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Mark Pilarski's Corner



The fundamentals of sound money management
by Mark Pilarski

Anyone can walk into a casino and make the right bets and know how to play them, but without sound money management techniques, you can still end up going home broke.
Money management is your life-line to getting home with some semblance of your starting bankroll. Otherwise, you'll be hanging out in the lounge, tapped out, trying to score free drinks. Therefore, below are money management rules I live by when I'm out trying to procure a little from the big guys. They will work if you rigorously apply them.

o First, never bring your entire bankroll with you to one gambling session. You need to have a daily gambling budget. Start by dividing your bankroll by the number of days you'll be gambling. Then divide your daily bankroll into the number of sessions you will be playing each day. This is now your single-session bankroll. Don't bet tomorrow's money until tomorrow comes.
o Set a goal of winning between 50 to 100% of a single-session bankroll. Then set aside your original bankroll plus half your winnings. Now play with the remainder and continue to set aside additional winnings.
o Use a winning progressive method of betting by setting a predetermined percentage increase for each winning bet and sticking to it. For example, I increase my winning bets by 50% after the second win: $5, $5, $7, $10, $15, $22, etc. I continuously flat bet (table minimum) when losing.
o The casino's goal is to create a fantasyland experience for its patrons. One wily way is to devalue your money by having you bet chips instead of legal tender. Think of the deceptive nicknames chips have. A $5 chip is a "nickel" and a $25 chip a "quarter." Your best self-defense is to continue to bet with your own greenback. This way you'll always realize its genuine value.
o If you do turn your bankroll into chips, take a moment and carefully think about the exchange. You must always treat chips as hard-earned cash-like the money you save for your child's college tuition, mortgage payments or your retirement.
o Never increase your bet when losing. A double-up-to-catch-up strategy simulates a lamb being led to slaughter.
o Discipline is not only a significant part of being a successful gambler but probably the most important element of money management. You must set loss limits and win goals. Example: When losing half your session bankroll (loss limits) you walk, and when doubling your money (win goals), consider doing the same.
o Identify the profitable opportunities in gambling by shopping for the best odds, rules and playing conditions for the casino games you will be playing. Don't waste your time on games in which the casino has more than a 2% house advantage.
o Never gamble with money you can't afford to lose. Need I say more?
o Credit card gambling is nothing more than a desperate measure to stay in action. Leave your credit and bank teller cards at home so you won't be tempted with the easy convenience of getting cash.
o Never quit a hand when you're on a winning streak. Why tempt fate? You could be walking around lucky and not even know it. Magical gambling moments do happen. Fifteen, 18, even 20 hands in a row is possible. When it ends on a loss, make a mad dash to the cashier's cage.
o Finally, money management will not affect the house advantage nor guarantee that you will win more money. If the house has an advantage before money management, it still has that same advantage even after you apply money management techniques. What good money management principals will do is minimize your losses and in most cases protect your winnings.