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Managing Your Capital in the Casino

The obvious folly of risking money that is needed for something else, doing so compounds the danger by leading to bad play.

It can affect judgment in various harmful ways. At best, mental concern about the money on the table is distracting and induces errors. At worst, some players, after a series of losses, abandon sound play and begin foolish, wild gambles in the hope of being suddenly lucky. Others, while not yielding to such harmful impulses, may nevertheless be intimidated into over caution and fail to press advantages when they appear--- fail to increase bets properly or to fail to split or double down when indicated, and initial capital for such is truly important right there.

For best prospects, the player ordinarily should allocate a specific sum of gambling, capital that he can well afford to lose and, for practical purposes, consider it already spent. The player's capital should be large enough to provide a comfortable reserve in case of early losses. To state the same thing differently, the average single bet should be sufficiently small that the player can, for a while if necessary, lose a substantial number of individual hands exceeding the number he wins without depleting his capital.

If fortune is particularly unkind and this gambling capital is lost or reduced to an uncomfortably small reserve, the question of whether to replenish must be answered by each individual partner. The decision should be made unemotionally, and the capital should not be replenished with money that is needed for something else. Now, if the player wants to continue the game (why the hell not?) and does not want to replenish his funds, he should reduce his single bets or temporarily abstain until his overall personal finances again show a bit of surplus.

This whole matter about the player's capital involves not only managing it, but the mathematical problem of 'gambler's ruin'--- the chance of losing all a stated sum of money, given a known statistical advantage or disadvantage on each bet, while attempting to win a stated sum. Mathematicians have calculated such chances with precision, given exact information as to percent advantage and size of bets. The variation of individual bets, the uncertainties in how frequently the dealers will shuffle the deck, rule variations between casinos, and other factors prevent knowledge of the exact average percent advantage the player will have.

Moreover, this matter will have different application to different people, though. It may mean little to the independently wealthy player, as his capital reserve can be about as much as he wishes. The point is that more units of gambling capital a player can afford to lose; the better his chances are of winning.

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