How to Manage Your Money While Playing Casino Holdem

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Whenever I go to the casino I have 2 goals in mind:

1. Have fun.

2. Win life-changing money.

I’m sure we have something in common here, right?!?

Sadly, when it comes to my goals I always bat 1 for 2. I have fun for sure, but I have yet to win life changing money. So instead what I end up having to aim for is:

2. Not lose my shirt (or bank balance, house, car, children, etc).

The thing with Casino Holdem is that, unlike it’s more popular cousin Texas Holdem, it’s not beatable. With optimal strategy the house has an edge of about 2%. The edge is definitely low, especially when compared to other casino games. But Casino Holdem cannot be beaten.

So when it comes to managing your Casino Holdem bankroll, your goal should be to minimize your losses. In turn this will give you the opportunity to play for a long time, completing both of our (my) goals every time we step foot inside, or log into, the casino. That said, I thought I’d give you a few tips to help you accomplish these goals.

5 Tips for Reducing Risk & Prolonging Your Bankroll While Playing Casino Holdem

Casino Holdem Bankroll Management Tip #1 – Avoid the Side Bets & Progressives

Side bets and progressives are fun, sure, but they aren’t very good bets if your goal is to minimize losses and prolong your bankroll.

The house edge Casino Holdem side bets and progressives are between 6 and 7 percent. This a little over 3x the house edge for just normal wagers.

To put this into perspective, for every $5 that you spend you’re losing $.10 with a 2% edge. You should be able to play 1,000 hands on a $100 bankroll. However, you’re losing $.35 with the 7% edge, which means you’ll only be able to play roughly 285 hands on the same bankroll.

Casino Holdem Bankroll Management Tip #2 – Study & Use Optimal Strategy

According to the Wizard of Odds, there isn’t an optimal strategy for Casino Holdem. Not a strategy that is easy to explain anyway. The Wizard only suggests that you should be raising about 82% of the time.

He doesn’t discuss this any further, however, if you have a background in Texas Holdem (like I do) then I think your strategy is straightforward:

  • Fold hands that entirely miss the flop. For example, if you have 93o and the flop is 5-8-A rainbow. The extra bet to see the turn and river cards seem like a bad idea to me.
  • Fold gutshot straight draws, with the exception of having high cards in the hole. For example, I’d fold 2-4 on a flop of A-5-K. But I wouldn’t fold A-4 on a flop of 2-5-K. My high card could very well be good, plus I have outs for the gutshot.
  • Raise pairs, flush draws and high cards.

These are my personal strategies. I’m definitely no Casino Holdem master, but I think this strategy will come close to the 82% raising range.

Casino Holdem Bankroll Management Tip #3 – Set a Stop Loss

A stop loss is a number that represents the maximum amount of money you’re willing to lose in one sitting — or for an entire trip. Once you lose that amount you get up and you leave. You don’t go to the ATM, ask your significant other for more money or sign your house over to the casino. Just get up and leave.

Stop losses can work for wins, too. Say, for example, that you used my strategy above and ran your $100 bankroll up to $1,000. If you had a $1,000 stop loss you’d have to get up and leave the table.

Some people might disagree with me on having a stop loss for winning, saying things like you never quit while on a hot streak. Makes sense, I guess. But if you’re going to play with that mindset you should regularly increase your stop loss. So if you have a stop loss of -$250, but ran your bankroll up to $1,000, you should increase your new stop loss to +$250 or +$500. That way you can continue to play, but also ensure that you leave with more than you started with.

Casino Holdem Bankroll Management Tip #4 – Wager No More Than 1%

A great way to prolong your bankroll is to wager smaller amounts. Speaking from experience I know it’s hard not to want to wager big so that you can win big. But again, from experience I can tell you it’s the fastest way to deplete your roll.

So what I suggest doing is this. Wager no more than 1% of your bankroll on each hand of Casino Holdem. For example, you’d wager no more than $5 with a bankroll of $500. You can try 2% ($250 bankroll) if that’s too conservative.

I realize that not everyone will have a $250 or $500 bankroll, so in that case I would just wager the table minimum. That’s usually $3 to $5 live, and as little as $1 online.

Casino Holdem Bankroll Management Tip #5 – Free Drinks & Comps

This tip applies to brick and mortar Casino Holdem. But I suggest playing at a casino that will comp you meals and/or free drinks as long as you’re playing. Even if you have to drive an extra 30 minutes or hour out of your way, I’m sure it’d be worth it.

Think of it like this — a drink in the casino is, what, $4 to $10. Every $10 drink will cost you about 100 hands if you play without side bets and progressives. So if you can manage to save yourself $10, $20 or even $30 in drinks and food, you essentially just bought yourself another 1 to 3 hours worth of Casino Holdem hands.