Bankroll management 101: How to size bets

Backing a winning horse with a large bet is a great feeling. Getting stuck on a long losing streak with small bets is not. With bankroll management, it’s possible to have the best of both worlds. This article will teach you how to size your betting according to your bankroll and goals, so you can get the most fun from gambling without risking more than you can afford.

Your bankroll is how much money you have to spend on gambling. If you’re broke, then your bankroll is zero, but if you have some cash in the (gambling) account, then bank then that’s your bankroll. It’s how much money you can risk losing, without it affecting your life in any way. Bankroll management is a strategy that allows you to size bets so that you can be successful over the long run, while minimizing risk.

The most important thing to remember when betting is that you need to be rational. It’s not about making yourself feel good about gambling – it’s about being smart, so that you can have fun while at the same time minimizing risk.

Why manage your bankroll

There are four major reasons you’d want to manage your bankroll:

1. You’ll win some and lose some.

There will be winners that pay off big, and losers that don’t even break even. That’s the nature of gambling. The trick is to minimize the amount of overall loss so as not to ruin your chances of winning, or to make sure that dropping out doesn’t ruin your overall betting experience for good.

Overspending can ruin even the best bankrolls over time if you don’t stop at a certain point. A successful bankroll management strategy allows you to win big when you’re winning, and to minimize the amount of money that you lose when you’re not.

2. To take advantage of free bets offered by casinos

As a way of encouraging new registrations, casinos will run promotions like the no deposit free slots where you’ll get free spins or credits to play slots without having to deposit any money at all. With the right staking strategy, you’ll be able to get the most value out of these promotions.

3. You will no longer chase losses

When you have a limited amount of money to spend on gambling, and you are not willing to risk any of that money, then you will always chase losses. You will keep on betting more and more with the hope that somehow this time it will be different and you’ll win back your losses.

4. Gives you a purpose

Managing your bankroll can give a purpose to your gambling. You’ll know that there is a maximum amount of money you can lose without having it affect your life – so if you hit that limit, then it’s time to stop for an extended period with no gambling at all, or else change your game plan altogether if the cost of continued play greatly outweighs the potential winnings. You gamble responsibly, and you keep your personal finances in order so that you can continue to enjoy gambling when you want to.

Sizing bets

There are a few important things to always remember with betting:

  1. Be rational. It’s not about making yourself feel good about gambling, it’s about being smart so that you can have fun while at the same time minimizing risk.
  2. Bet the minimum amount of money necessary for completing whatever challenge comes your way.

This is the essence of bankroll management. You keep the funds necessary for completing whatever challenge or experience you will be having in the short term, and if you lose that money, then you stop until you have more funds.

  1. Don’t make big bets when you’re not confident of success.

It would be nice to always make a large bet when we’re feeling lucky, but it’s better to think things through first and be sure that the risk is worth it before risking your entire bankroll on a single bet.

There are two ways of sizing your bets that work really well with managing your bankroll:

  1. A multiple of the amount in your bankroll

This is the easiest way to size bets. If you have $100 in your account, then you bet $5 on a hand of blackjack. If you win, then you’ll keep the $5, and if you lose, then you’ll get another chance for another $5 bet no matter what happens. Double/triple your stake after a loss. Typically, a multiple of 2 or 3 will be enough to size bets. You can increase or decrease the number depending on your goals, how much money is in your account, and how crazy you are feeling at the time. 2 is usually a good number for most people.

  1. Multiples of your bankroll divided by the bet’s expected value.

Betting X dollars on a single hand is one thing, but what if you’re betting on a game with different rounds and levels? What if there are multiple bets within a single bet like an individual hand in blackjack ? What if there are multiple bets within a single game like a tournament? This method takes each bet into account, so each bet’s average expected value is determined.

When you shouldn’t use bankroll management

Sometimes, you don’t need to size bets in order to be successful. These are the times when you can go all in and just try your luck rather than sizing your bets:

  1. You’re playing a free money bonus game where they pay you for every bet that you make.

If this is the case, then it doesn’t matter how much money you spend. If anything, it’s better to spend all of your money and get as much value out of the free bet as you can

  1. You’re playing a high variance game with a high pay out.

If you’re playing something like Roulette or Craps where the pay-out is really high, then you can take more risks even if it means losing more money overall. This is because you will win big when you win and it’s worth taking the risk for those few occasions when you do win.


Bankroll management is all about being rational. It’s about not getting too emotional about your gambling, and making sure that it doesn’t interfere with your life outside of the casino. The reason why you should manage your bankroll is because you can win big when you’re winning, and also minimize the amount of money that you lose when you’re not.

If you ever find yourself chasing losses, then it’s time to log off and walk away from the game for a while until things get better. When they do, then return and play responsibly so that you can have fun again.

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