19 August 2013

Simple Bankroll Management

By Buffalo66
Buffalo, NY
Lots of people ask me how I decide what to bet on a game.  My answer is usually, "I bet one unit but that changes every day."  What the hell does that mean?  It means that wager is where my comfort zone lies.  To figure out what you're going to drop on a wager, you need to consider the type of bettor you are and what your wager is trying to accomplish.

I'm a daily grinder.  I bet all year around, I can't afford to risk going busto.  So I need to get my action down in the right dose so I can live to fight tomorrow.  Always leave yourself an out, right?

Many of my buddies are bar stool pundits, only looking to lay action on big games.  They may bet twice a year.  These punters can afford to bet their whole wad at once.  Perhaps 10+ units on the Super Bowl.  If they lose, just save up for next year's game.  It doesn't affect their quality of life if they crap out.

For those in the latter category, you can probably stop reading here.  But if you're on a long term horizon, you need some sort of guidelines to keep track of your roll.

If you're a sporadic bettor, you likely place no more than one wager per day.  If this is the case, sizing your bet is simple.  Take your bankroll and divide by 30.  That's how much you should spend per wager.  For example, if your roll is $3000 then you should spend $100 on each play.

Why 30?  Many pros (especially those on the stingy side) suggest you wager only 2-4% of your roll to minimize risk of ruin.  If you lose 10 in a row (which I've done before) you're still in the game, just betting less.  1 unit divided by 30 is 3.3%, right in that wheelhouse.

Now college action junkies like myself need to get multiple wagers down on a football or basketball Saturday.  I will make several plays but some may be smaller amounts depending on the volume.  Always make your strongest play first, so you can get the most down in your comfort zone.

For all subsequent wagers, use your remaining bankroll (divided by 30) to calculate the unit size.  This is a built in safeguard to prevent you from overspending on a single day.  If your 1 PM game comes in at dinnertime, then add it back into your roll for that 8 PM tilt.

I've enjoyed betting bitcoins because they are not denominated in dollars.  One coin is one coin, regardless of its exchange value.  So when I hit 60 coins I automatically know I can go 2 units a game.

There are more complex betting strategies, such as Kelly criterion, but I have found if you need to keep it simple, just set your bankroll at 30 units and enjoy the sweat.

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