No doubt you’ve heard this quote many times. “If you continue to do what you always did, you will continue to get what you always got.” I’ve used that phrase many times myself. So let me ask you a direct question. If you are a skilled precision shooter, why are you still a loser at craps? Perhaps it is your money management strategy.
The fundamentals of money management are quite simple; bet less when you are losing and bet more when you are winning. There are several ways to accomplish this. It can be done strictly with a betting strategy that relies on certain wagers – or through a bankroll management strategy that relies more on win objectives, loss limits, and the sizing of individual bets.
Bankroll management is, in the opinion of most gaming experts, the heart and lungs of money management. Loss limits ensure that you won’t go broke during a given session. They keep you in the game longer and help you control the amount of money you put at risk. And when you do have a losing session – walking with part of your bankroll intact increases your level of confidence when you buy in next session. Sure, you lost last session – but you maintained discipline.
Win goals are moving targets in that your goal should increase as long as you continue to win. Should you exceed your win objective you don’t have to stop playing. You simply lock up your win and your initial buy-in and continue to play as long as you continue to win. But when the table turns and you start to lose you color up and walk away with the money you’ve already won. My personal win goal is modest – just $160. But if I win $160 in a session you can pretty much rest assured that I’ll walk with it.
Good money management starts with good planning. Before you head to the casino determine just how much you plan to allocate to gaming. Let’s say you’re going to Vegas for three days and taking $2400 to gamble with. Separate that money from your other spending money, then go from there.
Determine how many casino sessions you plan to play while in Vegas. Let’s say you arrive on Thursday afternoon and have 1 session planned. On Friday you’ll play an early morning session, a mid-afternoon session, and a late night session. On Saturday you will repeat that schedule. Then on Sunday you’ll play one last early bird session before heading to the airport. All in all you’ll play eight sessions. Divide 8 into the $2400 you have apportioned for play and you end up with $300 per session. Now get eight envelopes and put $300 in each one. Each envelope contains one session’s stake. When you head to the casino the other seven envelopes remain in the room safe.
Every decision you make regarding win objectives, loss limits, and bet size will be dictated by the $300 in your session envelope. Let’s say your win objective is an optimistic 50%. That means you are looking to win $150 at the tables. Write it down. Now let’s assume you also have a 50% loss limit. Write that down as well. Then, determine just what your betting strategy will be with a $300 buy-in.
The rule of thumb is that you should never wager more than ten percent of your bankroll at any given time. In a $5 game that’s a Pass Line bet with double odds and $6 each on the six and eight. If you prefer not to play the pass line you can wager $12 each on the six and eight. You might even place the point for $5. But that’s it. No more than $30 on the table at any given time.
Let’s say you’re using that second option and the shooter tosses and eight. The dealer pays you $14. What next? How about regressing your six and eight to $6 each and taking down that place bet on the point. Now you have a $2 profit for that shooter and some options. Now you’re managing your money.
At the end of your session you color up a win or a loss and return to your room. The envelope goes back in the safe and remains there until your last day in town. Next session you take out the second envelope, then the third, then the fourth, and so on until you’ve played every session. Some of the envelopes you return to the safe will have more money than you started with. Some will have left. But if you have stuck with your loss limits you are guaranteed to have at least HALF of the money you brought to play with. Odds are you’ll have much more than half, because you are finally managing your money.
There are a lot of systems and strategies with built-in money management. We’ll talk about some of them later in the newsletter. Meanwhile, remember that no matter what strategy you use to attack the game, it takes discipline to walk with a win. Discipline is the single largest thing that separates the winners from the losers. Remember, if you don’t know how to manage YOUR money – it won’t be YOUR money long.