(Image credit: Mike Poresky)
Learn how to Lose Money at the Casino Fast!
Gambling is one of the few forms of entertainment where the amount you spend can be either completely random or completely in your control. It all depends on you manage your money and which way random chance swings. You may not be able to control how much you win, but you can certainly control how much you lose.
We have offered countless tips to either lose less money gambling or even win more often over the years, but rarely do we offer insight on how to lose more money, faster.
If you feel the need to lose a lot of money quickly, these sure-fire methods will have you losing in no time. We guarantee* that if you follow these tips, you will start losing money gambling faster than ever before.
The best part of all is most of these tips can be used both offline and online! You can lose money gambling on your computer at home, on your iPhone while waiting for your plane to Vegas to take off and then on the casino floor in the middle of the Strip. Once you know how to lose money quickly with these terrible casino tips, don’t be afraid to be creative. There are tons of ways and places to lose money gambling.
And if for some reason you’re not into losing money, you can look at today’s post as a list of things not to do at the casino. I’ll let you decide if these are actually “tips” or if they are “mistakes.”
*Guarantee subject to the following terms and conditions: our guarantee is not a guarantee because we don’t like guarantees and you’ll probably mess it all up anyways and still blame us when you fail to lose money. Also, gambling is so unpredictable over the short term that you can do everything wrong but still win.
1. Drinking alcohol while gambling
Some of my fondest memories at the casino involved drinking myself into a stupor and then waking up facedown in my hotel room with an empty wallet, fifteen missed calls from my wife and absolutely zero memory of what happened the night before.
Gambling while drinking excessively is a sure way to lose a lot of money very quickly. Sometimes it happens so fast that your sense of time is completely lost. Then it feels like you lost a ton of money in the blink of an eye.
All your other smart strategies and promises to yourself go out the window when you add a decent amount of liquor to the mix.
Alcohol impairs your judgement and makes you care less
Even if you don’t get completely blackout drunk, a little buzz is a great way to start the ball rolling. You see, alcohol has some interesting effects on the brain. Alcohol makes you care less about the consequences of your actions and it acutely impairs your decisions in risk/reward scenarios. And caring less may sound nice and all, but it’s only temporary; you are going to care A LOT the next morning.
There are even studies that show that even a moderate amount of alcohol leads to people playing longer and taking more risks while gambling. As an added bonus, alcohol may help you wake up the next morning with a hangover, a bout of depression, and a strong sense of regret.
Alcohol and gambling just go together like… chainsaws and trampolines. Drink while you gamble to lose more money.
2. Not setting a budget or loss limit
Budgets and loss limits are what people do when they want to gamble responsibly and keep their spending under control. Typically, a player sets aside a certain amount of money and then take only that money to the casino (or set aside a designated bankroll when gambling online and store that in an e-wallet). Doing it this way ensures they aren’t tempted to spend or lose too much.
In addition to setting aside a budget, responsible gamblers set loss limits. Basically, they plan ahead and choose an amount of money that is the most they can comfortably stand to lose. They may not like the idea of losing money, but they know it can happen and they don’t want it to be a painful experience.
Not doing ANY of that makes it more likely you wil lose more money. Deciding on a whim to log in to your favourite casino site with no plan whatsoeveris generally not a very good idea.
3. Chasing your losses
The best thing about tip #2 is it makes tip #3 possible. Players without a loss limit are pronte to chasing losses in an attempt to win it all back. What this means is if you ever go on an extended losing streak, you can blow right past any “budget” and just keep gambling until you win back everything you lost – or go broke in the process of trying.
Now, don’t let that last line scare you. Don’t worry – you won’t win back everything you lost. The only thing that will happen 95% of the time is you’ll just keep on losing. In many instances, chasing your losses will actually have you go way, way deeper into negative territory than you ever imagined.
This is a compounding mistake
Loss-chasing behavior also has the secondary benefit of encouraging additional loss-chasing behavior. One of the incidental findings in this 2016 study found that loss-chasing behavior begins with the gambler placing bigger bets to make up for previous losses, and then placing even bigger bets to chase those losses. It is an ugly cycle and that makes loss-chasing a great way to lose lots of money gambling.
4. Letting emotions dictate your decisions
Catch a bad beat or go on a bad run? That’s just the beginning. If you really want to lose money at the casino, get angry whenever things don’t go your way and place your wagers with emotion. If you want to really grind your bankroll to dust, get mad and place even bigger bets as if you’re getting back at the casino to show it who’s boss.
The more frequently you let your emotions dictate your decisions while gambling, the more money you will lose. Even though most gambling games are pure chance, there seems to be some kind of magical principal at work that automatically increases your losses whenever you gamble out of a sense of anger, frustration, or even desperation.
Negative emotions affect decision-making for the worse, which is a recipe for losing more money at the casino. If you’re in an angry mood, you are more likely to make decisions that hurt you if they provide some sort of outlet for your negative emotion.
How emotions can lead rational people to make irrational decisions
For example, researchers once conducted a study looking at the impacts of emotion and came to some interesting findings. In one case, they took pairs of participants and gave them a simple task: take a certain amount of money and come to an agreement as to how the two participants should split that money.
The rules of the game were that one person had to be the “proposer” and the other had to be the “responder.” The proposer’s job was to present an offer to the responder, who could then accept or reject the offer. If the responder accepted the offer, the money was split according to the deal proposed by the proposer. If the responder rejected the offer, neither one of them got any money.
Something funny happened when proposers offered lowball offers to responders. If the proposer suggested offering just 20% of the money to the responder, the responder rejected the offer half the time.
The responders who rejected the low offer were making a decision that brought them zero financial benefit. Rejecting the offer meant they got absolutely nothing. Accepting the offer, even a lowball offer, means they would have at least gotten something. Remember, the responder only had two choices: take what he could get or get nothing at all.
As the saying goes, something is better than nothing. However, the responders who rejected the offer didn’t care. They wanted to punish the proposer for offering such a poor deal. This is exactly the same type of thinking that can get you into big trouble at the casino.
5. Using the martingale system
The martingale system is one of the most creative methods ever devised to make people lose more money at the casino. In its most basic form, the martingale system has you double your bets after every loss in any game that is roughly 50/50 (such as betting on “red” or “black” in roulette). The logic goes that if you lose a time or two, you just keep doubling your bets because eventually you have to win and then you’ll be back to even and maybe even a little ahead.
In reality, the martingale system is an excellent way to lose a lot more money than you planned. It may work out in your favour a time or two, but don’t lose hope. Just keep going and eventually you’ll find out why I recommend this as one of the fundamental techniques for the skilled losing gambler.
The reason I call the martingale system “unstoppable” is because it never stops asking you to double your bets. You will find yourself constantly doubling up, losing, doubling up again, winning, losing, doubling and so on.
The martingale system works for people who want to lose tons of money gambling because it does absolutely nothing to change the odds are that are built into the very rules of whichever game you’re playing. Nothing. It doesn’t work.
What the martingale system does do very well, however, is increase your average bet size. If you show up to the casino placing sorry little £5 bets on red, martingale will soon have you placing bets 5 or 10 times larger than you ever planned. Just lose four in a row starting with a £5 bet (and this happens all the time) and next thing you know your next bet is £80.
This same tip applies to every other betting system out there. It doesn’t matter if they call it martingale, anti-martingale, Fibonacci or “Dan’s Secret Casino Trick Guaranteed to Make You a Winner.” None of them, not a single one, will ever, ever, ever in a million years change the odds even slightly in your favour.
6. Believing in the gambler’s fallacy
The gambler’s fallacy is the idea that future random outcomes are somehow impacted by previous random outcomes. In other words, if a coin flip has resulted in heads four times in a row, you might catch yourself thinking tails is “due” to hit any time now.
The gambler’s fallacy serves as a convenient and seductive gateway to the road of ruin. It seems harmless enough and sort of makes sense if you don’t give it too much thought. The thinking often goes something like this:
“Hey, the roulette wheel landed on red the last 7 spins in a row. It’s due for a black any time now so I’ll just keep betting big sums on black until it hits so I can recoup my losses.”
A strong belief in the gambler’s fallacy is just another way to increase your losses. The roulette ball does not have a brain and it cannot remember where it landed in previous spins. Thus, every spin of the wheel is an independently random event. Whether we’re talking about roulette or any other casino game, the odds are always the same at the beginning of the next round regardless of what happened previously.
One of the great things about the gambler’s fallacy in terms of losing money is that it can also sneak up even on people who should know better. For example, a random selection of lottery numbers (say 17, 39, 52, 8, 1 and 19) is no better and no worse than picking the numbers 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1. Even so, most of us veer away from picking lottery numbers that obvious because it just feels so unlikely.
So, if you want to lose money gambling, just roll with the gambler’s fallacy. Don’t question it and ask yourself why you’re losing so much money. Just tell yourself that you’re due for a win any time now and keep those bets nice and big. You’ll be out of money before you know it.
7. Forget about bankroll management; impress your friends with huge bets
There are many ways to approach bankroll management, but the one thing they all have in common is they have some mechanism in place to limit your losses. Usually, this includes a combination of proper bet sizing and a stop-loss limit.
Players interested in minimizing losses would do is set aside a certain amount of money and designate that money as their gambling bankroll. They would already consider that money “lost” because it’s gambling and anything can happen. This bankroll would always be kept separate from other money needed to pay the bills and manage other expenses.
Additionally, that person would size all bets according to their risk tolerance for losing the entire bankroll. Someone who is attached to their bankroll would place wagers that are small relative to the size of their bankroll, assuming that person wants to keep that bankroll around for a while – usually with the goal being to make that bankroll last long enough to hit a nice winning streak.
Size your bets with the house advantage in mind
The handy thing about taking the house advantage into account is it can give you a general guideline as to about how much you can expect to lose in an average session.
For example, let’s say the average house advantage for online slots is roughly 4%. This isn’t as good as some games, but let’s just pretend you love slots and want to try your hand at winning a huge jackpot.
What that house advantage tells you is you can expect to lose, on average 4% of every £1 you send through the slot machine. In other words, every spin of the reels would cost you about £0.04.
Now, let’s assume you can spin the reels roughly 600 times per hour. If you work out the numbers, that comes out to an average expected loss of £24 per hour at £1 per spin. Now, you work it backwards and decide you want to have a chance to play for at least 4 hours. This means your minimum bankroll for that one session should be something in the range of £96. Let’s just say £100.
From there, you can break it down even further and decide you want to be able to play one, four-hour session each week. In that case, your monthly bankroll should be at least £400.
If that sounds expensive, you can play with the numbers to arrive to a number that’s more affordable. Gambling is a losing proposition over the long run, so one smart idea would be to choose an amount you’re comfortable potentially losing each month and consider that your gambling bankroll.
Just note that these are only averages. Gambling is a very high-variance hobby in practice. Crazy things can happen in the short run. You can experience brutal downswings or amazing hot streaks from day to day.
With that in mind, you should also set a stop-loss limit. The stop-loss limit simply means you set a rule for yourself that you will quit gambling if your losses reach X amount in any single day, week and month. Once you hit your daily, weekly or monthly loss limit, you cease all gambling until the next time you’re ready to devote a little discretionary income to your gambling bankroll. This protects you even in the absolute worst case scenario (losing literally every bet).
8. Gambling frequently at sketchy online casinos or underground gambling dens
This one simple trick can decimate your entire bankroll in one fell swoop. All you have to do is play at unknown, unlicensed, casino sites of questionable origins or visit your neighborhood’s local gambling den.
If you’re particularly (un)lucky, the unlicensed online casino site or the underground gambling den will just up and steal your money. The underground gambling den may also attract the attention of the local police and be raided while you’re there. These outcomes both result in the instant destruction of your bankroll.
Unregulated casinos may not take an approach as obvious as blatantly stealing your money. They may just rig the games even further against you or make it impossible to hit the big jackpots. While you think you’re playing a legitimate game with a real chance to win, the casino owners are laughing all the way to the bank.
The good thing about online casino sites is all the information you need to determine which are safe and which are not is out there for the world to see. Online casino reviews can be used as a good starting point to figure out which operators are safe and which are not to be trusted.
9. Gamble with borrowed money
Gambling on borrowed money is an extremely dangerous thing to do, and could seriously ruin your life, so make sure you understand the full implications before proceeding.
Gambling on credit causes financial destruction through several mechanisms. First off, gambling on credit makes it feel like the money you’re losing isn’t even real. You just lost £1500 but your bank account didn’t budge a bit. All is well! Of course the bill will come due sooner or later, but by then it’s too late and the damage has been done.
Secondly, gambling on credit is more expensive. Not only do you have to later pay for all the debt you racked up gambling, but you will also have to pay interest on that money. The interest rates will often be very high as well because it’s not like you can just go and take out a low-interest loan to gamble. This typically happens with credit cards and other forms of short-term credit.
Third, gambling on credit can get problem gamblers stuck in a vicious cycle where they are still paying off last month’s bill but have the urge to gamble this month as well. Being caught in this situation will lead to you digging ever deeper into debt and considering ever-riskier forms of debt.
10. Trying new games without understanding the rules
Placing real money bets in games that you don’t even understand is a highly effective method to lose money quickly. This money-losing strategy is fairly obvious, but sometimes it is deceptively simple to be sucked into a new game that has an attractive jackpot or that just look exciting.
It is easy to find the rules and basic strategies for online casino games since you’re already connected to the internet so this tip mostly applies to the real world. It is easier to be suckered into trying an unfamiliar game at brick-and-mortar casinos where the atmosphere is not conducive to learning and where there may be crowds of excited people that make certain games look like you need to join the fun immediately.
The most glaring example of games that can be expensive when the rules and basic strategy are not properly understood is blackjack. When played correctly, blackjack is one of the lowest house advantage games in the casino. When played incorrectly, the house advantage is almost limitless.
11. Gambling whenever you’re in a pinch and need money quickly
If you find yourself in a pinch and need to raise money quickly, one of the best ways to compound your problems is to go gambling. Doing so will most likely result in you losing even more money and making your situation even more difficult.
Gambling when you need money will put you into a desperate sort of mindset and hinder your decision-making. As noted previously, negative emotions have a negative impact on your ability to make rational decisions.
This tip is nearly as dangerous as gambling on credit, so only follow this advice if you are really sure you want to make your life miserable. Not only will you almost always fail to make the money you want, but you will also make your personal financial situation even more precarious than it was previously.
Gambling when you need money is also a tell-tale sign that you have a gambling problem and should get help. This is why gambling to raise money almost never works, even if you stick with 50/50 games. The fact that you’re gambling to raise money is a sure indicator that your gambling habits are unhealthy.
Even if you do win a little, you will likely give it all back to the casino eventually anyways.
12. Not setting aside some of your winnings after a hot run
This is a must-have habit if you want to make sure you never win money gambling online. If you go on a winning stretch and immediately set some of that money aside or withdraw it from your casino site, it will be impossible to go broke that day.
You can almost guarantee losing every single time you play if you never set aside your winnings. Instead, just continue gambling indefinitely whether you win, lose or break even. Eventually the odds will catch up to you and ensure a losing session.
13. Playing American roulette, not European roulette
European roulette has a small house advantage of 2.7%. It’s going to take you longer to lose all your money playing European roulette. You can really speed things up by making the switch to American roulette, which has a house advantage of 5.26%.
The only difference between these two games is the European roulette wheel has 37 total “slots” in which the ball can land and the American roulette wheel has 38 total slots. The additional slot in American roulette is reserved for the second green slot marked with double-zero.
It may be a minor difference cosmetically speaking, but that one additional slot results in nearly doubling the house advantage for American roulette.
The reason it works out this way is that even though American roulette has an additional slot, both versions of the game have identical payouts. A single-number bet always pay 35-1 and all even money bets always pay 1-1 no matter which variation you play. When you play American roulette, you receive the same payouts even though there are more chances for your ball to land in a non-winning slot. Hence the greater house advantage.
14. Playing even when you’re dead tired
Another major mistake you can make to cost you money is to gamble when you are tired. Smart gamblers only play when they are well-rested and fresh. Losing gamblers hit the casino even when they know they really ought to be in bed.
Studies have shown that sleep deprivation is bad for business. It’s not only a grueling experience to make many financial decisions while short on sleep; it impairs all sorts of decision-making functions such as supervisory control, problem solving, divergent thinking capacity, verbal creativity, flexibility, inhibition and cognitive set shifting. I don’t even know what all of those are, but I do know you need to be thinking clearly to make smart decisions while gambling.
Even better – be dead tired because you’ve just completed a gambling marathon lasting 20-some hours. Combine being completely exhausted with decision fatigue for maximum effect. Yes, some poor souls do go on major gambling binges and the results are rarely positive.
15. Playing props bets in craps
Craps can be one of the best games at the casino or one of the worst. It all depends on which wagers you choose. Gamblers who are trying to limit their losses tend to stick with the pass line bet, don’t pass, come bet and don’t come bet. Those all come with a house advantage right in the range of 1.5%.
Losing money at craps is easy if you know how to pick the right wagers. If you want to make your gambling session more expensive, look for the prop bets located in the center of the craps layout. The proposition bets in craps come with significantly higher house advantages than many other wagers found inside the casino.
The proposition bets in craps include the hardways, bets on the outcome of the very next roll and bets that cover a range of numbers. You can read more about these bets on our craps page here.
Proposition bets offer tantalizing payouts, but the house advantage ranges from more than 9% to nearly 17%. The absolute worst bet in craps is the “any seven” or “big red” bet which pays 4:1 if the next roll totals seven. This one has a house advantage of 16.67%. In other words, every £100 you wager on the any seven bet results in an expected loss of £16.67.
16. Placing the basket bet (or top line bet) in roulette
Remember when I told you playing American roulette likely ensures you will lose more money? Well, this tip is a carryover from that piece of advice. The basket bet can only be placed on American roulette tables because it involves a bet on a group of five numbers: 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3.
Note: in some places, the name “basket bet” refers to a different bet placed in European roulette. The bet I am referring to may be known to you as the “top line bet.” Whatever you call it, I’m talking about the bet that involves 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3.
By placing the basket bet, you compound the effects of two huge casino mistakes. First, you’re at the American roulette table and paying a higher advantage. Second, the basket bet increases that advantage even further (from 5.26% to 7.89%). The basket bet is the only bet in roulette that increases the house advantage beyond the standard 5.26%.
We’ve moved from the European roulette table with its paltry 2.7% house advantage to the American roulette table with its 5.26% house advantage, and now we have improved that even further to 7.89%.
17. Betting on the tie outcome in baccarat turns this low house advantage game into a money sink
Online baccarat is another game that can be very generous or very expensive depending on which bets you choose. There are basically three bets to choose from in this game:
- Player (house advantage: 1.24%)
- Banker (house advantage: 1.06%)
- Tie (house advantage: 14.36%)
The player and banker bets each come with a low house advantage as you can see above. If you want to lose more money in baccarat, go with the tie bet every time. It pays a welcome 8:1 on your money when you do get it right, but you’ll be paying back the casino in no time due to the house advantage being so high.
18. Taking deposit bonuses without fully understanding how they work
There’s a scientific theorem out there that says “the better an offer looks, the longer the terms and conditions page.” Well actually there isn’t, but there should be. Casino bonuses always come with a list of rules that state how the bonus may be used, what you need to do to withdraw the money and more.
Some casino websites even void the entire bonus if you place a single bet on the wrong game! This is an example of a predatory bonus offer and we do not recommend such casinos around here, but many exist. If you want to lose money gambling, never read the terms and conditions associated with a gambling bonus.
That’s not much of an issue if you stick with respectable gambling sites, but even the best casino bonuses come with wagering requirements that you must meet before you can with draw the bonus money or any winnings. Often times, you are asked to place a total sum of wagers equal to 40 times the bonus amount and can only meet those wagering requirements by playing higher house advantage games such as slots and online scratch cards.
This can result in you feeling obligated to play more than you should just to clear the bonus. And whenever you’re gambling out of a sense of obligation, it means you’re probably not making the best decisions and are likelier to spend more than you intended. The healthy way to approach bonuses is to take what you can get, but to put your number one priority on managing the money that you deposited yourself. Treat any bonus money you earn as nothing more than “a bonus.”
19. Paying no mind to the speed of the game
Even games with a tiny house advantage can break your bankroll if you place enough wagers. The house advantage can never be overcome; it can only be forgotten for periods of time (i.e. when you run hot).
Low house advantage games that move very quickly are particularly sneaky. If you find a slot machine with a house edge of just 1%, it looks like a great deal. But if that is a fast-moving slot game, it can be just as expensive per hour as sitting at the baccarat table betting on the tie over and over.
Slots, mini-baccarat, video poker and heads-up blackjack all move very quickly. Play any of those games with healthy-sized bet for a while and you will soon find out they can be expensive games. This is especially true online where most games involve only you and an automated dealer.
Live dealer games move much slower and are therefore less expensive per hour because those games actually use real dealers and sometimes include other people at the table who must also make decisions.
20. Not getting help for a gambling problem
Problem gambling is an issue we don’t often like to think about, but it is something we should all keep in mind. People who want to lose tons of money refuse to admit they have a problem or refuse to seek help even if they are aware something isn’t right.
It isn’t always easy to tell if you have a problem, but there are quizzes you can take to help you make sense of the situation. If you even suspect you have a gambling problem, there are plenty of resources you can take advantage of for free, anonymous and judgment-free assistance in getting back to a healthy place.
Problem Gambling Resources
21. Losing track of time while gambling
Here’s a fact that probably won’t blow your mind: the longer you gamble, the likelier you are to lose. The longer you expose yourself to the house advantage, the likely your actual results will conform to the theoretical expectation.
Furthermore, long playing sessions are conducive to decision fatigue and exhaustion. Both of those conditions are not conducive to making smart choices regarding bankroll management, game selection and bet sizing.
One thing I like to do when gambling is set a time limit in addition to a win limit and loss limit. These three limits work together synergistically. The win limit helps you lock in wins, the loss limit helps you contain losses to an acceptable level and the time limit helps you stick to both of the other two limits.