Does your (bankroll’s) size matter?

Aug 15, 2005 12:58 AM

One of the most overrated aspects of gambling is how much money should be taken for a gambling foray. As with most gaming issues, there isn’t a right or wrong answer until all the pertinent facts are laid out onto the table.

Basically, having the proper gambling bankroll pertains to those who either gamble for a living or for some reason have a need to sit at the machines for hours every day.

Everyone else need not worry about it, because they simply come into town for a visit and play whatever it is they can afford to lose.

Of course, there are also a good many who lose much more than they should. They chase promotions, worry about how many points they accumulate and basically do whatever it is that the casino managers want them to do.

Often, the bankroll issue gets blown out of proportion by "experts" who advocate things like, "Based on my calculations, a dollar Jacks or Better player requires a bankroll somewhere around $11,653," which supposedly has built into it enough spread to get players through the bad streaks, on the way to a theoretical tiny win percentage that might be realized who knows when.

Because let’s not let these nonsensical statements stand. Lets suppose the $11,653 number is proportionately adequate. So what amount does it then take to play the $25 machines? Why, that’s close to $300,000. And the $100 games? Forget about it. If video poker players had that kind of cash laying around just for gambling purposes, it would be the biggest anomaly of all time.

Why bring this up? Because I have never believed in such nonsensical bankroll requirements that were "created in the clouds" and because whenever I read these things I notice that the authors themselves play these games with bankrolls far short of their own equations. In fact, I believe the reason their risk-of-ruin bankroll figures are so far fetched is because they’re so caught up in the theoretical aspect of what it takes to be a winner into infinity that they lose virtually all touch with reality.

Even my own simple equation on what to take along for a bankroll shouldn’t be taken as gospel for the recreational, player. But it does fit the video poker picture far tighter than what the "experts" say.

Because all of my popular Romp-Thru-Town type play strategies (except Multi-Strike) progress in denomination until a certain goal is reached, my recommendation is that the player have available 3X 400 credits of the highest denomination he or she intends to play — and that’s only because multiple, goal-seeking mini-sessions are involved.

And when it comes to my original single-play strategy, that one requires 3X 400 credits of each of the denominations, because it is the one I play professionally for-profit at a much higher level than the others.

There is no catch in any of my strategies’ requirements to be successful. You will risk a relatively large amount of money in order to win a relatively small amount of money, and you will do this as many times as you feel comfortable doing it.

And if someone comes up to you and says, "Hey, I know you’ll win a lot of small amounts, but when that big loss comes along you’ll end up giving it all back and more," just reply: "Nice thinking Einstein, but come back after you run the numbers and find out that there are also huge jackpots that will be won, and those jackpots will compensate for that which might have been lost along the way."

After all, it is gambling, and highs and lows come with the territory. He just forgot to include the highs.

Now lets talk about those players who really have no reason to listen to all the baloney surrounding bankroll. Why worry about bankroll? Money saved for a trip to Las Vegas, whether spent on shows, rooms, meals or on the machines, is not a gambling bankroll.

In fact, many visitors consider it to have been entertainment money by the time they return home with an empty wallet. No harm, no foul, and no reason to condemn these folks for not being prepared.

I remember during my expert-play years on quarters and mostly dollars, there really wasn’t that much said about proper bankroll requirements. Yet in reality, I was playing with far more than the $11k-$12k they now say I need — and I lost anyway.

They also said I never should have lost, that I should have experienced the other side of that famous Bell curve at least some of the time. Maybe I did, but it didn’t feel that way at the end of each losing year. I was an expert all right ”¦ an expert at losing!

At the end of the day the only thing that makes sense to video poker players who aren’t positively enthralled with all the classroom theory about the game, is simplicity.

And that means an understandable, realistic requirement of what to take along for one to play a strategy that has a decent chance of winning on a regular basis. I have come up with that answer. Is there a risk of ruin? Of course there is. But don’t expect to see it in your lifetime.