There are many casino gamblers who believe that, through various money-management methods, they can overcome the house edges on the bets they make and come out ahead in the long run. They are under the impression that they can beat the casino by managing their money properly. They are wrong.
Money management only works positively when players play games in which they have the edge over the house, such as using dice control at craps and card counting at blackjack, among others. However, because the casino has the edge over the player in almost all games at almost all times, there is no amount of money management that can turn such a negative situation into a positive one. That would be called a “miracle” if it could happen.
Because there are now more types of slot machines in the casinos than ever before, my advice about money management has to be sifted through your own logic and risk tolerance. As a general principle, I will state the following unequivocally: when in doubt, don’t spend new money trying to make up for the money you previously lost. Conservative is by far the best way to play casino games.
That’s a lot of money for just betting $3 per spin. In baccarat, betting $25 per hand, you stand to put out about $1,000 per hour—but with a house edge close to 1 percent! So you can see how those fast machines can clobber you even if you think you are a low roller.
The Table Games
In this book, we are covering quite a few table games. The basic premise of money management for table games where you can’t get an edge is quite similar to the money-management techniques for slot machines. You want to have enough money to allow you to last at the game, and you want to make sure you do not lose your mind and start betting like a poppy maniac.
Money management can’t save you from the house edge at a table game, but it can save you from allowing that edge to destroy you. Unlike slot machines, edges at table games are usually smaller—at least, the better bets at those games are smaller—and the speeds of the game are quite slower. Smaller edges, slower games…those are magical words. Yes, there are some table games where the house edges are just as high as a slot machine’s, but these are never (I repeat, never!) to be wagered on.
If you want to be a serious player, my strong recommendation is to start a 401(g). The 401(g) is a money-market checking account that you use for your gambling dollars. You should never be using “real” money when you play in the casinos; you should only be using money that you have set aside a specific call for playing. This 401(g) (the G stands for gambling) can go a long way toward strengthening your emotional bankroll too. Knowing you have the proper amount of money in a single account to play at the level you feel comfortable with will make you feel even more comfortable.
You can also consider putting money into your 401(g) from your paychecks or business. You do not have to put in a lot, just a little on a regular basis. In a relatively short time, that 401(g) could be big enough to withstand a tough losing streak.
To be safe then, let’s say the largest expected loss you will likely (but not definitely) encounter will be about $700. If you bring $1,000 to a $25 game, you will probably be in good shape to play for a single hour without having to worry about going back to your spouse in your room to hear, “I told you not to play baccarat. You ain’t James Bond, kiddo!” Safe, mindful money-management methods can therefore keep you both safe and sane. And that’s saying something.