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Bankroll Battles

by Heavy

 

Imagine yourself in a war zone.  The enemy is just over the horizon, but you have nothing to fear.  Thanks to satellite technology, you have a precise topographical map revealing exact enemy placement and strength. 

 

With that information, you have been able to anticipate their next move and formulate a precise battle plan to win the day. 

 

You lie in wait until, at the precise hour you expected, the enemy appears on the horizon.  You raise your weapon but hold your fire until you can see the whites of their eyes. 

 

 With the enemy is in your sights, you ease off the safety, take a deep breath, let it out, and squeeze the trigger. 

           

CLICK

You’re out of bullets.

 

 Not a very good feeling, is it? 

 

Nevertheless, you are in a battle every time you enter the casino.  It is a war of attrition, and your bankroll is the ammunition.   

 

The enemy has enough bullets to last the 100 Years War.  You must bring at least enough to win the next battle.

  

 How much is enough? 

 

For years, popular theory has stated that a bankroll of ten times your first bet is sufficient for the game of craps. 

 

However, this statement is frequently misinterpreted - much to the joy of the casinos.  Let’s break it down into some specifics. 

 

First of all, the ten times theory refers to a single session bankroll.  Many players think of their session as beginning when they walk in the doors of the casino, and ending when they pull out of the parking lot. 

 

In reality, a session begins with your buy in and ends when you walk away from the table.  If you take a break for lunch, the session is over.  If you get tired of standing at the table and go play the slots for awhile, again the session is over.  And, most importantly, if you hit your loss limit that session is over.     

 

The “ten times” theory also refers to a minimum bankroll. 

 

There’s a reason why GI’s carry around those fifty pound field packs, and it is not for the exercise.  If they run out of ammunition, they pay with their lives. In the case of casino craps, it is always comforting to have a few extra bullets in your magazine. 

 

For that reason, I prefer a session bankroll of 12 – 15 times my initial spread.

 

Spread, by the way, is the second part of the craps bankroll equation.  Many players hear “first bet” and take that to mean their line bet.  For example, a ten-dollar pass line better might determine that his first bet times ten is $100, and believe that is a sufficient session bankroll. 

 

Yet this same player places $20 in odds behind the line, then makes two come bets with odds, giving him a total of $90 in action. 

 

He has mistakenly focused on the initial line bet instead of the total spread.  Using the 10X formula, this level of betting requires a minimum bankroll of $900, not $100. 

 

Using the more conservative 12X formula, a session bankroll of around $1100 would be more reasonable. 

    

The next part of the formula is to determine how many sessions you plan to play.  I played five sessions on my last overnight outing. 

 

When on extended trips to Vegas or Tunica, an average of three to four sessions a day is not unusual.  On a three-night trip to Vegas, then, I would take sufficient bankroll for nine to ten sessions, and keep an additional three to four session bankroll in reserve. 

 

Running out of bullets on day one is akin to being taken hostage during a minor skirmish and spending the rest of the war in a POW camp.  It is not a lot of fun.

 

Let’s take another betting scenario and do the math just to make sure you understand the numbers.  In this case, we will consider a player who uses a simple place betting system where he by-passes the come out roll and places the inside numbers. 

 

If the six or eight is the point he places $32 inside – that’s $12 on number opposite the point, and ten each on the five or nine.  If the five or nine are the point, he places $10 on the number opposite the point and $12 each on the six and eight. 

 

In those instances where the four or ten is the point, he places $12 each on the six and eight, and $5 each on the five and nine.  He will always have three or four inside numbers working for him, with $32 to $34 at risk. 

 

Using the conservative 12X the initial bet theory with a $34 spread, this player’s session bankroll should be around $408.  Now let’s assume he’s going to play three sessions per day.  

 

That’s a daily bankroll of $1224.   And if he’s going to be in Vegas for three nights then his total trip bankroll would be $3672.  To be conservative, add sufficient reserves for three more sessions.  That brings the total trip bankroll up to $4896. 

 

Quite a bit of cash compared to what the average tourist brings to gamble with in Vegas – according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Bureau it’s just a little over $500.  And THAT is one of the primary reasons most players leave Vegas with empty pockets.  

   

Okay, I can hear the objections coming already.  You cannot afford to commit close to $5000 to a gambling bankroll.   Fine.  You don’t have to. 

 

There are plenty of variables in the formula.  Reducing your spread to $17 reduces the required bankroll by half. 

 

Cutting down to two sessions a day reduces it by another third.  The important thing to remember is that the size of your bankroll and the size of your bet are mutually dependent numbers. 

 

As the bankroll decreases, so must the size of your bets.  Playing beyond your bankroll and increasing the size of your bets after losses leads to “gambler’s ruin.”

 

Here are some of the ways I limit the amount of bankroll I risk.  First of all, I incorporate a regression after my first “win.”  For example, I may place $66 inside – that’s three units each on the 5, 6, 8, and 9. 

 

By the above logic, I should start out with a bankroll of around $800 to make this play.  However, after the first hit on any number, I collect a $21 pay off then reduce my bets to either $22 inside or a $12 six and eight.  On the second toss of the dice I have $22 - $24 in action, but only have $1 - $3 at risk due to the hit and regress move.  This strategy lowers my average spread to $44 – which requires a bankroll of around $530. 

 

In addition to these moves, I’ll limit the number of shooters I’ll bet on.  Think of it as scouting out the enemy positions. 

 

I chart players as well as table trends, looking for a “qualified” shooter.  What’s a qualified shooter?  It’s a player who has proven he can throw point numbers and sustain a longer than average roll. 

 

Nine times out of ten these are dice setters who display a talent for delivering the dice the same way time after time, thereby reducing their sevens-to-roll ratio – and the casino’s advantage.  

 

Even these conservative strategies, though, require a 10-session bankroll of over $5000.

 

 Where do you get that kind of bankroll.  It really is not that difficult.  Set aside fifty bucks out of each pay check and in a year you have accumulated $1200. 

 

Clean out the garage and have a yard sale for another $200.   If you have a 401K at work, have your dividends paid to you quarterly direct instead of reinvested. 

 

Take a sandwich for lunch instead of eating at Burger King to save another hundred a month.  Take that fifty dollars your aunt gave you for Christmas and add it to the stash. 

 

Throw your pocket change into a piggy bank every night and count it up once a year.  And always - ALWAYS commit at least fifty percent of your winnings back into your bankroll.

 

Remember, when you enter the casino you are entering enemy territory.   The rules of engagement are clearly drawn.   To win the day you must have two things.   A battle plan and a bunch of bullets.   

 

Don’t end up like the pilot who delivered his bombs, then realized he didn’t have enough fuel to get back to base. 

 

Come to the table with sufficient bankroll, a win objective and a loss limit.  And if you have the misfortune of hitting that loss limit, have the discipline to accept that loss as a temporary set back and walk away. 

 

The soldier who knows when to retreat lives to fight another day.  

 

Back To Heavy On...

 

Copyright 2001 by Stephen Haltom - all rights reserved.

   

 

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