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Money Management: A Vital Skill in Gambling

Managing your money is probably the only important skill in most gambling. When everything is based on luck, you have to control what you can.


Sometimes that’s just as simple as knowing when to walk away. And yet this is a point that often gets overlooked when talking about starting gambling as a hobby. Often there’s hints and tips about choosing the right game or device, or doing a bit of research before you begin.

But all too often the simple idea of managing your outgoings seems to be presumed as a given. That’s a really bad presumption to make. Some would go as far as to say it’s dangerous.

Managing your money

When gambling, it’s all too easy to get into the headspace of your cash being a toy. It is the means to playing your game or taking your bet. Of course, that’s done on purpose. In a real casino, money is swapped for plastic chips. Online you “invest” it – handing over money to be kept by the site you’re using.

And because it’s not paper in your wallet, it’s easy to think of it differently. People don’t look for deals before they start – like these at Virgin Games. They get caught up in the bright lights and colors of certain branding, or in adverts they’ve seen on TV.


The money is there simply to facilitate the hobby. But that’s not a healthy way of looking at it. The money is, and always will be, something of value, that you’re giving up on the chance that you might make more in return. There is no lucky streak (or unlucky streak).

Now, if you wouldn’t walk into a supermarket and spend £10 on something that may only give you seconds of pleasure, you’ve got to make sure you don’t do that with gambling.

Unfortunately, that’s sometimes easier said than done.

Avoid Impulsive Bets

Luckily, all this goes away with a little bit of forward planning. Setting out a budget for your gambling and, more importantly, rigorously sticking with it, will save you stress and loss of more than you can afford.

If you give yourself a limit of £50 for a month and spend it all in the first week, that means you don’t gamble any more until the month is over.

That way you stop yourself from betting impulsively and falling into the trap of spending more than you should.

Once you’ve decided on that £50 budget, you know what you’ve got to work with. It means you’re probably not going to be taking fifty spins on the £1 slots. It means you’re not going to be playing £500-a-hand poker. With that in mind, you can pick the part of the hobby that best represents your spending power.

The other advantage is that if you have a £50 limit, you know that anything you win back over that is for you. Gambling is far more fun when you’re not just giving it straight back to the house.


The issue – as with any potentially addictive hobby – is to make sure you control it as best as you can.

Sensible choices about where you put your money will make your happier and healthier in the long run.

And a few minutes budgeting out and learning to stick to that budget will make all the difference in the world.


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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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