You know how it seems like you’re rolling in the dough when your paycheck gets deposited? But then you pay your cellphone bill, car insurance, rent, and student loans, and the next thing you know you’re broke and counting down the days until your next paycheck? They can be a long 28 days…
You should set your gambling budget before you leave home. While this is money that you are considering as already spent, it sucks if you lose all of it in the first hours of your trip, leaving you with a couple of days in Las Vegas and nothing to gamble with. This is where effective bankroll management can come in and save you from your degenerate impulses.
Bankroll management is a very personal subject; if you asked 100 people how they managed their bankroll, you’d get 100 different answers.
The rest of this page is going to be lessons that I have learned (usually the hard way) and things that work for me. If they don’t work for you, that’s okay; as long as you’re managing your bankroll in a way that works for you, you’re doing it right.
Divide your money into a daily bankroll
My biggest piece of advice is to set a daily bankroll! Once you’ve got your trip budget set, divide it into days. Keep the rest of your trip budget in the safe, and only bring down your daily budget.
This will guarantee that you have some money to gamble each day, regardless of your luck. Nothing is worse than running out of money half-way through your trip, and this is a surefire way to avoid that.
If you double up, book at least the profit
If I double my initial buy in, I like to cash out at least the profit and lock in my winnings. I’ll usually make like a squirrel, folding it twice and stashing it in a designated pocket in my wallet so it’s out of sight and out of mind. The fringe benefit of this is that, after a long night of drinking and gambling, you can sometimes be surprised how much you’ve stashed away.
Book wins at the end of each day
If you have any money left from your daily bankroll at the end of the day, take it out and put it back in the safe to bring home at the end of the trip. This greatly increases your chances of going home with some of your money, and helps avoid the awful situation where you were up, but then ended up giving all of your money back.
While I’d be lying if I said I haven’t tapped into past days’ winnings before, this is a case of “do as I say and not as I do.” If you can stay disciplined here, you’re very likely to come home with something, which is not only huge mentally, but also helps you return to Las Vegas sooner. Don’t be like me my first three trips to Vegas coming home with a completely empty wallet… trust me, you feel like a total loser.
If you’re hitting a streak of bad luck and starting to get frustrated, back away before you go on tilt; if gambling isn’t working, take a break. Grab a drink for the road, take a walk, and explore something you’ve never seen before.
The problem gambling brochures say to stop gambling “when the fun stops” and they’ve got a point. If you’re not enjoying yourself, step away. Nothing is more frustrating than losing a ton of money and not even enjoying yourself.
Separate gambling wallet
I have a wallet that I use solely for gambling; I keep all of my players cards in it, as well as my gambling budget. I keep all of my gambling money in it (taking out the extra before I head to Las Vegas so I won’t be tempted when I’m in drunk/degenerate mode), and try to generally forget that this money exists until it’s time to go to the casino. This helps keep me organized, and since it’s all cash, I don’t have to waste time or money at the ATM (hey, a wallet beats stuffing it under my mattress!).
Additionally, I find that keeping the cash separate helps me mentally separate it from money used to pay bills or other expenses. Whether or not this is a sign of a problem gambler is your call, but I find it helpful.