Updated: Jan 16
It does not matter if you’re a sports bettor, a daily fantasy sports player, a poker player, or just a gambler in general, nothing will have a bigger impact on your success and win-rate than proper bank roll management.
It is important to note here that we are not financial advisors, and certainly not your financial advisor. The concepts of bankroll management were not invented by us and we are far from the only people who use it. In fact, all long-term professional bettors use a system of bank roll management. For us, it is highly important that our bank roll is completely separate from our other personal finances and that it entirely includes money we can afford to lose. It does not matter how often you bet, you should always be applying proper bank roll management. As we mentioned we are not financial advisors, but we highly recommend only playing with money that you can afford to lose.
The general concept of bank roll management is simple: play only a portion of your bank roll on each bet to ensure that you do not go broke. In betting, this often described as “units”. Ideally, and especially for beginners, good bankroll management has us never wagering more than 1% of our bank roll on any single bet. A more experienced and/or aggressive bettor would probably wager up to 5% of their bank roll. Anything beyond that and we believe you are overextending and taking on too much risk for your long-term success. Whatever percentage you decide is right for you would be your unit size.
Since units are relative to your bank roll, sports bettors like to speak to in terms of units. Not every person has the same financial situation and there is no universal bet size. By speaking in units instead of dollars, sports bettors are able to discuss their picks or positions without the need to sift through unnecessary information like how much money someone else has.
An aspect of bank roll management that is often overlooked is the importance of tracking your results. Not only is it beneficial to know and understand your win rates, but this information can be used to help decide whether you want to increase or decrease your bet percentages. Be careful making any drastic changes with a small sample of data. Poker players like to see thousands of hands worth of data before confidently relying on it. Likewise a down week or month should not force you to change your bet sizing in either direction, so long as you are always applying proper bank roll management.
Personally, we like to track the result of every bet and break down our data once a month. We also separate our results by sport. There is no rule against using different unit sizes for different sports, especially the sports you do best in!
Losing streaks are never fun, but they are not uncommon. Even the best bettors have losing streaks. I need to say that again: even the best bettors have losing streaks. Poker players call this “variance”. Applying proper process, a smart bettor will never chase losses. They understand that losing, and even misfortune, are often part of what they enjoy doing. Better yet, by betting such a small amount of their bank roll at a time, a savvy bettor does not get frustrated when their bets begin to lose, even a losing streak does not upset them greatly, because proper bank roll management dictates the affordable risk.
On the other side of things, it is equally important to apply bank roll management when you are on a winning streak. You may feel extremely confident or even that you have a “hot hand’, but all too often do these kinds of bettors bet big and lose their entire roll that they just spent their time, energy, and patience building up. These situations are often the most important time for a bettor to remain disciplined and to trust their process.
Addiction is a very serious topic. If you ever believe you may have an addiction or a gambling problem, you should always contact help. There are a considerable number of amazing places to contact for help.
If you are unable to apply proper bank roll management, whatever that may mean to you, then it is very well possible that you may need to contact someone more qualified and able to consult on such issues. Furthermore, such behavior would indicate that gambling may not be the best for you and you should stop before more losses occur.
MAXIMIZE YOUR ROLL
In the end, all true experts and long-term professional gamblers will agree that some form of bank roll management is critical to sustainable success. If you are able to simply follow your own system, which should be created after consulting multiple places with information, we are confident that better results are likely to follow.