Question #2

How do you budget yourself effectively so you don’t blow your whole budget day 1 and find yourself either putting more money in than you intended for, or sitting around and not enjoying the full sights of Vegas?

Trey, Lincoln, Nebraska | December 16, 2018

I’m a big fan of a daily bankroll/budget.

Before I go, I set my gambling budget. I then divide this budget into separate days, taking into account travel/shows/activities/other plans — if I know that I’ll be attending a show or getting into McCarran late, I’ll budget less; if I plan to gamble most of the day, I’ll budget more.

The first thing I do after checking into the hotel is deposit my bankroll in the safe. I only ever take out my daily bankroll, and whatever is left at the end of the day goes back into the safe (so that it will come back home with me). This guarantees that I can’t blow all of my budget in one day, and that I’ll lock in any winnings.

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. For this, and more lessons I’ve learned the hard way, check out my article on bankroll management.

If you find yourself blowing through your bankroll early in the day, take a break. The problem gambling brochures say “when the fun stops…” and they’ve got a point. If you’re not enjoying yourself, reset for a bit. I like to grab a drink, go for a walk, and check out a casino/attraction I’ve never seen before. This can be a great time to explore Las Vegas and find somewhere new to hang out.


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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Trey


    Thanks for the advice! Sticking to a daily budget may be hard and not dipping into previous day’s budgets probably harder, but by following these guidelines I’m sure I’ll be able to come back with something and still have a great time!

    When low on cash and trying to make it last towards the end of the day, do you have go-to games that can stretch your last $50 of the day for a while?

    1. Sergio

      Of course, Trey! Thanks for the great question. You’ve inspired me to finally start my guide on bankroll management.

      When I’m low on cash (and looking to maximize drinks, but then again, when am I not?), I recommend slow rolling. This will stretch your budget the furthest and at least get you some “free” drinks. Nickel Jacks or Better is my go to game, since the max bet is only 25¢ and it’s the least volatile Video Poker variation, so you’re likely to last at least a little while.

      Bouncing around and betting the minimum on slots can also be fun – I’ll usually try three spins on a machine and then cash out and try a new one. This helps me avoid tilt, exposes me to new slots, and gives me the chance for a long-shot win to get me back in the game.

      Although table games have the best odds, they can be hard when you don’t have much ammo, so I’d probably recommend sticking to machines.

      Time away from the casino is (sadly) your best bet on bad gambling days. It works the same way that abstinence does; if you’re not gambling, you can’t lose! Using this as an opportunity to explore can be pretty rewarding. I’ve found a lot of my favorite bars on Fremont East this way.

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