Stretching Your Bankroll when Money gets Tight

I could lecture you on the importance of establishing and maintaining a separate gaming bankroll, but let’s face it.  Most of you won’t do that and those of you who have already done so probably won’t hesitate to use the funds in that account should you need the extra money to pay by that special bike the grandson wants or to spend an extra night or two at the Marriott in the next State while on vacation or visiting the kids for whatever the holiday of the month is.  When discretionary income gets tight – discretionary activities like gambling are among the first things folks cut back on.

Here are some thought starters on how to stretch your gaming bankroll when you do hit the tables:

1.  Start Low and Go Slow.  There’s nothing written in stone when it comes to betting.  You don’t have to toss out your usual $110 inside on every player.  It’s perfectly okay to start with a single bet and progress from there.  You might, for example, start out by placing the sister of the number that was established as the point.  When the six is the point place the eight, and vice versa.  If you’d like a little more action place just the six and eight and forget about the rest of the inside numbers.  After a hit or two spread to $22 inside then play and up and out strategy if the hand continues.  Looking for a lower vig way to play?  Consider the Heatseeking strategy, starting out with $22 inside and running a place-to-come progression.  Played properly you’ll never have more than three units at risk, and you can quickly move into a profitable position.  There are plenty of ways to enjoy the game without putting all of your action on the table.

2.  Three Little Words.  Don’t forget those all-important three little words – “Take me down.”  People often call me superstitious when I turn my bets off after a craps number rolls in the middle of a hand.  But it’s not superstition that makes me to this.  It’s a pre-planned key that tells me to take a break for a couple of rolls.  It’s another way to bet less – and that will ultimately save me money.  Some players use indicators like the dice rolling off the table as keys.  Others use numerical keys, turning their bets off after a certain number of rolls or after they have pressed their action up to a certain level.  Whatever key you use – remember than taking money out of action from time to time will enhance your bottom line.

3.  Skip a Shooter.  The reasoning behind this is the same as in turning your bets off.  Just as there’s nothing written that says you have to play the same betting strategy all the time, there’s no reason why you can’s skip a shooter from time to time.  If you only bet on every other shooter you reduce your bankroll’s exposure to the house edge by 50%.  My suggestion – skip the questionable shooters and bet on the really good ones – and against the really bad ones. Or if you feel you MUST bet on the questionable shooters, limit yourself to a single Don’t Pass wager.

4.  Take those Bathroom Breaks.  Every DI should take a break and head to the restroom when the dice move to the opposite end of the table.  That gets you out of the action and gives you time to wash your hands before handling the dice.  These days we’ve learned it’s more important than ever.  The good news?  Odds are you’re still on the clock for comp purposes while you’re taking that comfort break.
5.  Focus on Free Odds.  If you want to reduce the house edge to the absolute minimum then focus most of your action on the Free Odds bet.  Yes, it’s a high volatility wager.  Volatility is good when the dice are rolling your way.  When they’re rolling against you – not so good.  That’s why it’s important to have a good awareness of the table trend.
6.  Remember the Dealers.  It’s only natural for players to get conservative with their tokes when cash is tight.  But remember, a good dealer will make money for you.  If you want good service then throw out an occasional toke.  If you get good service then tip again.

7.  Look for Opportunity Dollars.  Yes, they’re there in the trash can.  Recycle those aluminum cans.  Shop interest rates on your savings.  If you carry a credit card balance refinance into a zero interest card for 18 months and pay it off.  Combine shopping trips to save gasoline.  There are dozens of ways to economize that can put more money in your pocket.  Just take the time to look through your budget to find them.  Then dedicate a portion of those savings to your gaming account.

All of these suggestions are really just another form of money management.  With disciplined play you’ll not only survive with a smaller bankroll – you’ll become a better player in the process.  What do you have to lose – other than less money?