Good Odds

The odds are always against you when you gamble, which is an excellent argument for not gambling in the first place.  If you're gonna gamble anyway, then it pays to play at a casino that offers good odds.  That's one reason I chose Bovada as the advertiser.  Let me first tell you about the competition, though.

Many online casinos are stingy when setting the odds on their games.  They think they'll make more money by setting the games tighter, so the player has less chance of winning, but they're wrong.  When players lose at a tight casino too quickly, those players much less likely to return.  Contrast that with a casino with good odds: Players get to play longer, which is a good experience, so they're more likely to return and become long-term customers.

Bovada has always offered games with good odds, knowing that if your money lasts longer, you'll be a happier, loyal customer.  They've got:

  • Two blackjack games returning over 99.8%
  • Single-0 roulette
  • Full-pay Jacks or Better (99.54%)
  • Nine other video poker games returning over 99%

Bovada's not perfect, but at least they offer decent odds.

Try their blackjack for free.
One click and you're in.


Gambling problem?

  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

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Gambling problem?

  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

How Much to Bet Per Hand/Round
(aka, "Bet Sizing")

Last Update: August 2018

If you've never gambled before, you'll want to figure how much you can afford to bet on each round of blackjack, craps, roulette, or slots for your playing session.  You'll have to make sure you can afford at least the casino minimum, which is never less than $5 on the Vegas Strip and downtown, but $10, $15, or $25 at many casinos.  Most slot machines come in penny, nickel, quarter, and dollar flavors. 

How much can you afford to bet per round?
How much $ are you willing to lose, total?  $

1 hr. 2 hrs. 4 hrs.

Blackjack

Craps

Baccarat

Roulette

Video Poker

Slots

Notes: Blackjack, baccarat, and video poker assume proper strategy.
Craps assumes only Pass Line bets. Roulette assumes one even-money bet per spin.
Video poker and slots assume typical returns for Vegas machines.
VP and slot figures were rounded.

The anwer is in the table at right.

Let's say you go to Vegas with $200 and want to play blackjack for two hours.  The calculator shows that you can afford to bet $7 per hand.  Note that this doesn't account for the standard $5/hr. for tipping. To keep the calculator less complicated, figure that your budget is really $210, to account for the $5 per hour x 2 hours in tips.

The figures in the calculator are designed to give you a 10% risk of ruin, meaning that you have a 90% chance of surviving your play and only a 10% chance of losing your whole bankroll.  I came up with these figures through computer simulation.

There's more about all this in my cover story in the Oct. 2005 issue of Casino Player magazine, "Secrets of Money Management". Someday I may get around to reprinting the whole thing here....

If you have any money left at the end of your session, you might want to consider using my Halfies System.


Practice gambling with play money

Before you throw down your hard-earned cash in a casino, PRACTICE FIRST!  Learn the games with play money where it doesn't cost you anything if you lose.  Seriously.

You can play Bovada's games (below) right away without registering for an account.  Most every other online casino makes you give up your email address just to play the fake-money games — ugh.  That's the mean reason Bovada is the only online casino that gets advertising space on my site.  I hope other casinos will eventually start treating their visitors like human beings rather than walking wallets, but until they do, there's Bovada.  One click and you're in.

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