It’s common knowledge that the first and most important element of success in gambling is the art of bankroll management. If you take a second to think about it, it’s a simple and universal rule in life. To actively pursue a desired outcome of any kind, you must have the means to do so – the very baseline of the essentials.

If you’re buying a home or a car, for example, you’ll need a decent credit score. If you’re running a marathon, you’ll need time to train and eat properly as well as the discipline to do so. If you’re learning to play the guitar, you’ll need to purchase one, perhaps along with some replacement strings and an instrument tuner.

Really, it doesn’t matter what kind of personal endeavor you’re undertaking – if, like most other people, you don’t have unlimited time, unlimited finances, unlimited natural talent or skill, you need to designate a starting point for whatever goal you’ve set for yourself.

When it comes to your online casino hobby, you have to think of your bankroll as that starting point. Gambling is fun. It’s rewarding in a variety of ways – playing gives us a thrill, helps us unwind, and it can even bring in a little extra cash. But it’s always something you should approach responsibly. Here are some ways to make sure your frequent Planet 7 visits continue to be enjoyable.

Bet no more than what you can stand to lose

That statement really should be common sense, but it’s often not treated as such – we thought it was worth putting it out there as a reminder. You want to keep playing, so be smart about it.

Take your time

time There’s a certain level of investment in having this type of fun. You have a hobby, you want to pursue it, but if you’re looking to have a solid streak, you can’t get ahead of yourself. You have to be both realistic and honest with yourself about how much you need to save up before you get started. If you want to prolong a good time and make a little cash, you first need to have the right amount. This really depends on your playing habits and personal preferences – whether you play in short bursts, whether you’re more conservative or daring, etc.

The key is, don’t rush into the start. Make a plan. You should decide how much you need before you can realistically start playing in a way that is sustainable. What’s your bankroll? Build up to it. The amount of money you want to set as your initial bankroll is entirely a personal preference. Think about your style and your goals as a player.

Budget

It takes money to win money. Use an online budgeting tool like Mint or YNAB (You Need a Budget) that can help structure where and how you spend your money on a macro level. This is a solid habit to put into place that will benefit all areas of your life.

Don’t allow yourself any wiggle room, especially if you find that you’re trying to change plans while you’re in the middle of a winning or losing streak. Thoughts that begin with: “But maybe…” or “Well what if I try this…” can be damaging – you need to be able to catch and get rid of them when they do pop up.

Get accountable

touching cards pokerDon’t underestimate the power of an accountability partner. For example, you probably know how hard it is to motivate yourself to get to the gym when you’re on your own. And if you’ve ever found yourself a gym buddy, you probably know how much easier it is to stay on track, whatever your goals are. You can’t just cancel plans when you’re lazy because you know you’ll have to break it to your friend and you hate the feeling of letting someone down.

If you’ve got some trustworthy friends and they also frequent online casinos in their spare time, good for you. They’ll be able to relate and possibly even collaborate with you to find the optimal methods of saving up. You’ll both understand each other’s difficulties and work together to find ways to avoid any pitfalls. Plus, celebrating success when you can stick to your goals will feel great.

But what if you don’t really have any close friends who like to gamble? That’s also fine. This comes with its own kind of advantage – you’ll need to do more explaining to someone unfamiliar with the gaming world. Voicing your thought process will be just as beneficial to yourself and will help you better understand your tendencies, both positive and negative, allowing you to be a more responsible and effective player. Sometimes it can be a beneficial thing to have someone to disappoint.

Play for real money

We want you to be careful on this one – it can be tricky to accomplish. But, if it’s done well, it has the potential to make a significant difference.

Consider the possibility of actually supporting the hobby with the hobby itself. It means you’ll have to think about strategy and maintaining the fine balance between responsibility and fun, but it can be rewarding. More details below. (If any of this sounds like it’s just not for you, just move on down the list.)

Keep it separate

one-side-a-player-playing-for-money-on-the-other-side-a-player-playing-for-funIf you’re going to try this idea out, then compartmentalizing is definitely a good idea. Start with this…

Playing for fun versus playing to increase your bankroll should be treated as two completely separate things. Of course, we all know that hitting a winning streak is a welcome occurrence regardless, but your intentions going into the game will matter.

It’s kind of like what they always say about mixing business with pleasure. (Don’t do it.) Of course, playing casino games should always be enjoyable – if you ever reach a point where it no longer seems fun, it’s time to stop and reevaluate how you’re going about things. However, that doesn’t mean all forms and instances of gambling should be treated the same.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re currently playing just for kicks, that’s it. For that reason, your main goal is to keep yourself playing for as long as you possibly can, which in turn means not depleting your financial resources too quickly. Now maybe you’re a slots lover, but you’re also realistic about it. You’re fully aware that when it comes to making a fortune on slots, your chances are pretty slim. You know that there are payback percentages to take into consideration, so that should affect your decisions.

It’s great to play slots and win big during a good streak, but you need to have a separate mentality when you’re playing for the fun of it and when you’re playing to win. When it comes to winning, we’d also suggest thinking about the odds for different games. If you’re into slots, save that for when you’re aiming just to have fun. If you want to increase the size of your bankroll, then looking into video poker might be a good move.

The bottom line is that there are two separate mindsets that you can adopt when you’re playing. When you’re having fun, let yourself have fun. If you’re sitting down to a session where you hope to make some additional money, though, act accordingly.

Choose the right games

Don’t jump around aimlessly from game to game – that’s for when you’re just having fun. We’re discussing the “business” side of things, so to speak. That means you should stick to playing what you understand – be realistic and focus on trying to improve your skill level. If there doesn’t seem to be much skill involved in particular game, move on, or bookmark it for later, when you feel like taking a shot at a game of chance.

Get better at it

We’ll use our previous example. Let’s say you’re a fan of slot machine games. If that’s the case, maybe it’s time to pick up video poker for when you’re playing to win some real money. This is the part where you get smart with your bankroll in mind. Video poker is a game that involves a surprisingly amount of strategy. There are people who play video poker professionally and make a lot of money doing so. Play the game often and study a lot – books, online guides, casino forums, and wherever else you can find helpful resources.

Building in time to practice in a low-stakes environment will be important when it comes to increasing both your skills and confidence. You can easily take care of this with our unlimited Free Play option.

Take advantage of web play

online video pokerThere are plenty of advantages that are afforded by today’s technology. Everything is convenient; everything is accessible.

A few clicks and taps, and magic happens. A vacuum cleaner gets delivered to your doorstep the next day. You get some “face time” with your family on Thanksgiving even though you’re miles across the Atlantic. And, perhaps the miracle above all miracles: you go out to celebrate a birthday or engagement or whatever with a party of sixteen, but you can manage NOT to make the waiter cry out of frustration in his attempt to split the bill – you just send each other money in a matter of seconds. (Thanks Venmo!)

The point is – technology has its pluses, not least of which is the selection of hundreds of casino games available not only on your desktop at home but even on the phone in your pocket.

Be smart

When you’re gambling in hopes of building your bankroll, follow a few rules: don’t get too ambitious. Make the most of any small or modest wins by quitting while you’re ahead – even if that just means setting aside some time to do something else for a bit. And don’t let yourself get too excited. Be aware that winning can often boost your confidence, and you need to be cautious because that isn’t always a positive side effect. Don’t let it throw you off. (Still, keep in mind that this is an entirely different scenario when you’re playing entirely for entertainment purposes. If it’s for fun, just let yourself have fun. The important thing is to not confuse the two.)

Don’t drink

blackjack money managementOkay, what we really mean here is don’t drink TOO much. If you’re a responsible adult who can enjoy adult beverages in a perfectly responsible manner, great. But you really need to think about whether that’s the case or not. Remember, we’re talking about building up skills. You wouldn’t think about drinking before other performance-based activities – driving a car, playing sports, or going for a run. In this case, maybe a beer or two can actually help loosen you up in a good way, just be mindful that it doesn’t become a problem.

Avoid ATMs

This tip will help with betting wisely and not going overboard, in any situation. Avoid ATMs at all costs. Land-based casinos will make it all too convenient for you to withdraw more cash, but take precautions (like not bringing your debit card out with you). With online casinos, just make rules for yourself about how often you’ll deposit and how much.

Don’t borrow money

fake chipsWe’re advising you not to spend more of your money than you’ve planned. With all that careful consideration, do NOT go spending other people’s hard-earned cash! That flies in the face of everything we can advise you on when it comes to bankroll management.

If you’re getting to a point where you’re working on a pitch to get your friends or family to lend you money, this impulse should seriously give you pause. Your hobby has become a habit. It’s not a good mentality to have – in fact, it’s dangerous. If that’s what you’re thinking, maybe it’s time to take a break. You don’t want to be indebted to anyone, and you don’t want to break the trust you’ve built up with people who care about you.

Take breaks

Speaking of breaks – taking them regularly will help. Don’t get so sucked in that it becomes impossible for you to keep a clear head. These don’t have to be long breaks – just set points where you can check in with yourself and assess how you’re feeling. It’s easy to completely lose yourself in the experience, and that element doesn’t have to be a bad thing – just make sure that it doesn’t last for hours on end.

A quick summary

Hopefully you get the point by now. Gambling bankroll management is crucial. It sounds paradoxical, but you should take your fun seriously. Make sure you’re being responsible and making financially sound decisions that will enhance and prolong play time, and we guarantee it’ll improve your overall playing experience.

Nick Johnson is a lover of game theory and mathematics. After years as a quant on Wall Street, Nick stepped out of the fast lane to become a stay at home dad and write. After chasing the kids around all day and tucking his little ones in bed, Nick loves to relax playing in online Casinos and is a life-long poker enthusiast.
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