I have written and talked about the four ingredients necessary to be a successful gambler. They are bankroll, knowledge, money management and discipline.
Discipline is the most important in the end. It is the ability to walk away a winner or with minimal losses. However, before you can use knowledge of the game, money management techniques and eventually discipline, it all starts with bankroll.
Most people will scrape up whatever money they can and think that luck, law of averages or some other illogical theory will make them a winner. It doesn’t happen that way.
A small bankroll causes you to play scared and you will make decisions that coincide with your shortage of money. A small bankroll is such a disadvantage that you find yourself making moves just to stay in the game instead of taking advantage of the beating the house when you encounter a good hot or cold streak.
For example, let’s say a bet calls for taking or laying odds and you don’t have enough money to do it. So you merely make the flat bet. The bet wins but look what your lack of bankroll has done to you. It affected your play and caused you to change an appropriate betting decision because you didn’t have the proper bankroll.
There are two main reasons why most gamblers go down the tubes. Lack of a loss limit and lack of a win goal. These are determined by your bankroll.
A loss limit is a limit you set on what your losses will be for a certain day, game or table. It’s the limit you lose. You never bet down to your last chip.
A session should last until either your win goal is accomplished or your loss limit is reached. When you lose that predetermined amount your play is over.
Loss limits will completely eliminate the possibility of ever going broke. A 50% loss limit should be used but no more than 60%. This means I can lose anywhere up to 60% but never exceed it. My buy in is usually $3000, so I will never draw down more than $1800. The reason you take more money with you than you put at risk is to eliminate playing with scared money. If you are tempted to play with the extra money then you have no discipline. You can make the loss limit lower but not below 25%. You give up your recovery power the more you lower your loss limit.
When you are losing you don’t have to wait for your exact percentage to be reached to quit. When I’m losing at a certain point and can’t get going I realize I’m in the wrong spot and pack it in at less than my loss limit.
Just as important as a loss limit is the win goal. This is the amount of money you set as the goal you want to reach.
This win goal must be set before your first bet, not after you get ahead. It must be set on your starting bankroll same as the loss limit. I usually set my win goal at 20% but never more than 30%. That is not to say that I can’t win more than that 20% or 30%. When I reach my goal I will continue playing until I have a losing shooter. I will continue as long I’m still winning or breaking even.
The win goal is only a point you want to reach and then guarantee your profit for the session.
Win goals must be made small, so we can attain them easily, and then go for the bigger returns.
We must accept the fact that gambling is a tough business and that winning small amounts consistently is better than always going for that big hit. We’ll have our big days but the main thing is to minimize losses. If you adhere to the money management, knowledge and discipline techniques presented in the numerous Benson systems, you will see how much longer your bankroll will stay active. As long as you have that bankroll to compete, you’re a threat to the casinos.