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Gaming Guru

 

Setting Limits

2 April 2010

I received an e-mail from a reader asking me if I believed in setting win goals and stop losses when I play casino games.

This is a question that is often debated among advantage players who play games in which they have an edge, such as poker, blackjack or video poker. Advantage players believe that as long as they have an advantage there is no reason to put a limit on the amount they win or lose in a particular session because each session is part of one long game and in the long run they will win.

This makes sense if the game can be beaten with skill, but since most casino games have a negative expectation, I advise players to establish some sort of money management plan before they start playing. The simplest way to do this is to set win goals and stop losses for each session they play so they will not give back all the profits if they do win. Some players argue that the concept of money management is nothing more than smoke and mirrors because when you play a game with a negative expectation, you will lose in the long run. This is true. However in the short run anything can happen and players do win.

Win Goal

Setting a win goal when playing slots is not practical because there is no fixed amount you can win on each spin. If you were playing Blackjack for ten dollars a hand, it would be easy to set a win goal of fifty dollars and then quit once you have won five hands above your starting buy in. A winning spin on a slot machine could be a few dollars or a few thousands of dollars. Instead of a specific win goal before you play, you should set a win goal after you have hit enough to put you ahead for the session.

Set aside the beginning money that you started with and the profit you want to lock up. Then play with the rest of the winnings. If you continue to win, you can add to your profit that you locked up. This is a sliding scale so you can continue to play if you continue to win without having to stop at predetermined figure.

Loss Limits

I always advise setting a loss limit for anyone playing any casino game. Gambling is entertainment and you should never bet money that you can't afford to lose. You should set a loss limit whenever you play. Your overall loss limit should be determined before you even leave for the casino.

You should decide exactly how much money you will spend for gambling. This is going to be separate from your other spending money. This is your gambling bankroll and you will use only this money for playing. If you are going to be at the casino for a day, you should divide your money into playing sessions for that day. If you are on vacation for a few days, you need to divide your starting money by the number of days and then divide it into the number of playing sessions.

You might want to set another loss limit at the beginning of each playing session. Just because you allocated a set amount for your session does not mean you have to lose it all on one machine. You might want to put stop loss at 50 percent of your session bankroll for any machine you decide to play. If you lose half your money in a fairly short period of time, you may want to try your luck on another machine. Setting a loss limit on each machine you play can help you extend your playing time because you are taking a break while you change machines.

Setting loss limits can also help you stay in control of your emotions when you are losing. Some players start behaving irrationally when they lose and they try to chase their losses in hope of getting back the money they have lost. Poker players call this "going on tilt." The player may get to the point where they no longer care about how much they have lost and will continue to play until all their money is gone. Players who set limits and then have the discipline to adhere to them are less likely to lose control.

It's easy to leave the casino when all your money is gone. It takes discipline to walk away when you hit your limit. But discipline and control are what separates the winners from the losers.

Until mext time remember:
Luck comes and goes.....Knowledge Stays Forever.

Bill Burton
Bill Burton is a gambling expert and best-selling author of Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em and 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets. He is the former Casino Gambling columnist for About.com.

Burton's Texas Holdem book was published in 2002 long before the game became a national phenomenon. The producers of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown used his book during the first season to teach the game to the participants.

He writes for several national gaming magazines and newsletters. These publications include: Casino Player, Strictly Slots, The Southern California Gaming Guide, Midwest Gaming and Travel magazine, Southern Gaming and Destinations magazine, Midwest Player and Blackjack Insider.

Burton is an instructor for the Golden Touch Craps dice control seminars teaching players how to gain the advantage in craps. He is an expert at all casino games and can teach players how to play any casino game as well as offering them advice to get the most out of their casino visits.

Bill Burton Websites:

www.billburton.com
www.goldentouchcraps.com

Books by Bill Burton:

1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets

> More Books By Bill Burton

Bill Burton
Bill Burton is a gambling expert and best-selling author of Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em and 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets. He is the former Casino Gambling columnist for About.com.

Burton's Texas Holdem book was published in 2002 long before the game became a national phenomenon. The producers of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown used his book during the first season to teach the game to the participants.

He writes for several national gaming magazines and newsletters. These publications include: Casino Player, Strictly Slots, The Southern California Gaming Guide, Midwest Gaming and Travel magazine, Southern Gaming and Destinations magazine, Midwest Player and Blackjack Insider.

Burton is an instructor for the Golden Touch Craps dice control seminars teaching players how to gain the advantage in craps. He is an expert at all casino games and can teach players how to play any casino game as well as offering them advice to get the most out of their casino visits.

Bill Burton Websites:

www.billburton.com
www.goldentouchcraps.com

Books by Bill Burton:

1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets

> More Books By Bill Burton