition of betting into a sure thing.
The classic example is one of chasing losses (a bad idea in general terms anyway) by doubling stakes every time you encounter a loss in a market such as red/black in roulette. This is called the Martingale strategy, and you should avoid it at all costs.
Imagine you lose two red bets in a row, with stakes starting at $2. The second bet then doubles to $4 (so if you win you’re ahead by one original stake of $2 and if you lose you’re down $6). But you lose, so you back it again, doubling the bet once more to $8. The impact of this is to increase your chances of a marginal profit (the original stake) but to make any loss absolutely catastrophic. There are several problems with this approach.
Firstly, it’s the Gambler’s Fallacy to assume a black result is more likely after several reds. It is not, and there have been recorded instances of the same color showing up many times in a row. Secondly, any system which means a win is small and a loss is massive is not a good one.
Thirdly, even with infinite funds this would not, over time, work because tables have upper bet limits and sooner or later you will bump into these and be unable to double stakes anymore. If you lose nine bets in a row then the tenth will have a stake of $1,024. And if you’re playing with $2 stakes then betting over a thousand dollars is crackers.
As an aside, some casinos (with bonuses or regular betting) specifically forbid the Martingale approach and will close accounts when they see it happening.
Take Advantage of Management Tools
Account settings within online betting sites are increasingly sophisticated and provide a great way to handle money sensibly, in addition to exercising personal discipline. The specifics can vary a little from one establishment to another, and options typically include limitations that can be set on depositing, the main way that bankroll is effectively controlled.
In addition, should a player have a sudden desire to deposit more there’s often a cooldown to any increase to stop a rush of blood to the head leading to an unwise transfer of funds. By contrast, reductions to deposit limits take effect immediately, further promoting a more prudent approach to finances.
These account management tools are not mandatory but they are beneficial, especially for those just starting out, when it comes to keeping a tight rein on money and avoiding betting too much.
Plan ahead and keep a cool head and don’t get carried away if luck turns against you for a little while. And, as ever, remember to only bet what you can afford to lose.