Casino bankroll management is the key to staying in the game over the long haul. You can’t completely control the results of any real money casino games you can play – you can, however, maintain full control over how much you’re spending. 

In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the basics of bankroll management. We’ll explain why it matters, how to determine your bankroll size, the top betting systems you can use for setting your individual stakes, and much more. 

The Importance of Effective Online Casino Bankroll Management

casino bankroll management

To get the ball rolling, let’s define what online casino bankroll management actually is. 

Your bankroll, quite simply, is the amount of money you set aside to spend on casino gaming. If you sign up and deposit $100, for example, then your current bankroll would be $100. 

Bankroll management is the act of allocating that bankroll in your actual gambling. It involves initially determining what your bankroll will be, then deciding how much of it to spend on each and every game you play. 

Gambling bankroll management is arguably the most important factor of all in successfully using online casinos. Many of the games you play will be completely random, while others – like blackjack or poker – will have at least some skill. Either way, there’s never any guarantee that you’ll win enough games to make money, making it imperative that you balance risk and reward constantly.  

By carefully controlling your bankroll, you achieve two things. Firstly, you give yourself more chances at those games, and therefore more opportunities for profit. Secondly, you ensure any losses you do sustain won’t have a significant negative impact on your real-life finances outside of gambling. 

Setting a Realistic Casino Gambling Budget

As noted, before you can begin managing your bankroll, you need to actually define what it is. Here’s our advice for setting that initial figure, and maintaining or adjusting it thereafter. 

Assessing Your Finances

Up front, the most important thing we can say is that the statistical chances state that you will lose money on casino games. 

That’s because every single game has a built-in house advantage. This doesn’t mean that you, specifically, will definitely lose money. But it’s imperative that you keep the probabilities, and that house edge, in mind when determining your bankroll and applying discipline. You have to be realistic.

That’s especially important when it comes to initially assessing your finances. Do not approach this as a financial ‘investment’, and allocate money to it accordingly. If you’re targeting 20% of your income going towards savings – even if that’s in stocks and shares – your online casino bankroll should definitely not be a part of that. 

Instead, gambling should fall squarely into however much you allow yourself for leisure activities. Treat this just as you would spending money on trips to restaurants, bars, and so on – it’s a fun thing to do in your spare time, but you certainly shouldn’t ‘expect’ to get your money back.

The 50/30/20 Rule

There are endless guides out there about how to divide your income. Of these, the 50/30/20 rule is probably the most common. In short, this states that 50% goes to ‘essentials’ (rent, bills, groceries, etc.), 30% goes to ‘wants’ (shopping, entertainment, travel, and so on), and 20% is saved for the future. 

As noted, your casino bankroll should not come out of that 20% on savings. Instead, it falls squarely into the ‘wants’ category. This is purely a fun diversion, a hobby – not any kind of proven or reliable way to make money. 

How much of that 30% should you spend on casino gaming? That’s completely up to you, depending on how many other hobbies or pastimes you have. A general rule of thumb many bettors use, however, is that no more than 5% of their overall income should go to gambling. If you earn $1,000/month that’s $50, $2,000/month is $100, and so on.

Choosing the Right Games

To an extent, your casino bankroll strategy should revolve around casino games that you actually want to play, of course. Gambling is supposed to be fun, after all, so you should be doing so on games you enjoy. 

That said, there are also economic factors to consider. 

Firstly, the house edge can vary significantly between different games. It may be as little as 0.5% with video poker bankroll management, for example, and all the way up to 29% on some keno (lottery) games

It can even vary between different variants of the same game. With roulette money management, for example, European and American roulette have sizable differences in their house edge thanks to the addition of an extra ‘zero’ segment.

Secondly, different games have different levels of risk. This can most obviously be true for your odds of winning. But different games can also have differing buy-in amounts, and – the higher your buy-in – the more risk there is automatically. 

Finally, there’s the inherent volatility of the games you play. Something like baccarat bankroll management is relatively straightforward, for example, because there’s no volatility at all – your chances are always the same. With slots bankroll management, however, there can be an enormous amount of volatility to account for.

Identifying and Avoiding Risky Behaviors

The number one threat to smart betting bankroll management is, quite simply, yourself. It’s all very well identifying your bankroll, and even putting a staking plan in place – but it’s completely up to you to actually execute the whole thing successfully when you play games.

A key part of doing so is learning about risky behaviors which could harm your chances. You can then identify them when they crop up, and subsequently avoid them. 

What we’re talking about here is, of course, responsible gambling. There are lots of ways in which you can stray from this path, with just a few examples including:

  • Using bigger and bigger stakes (outside of a betting system)
  • Spending more and more time gambling
  • Thinking about gambling a lot when you’re not doing it
  • Your gambling financially impacting other parts of your life
  • Gambling impacting your personal relationships

There’s no shame in any of this – responsible gambling is something lots of people struggle with. All that matters is that you identify it as quickly as possible, and take steps to correct it, such as talking to a friend or family member, or seeking using one of the many free resources available online.

Know When to Walk Away

Somewhat related to our previous point, it is imperative that you know when to walk away when you play games. Using a betting system (more on that shortly) should help you here. But the temptation will still be there to go one more round; place one more bet.

A large part of this – whether for craps bankroll management or that for any other random games – involves overcoming ‘Gambler’s Fallacy’. This is the belief that previous results have any impact at all on future outcomes. They don’t. There’s no such thing as hot or cold streaks, or being ‘due’ a win. Instead, you should simply keep the cold, hard facts in mind, specifically your actual chances of winning every bet you place and avoid chasing losses.

Segmenting and Allocating Your Online Gaming Bankroll

After deciding on your overall bankroll, you need to identify how much you’ll actually be betting each time you play. These segments will be your ‘unit sizes’. 

A common rule many bettors follow is not to bet more than 10% of their entire bankroll on any online casino games. As you’re starting out, you’ll probably want to go significantly lower than that, but you can always build up if you’re feeling comfortable and confident. 

There are various other steps you can take, to either organize your bankroll or make it go further. Here are five examples:

  • Using VIP Programs

With most online casinos, you’ll be entered automatically into the loyalty program when you open a casino account. You’ll then progress through it as you play, unlocking continually better rewards. Most notably, these can include free bets and cash bonuses, both of which help your money go further.

  • Triggering Casino Bonuses

You will need to spend money, and fulfill certain specific conditions, to trigger a casino’s special offers. This is usually worth doing anyway, since the rewards when gambling online should be in proportion to – or better than – that spend. You’ll definitely need to check that for yourself though, by scrutinizing the T&Cs of any deals you’re interested in. 

  • Noting Table Limits

Every game will have its own minimum and maximum limits. The latter will only really trouble the higher rollers. The former, however, will be important to more casual players. Higher minimum spends will involve more risk, but also – of course – bigger rewards in turn. 

  • Using Session Bankrolls

It’s often not convenient for bettors to work out their casino bankroll management on a daily basis. After all, many punters don’t play every day. Instead, you may want to use session bankrolls. 

As the name suggests, this sets aside a maximum amount which you’ll allow yourself to spend every time you sit down to play. If you lose that money, the session is over immediately. We’d also recommend having a profit target, however, which you’ll stop playing when you meet, otherwise you could end up playing forever. 

  • Using An App

Even the best-laid plans in betting are subject to human error. A great way to help minimize this risk is to use a bankroll management app. Ideally this will be targeted specifically at betting, but even one for general financial investments could work. Either way, it should help to do the calculations for you, and avoid you making costly mistakes.

Betting Systems to Help You Manage Your Budget

Betting systems and bankroll management for casino table games really go hand in hand. The latter may tell you how much you can spend overall; but the former tells you how to actually spend it.

Some of the more traditional betting systems – like counting cards to boost your blackjack bankroll – don’t really work any more (in this case, because the decks are usually shuffled after every hand). Here’s a quick guide to the most popular, modern-day systems. 

Positive Progression

Positive progression betting systems specifically target bigger profits. They work by raising your stakes after successful bets, and lowering them when you lose. 

The most straightforward example is the Paroli betting system. This simply involves doubling your next stake after a winning bet. If you do so three times in a row, the cycle is complete. 

Negative Progression

Rather than specifically targeting profits, negative progression betting aims to recoup any losses you sustain. It does so by raising your stakes after losing bets, and – usually – continuing to do so until you eventually win. When this happens, you’ll reclaim your losses in one go. 

There are plenty of negative progression systems out there, including the Martingale (see below). The Fibonacci System is another popular example though, which simply involves multiplying your unit size by the next number in the Fibonacci Sequence (1,1,2,3,5,8,13, etc.), until you win.


This is arguably the most famous betting system of all. It’s also very straightforward, and a textbook example of negative progression. With the Martingale, you simply double your next stake after losing a bet, and continue doing so until you eventually win. While this will work in theory, it does somewhat fall foul of Gambler’s Fallacy, since there’s no guarantee that your losing streak will ever actually be broken. 

casino bankroll management strategies

Flat Betting

It could be debated whether flat betting is really a betting system, or the opposite of one. Regardless, it is a popular option not only in casino gaming, but bankroll management for sport betting too. 

Flat betting – as the name suggests – literally just involves always betting the same amount. If your monthly bankroll is $100, for example, and you simply say you’re going to place 100 individual bets per month, then your flat stake size would be $1. 

This isn’t particularly nuanced, and obviously doesn’t balance risk and reward in individual games and bets. Casino bankroll management for flat betting casino games is still better than nothing, though, and – if you stay disciplined – will ensure you stick within your budget. 

Final Thoughts

With almost 5,000 online casinos to play at, failing to have a strategy in place is the quickest and easiest way to blow up your betting account. Perhaps you’ll get lucky, simply placing bets at random, but the chances are against it. While it still doesn’t actually improve your chances of winning, smart casino bankroll management will at least keep you in the game for the long haul. Most importantly, if you stick to it, it’ll also stop you from losing more money than you can afford. 

To recap: begin by identifying how much you’re willing to bet per month, and treat that ‘money spent’ rather than a financial investment. After that, set your typical unit size (max. 10% of your bankroll). Finally, try to have at least some staking plan in place, whether it’s simply flat betting, or an actual betting system. 


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