When most gamblers talk about money management, they’re talking about either how to handle their bankroll before they step up to the table or how to handle their bankroll while betting and playing. Very few people talk about money management after the game.
Also, almost no one talks about money management while things are going poorly and you’ve almost lost it all for the session. After all, it’s not pleasant to talk about losses. But like I’ve mentioned many times, in order to increase your odds of winning, you have to face the ugly reality of losing so that you can control those adverse moments.
In that spirit, let’s talk about a little-discussed topic of money management that focuses on preserving a bankroll that’s been devastated or is about to be devastated. I call this aspect as ‘remnant money management’
HOW WE ARE CONDITIONED TO DEVALUE OUR BANKROLL AND THROW AWAY MONEY
Whether it’s winning or losing, or something in between like a choppy session, the necessity of money management comes from the fact that Vegas is designed to separate us from our money. We are conditioned to accept an attitude of loose spending.
Not only is everything in Vegas more expensive, but everything is designed to cause us to lose perspective of money. This loss of perspective happens in our mind, but it’s reinforced via our stomach.
I’ve mentioned several times on RoadGambler.com how much I love In-N-Out burger. I eat there so often that I’m aware of the price. Before I even order, I have the correct change ready.
The In-N-Out joints in Vegas charge more for the exact same product that you’ll find at In-N-Out’s in California or Texas. Sure, the rent might be higher at some of the Vegas locations, but every spot charges what the market will bear. Consumers are willing to pay higher prices, so merchants charge higher prices. If consumers in Vegas refused to pay the higher prices, then a Las Vegas In-N-Out burger would costs the same as a Texas or California In-N-Out burger. In the end, because of what we, as consumers are willing to accept, the same Las Vegas burger costs more compared to the rest of the country.
It’s not just Las Vegas burgers that are overpriced. Next time you’re in Las Vegas, check out Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken in the Bally’s food court. It’s my favorite fried food with overpriced Las Vegas flair, but in this case, the chicken is so good it might be worth it.
In a sense, we are conditioned to accept that higher prices are the norm. We become desensitized to the higher prices and begin accepting that we are supposed to be separated from our money.
In addition to this conditioning to accept higher prices via our stomaches, Vegas, with all its’ gambling, money, gaudy lights and flashing million dollar jackpots, has a tendency to make people lose perspective of money. I’ve talked about this in past articles. It’s a concept known as monetary attenuation.
When that much money and wealth is displayed, all of a sudden $5 is no longer all that important. $5 is the equivalent of a penny in the laundry machine. When that penny is dinging in the dryer and preventing us from sleeping, we don’t think of it as money, but rather as a nuisance. When we’re walking around a multi-billion dollar hotel casino that oozes wealth, and the doorman greets us with a smile that’s usually reserved for VIPs, the $5 bill in your pocket starts to seem very insignificant, almost as if was a nuisance that doesn’t belong in the pocket of someone so important.
REMNANTS AND HOW TO SAVE THEM
One of the results of all this conditioning is that we start engaging in activities that are the equivalent of ‘throwing away’ money because we’re frustrated, depressed from a losing session, over-exuberant from a winning session, or just being plain silly because of over-drinking.
For example, let’s say you’re at the craps or blackjack table and you buy in for $100. You’re having an unlucky time, and you’re down to your final $9. Instead of walking away with $9, you make a ridiculous prop bet that you normally never make. Sure, sometimes, you might hit the bet, but more often than not, you’re going to whiff and walk away empty-handed. Even if you hit, the high house edges on those last-minute desperation prop bets will impact your bankroll over time. The best solution in these final moments of desperation is to not be desperate. Put that money in your pocket and walk away.
Or, if you’re playing blackjack, you decide to make a final stand on an equally ridiculous blackjack bonus bet. Again, put that money in your pocket and walk away.
Let’s talk about tipping. Let’s say the cocktail waitress brings you a drink and you normally tip $5. Because you don’t have any red chips, and you don’t want to be embarrassed and ask for change, you end up tipping a green $25 chip for your drink. There’s nothing wrong with being generous. I am generous to those who earn or deserve my generosity, but over-exuberant tipping, because you’re winning or feeling too embarrassed to ask for change, is not wise.
Tipping Dealers is Not Wasteful
FYI, it’s not wasteful to take care of those who take care of us. For dealer tips, I usually average about $10-$25 an hour in tips. If a dealer is someone I personally know, I’ll tack on an extra green at the end of my session. Tipping is not ‘throwing away’ money. That’s just being smart and investing in the game and the people we love. I never consider dealer tips to be ‘throw-away’ money because dealers work so hard, and are usually one of the lowest tipped games staff in the casino.
As the dealer at the Santa Ana Star in New Mexico told me, if it came down to it, no one would want to be a craps dealer if the other dealers didn’t share with them.
The problem with not investing in the things we love is that eventually, it will go away. Just think of what happened to Let-It Ride or Carribean Stud. Craps can very much go the same way of LIR, Caribbean Stud, or even Red Dog (a once very popular game), if we don’t support it and the people involved. Guys and gals, we have to take care of our craps dealers, unless we want to play bubble craps.
The Huge Amount of Money Left Behind
What is considered wasteful ‘throwing away’ is when people are down to their final bet and instead of betting or tipping away the money (which can be justified because at least the dealers can benefit), people just leave their remaining chip in the rail and walk away. I was in Vegas this past weekend and saw this happen at least four times. Granted, the largest amount left behind was $9 and the smallest was $1, but it’s money that was wasted. The dealers can’t take it as a tip.
That money is supposed to be turned over to the state (although I’ve seen times where the box just put it into the casino bank).
The about left behind by gamblers is not insignificant. It’s quite huge. In a five year period, the state of Nevada collected $35 million dollars from gamblers who abandoned their remnant money: money left behind collected by the state.
Just Walk Away
From abandoned money to just plain wasteful habits, it’s imperative that you protect your remnant bankroll. But how?
If you are down to that final remnant, just put it in your pocket and walk away.
‘Walk away, just walk away.’
Say it to yourself.
Walking away is easier said than done when you’ve bought in for $500 and all you have left is $10. But it’s something that you must do, if you want to protect and improve your future self. It all comes down to discipline.
Don’t Compound Bad Mistakes with More Bad Mistakes
When I say save your money and walk away with your remnant, I’m not necessarily referring to your loss limit. Many of us go to the table with loss limits, and depending on our loss limit, the money left over from the loss limit usually isn’t at the point of being considered a remnant. While there’s no hard and fast rule on what constitutes a remnant, I usually consider a remnant to be less than 10% of my initial buy-in. Most people I know tend to set their loss limits at around 50% or so. That loss limit allows continued play after a cooling off period.
But there are times when we lose discipline and make the mistake of ignoring our loss limit.
Or maybe we make the mistake of making that final desperation bet…and it hits!
You’re down to your final $2 and you throw out a hi-lo craps bet and, lo and behold, it hits.
At this point, whether you’ve ignored your loss limit or made that final desperation heave and got lucky, it’s never too late to make the right decision. Take that money that remains after the mistake, put it in your pocket, and walk away.
Do not compound one mistake with more mistakes.
Remnant Management When Winning
Remnant money management isn’t just about the times that you are losing, it’s also about when you are winning. When you’re walking around happy and upbeat after a winning session, if you have spare small bills, go and put away those small bills. I love $10 bills and always throw those guys into my remnant pile.
I find that when I’m up, I tend to have a habit of wasting money. You know those snack kiosks near the casino floor? They make 7-11 prices seem like a bargain. I can’t recall how many times I’ve paid $11 for a bag of chips and bottle of sweet tea (a drink which the casinos usually do not serve).
For some reason, I love the feel and ambiance of Paris Las Vegas. If you’re ever there, you’ll find that Paris operates a snack kiosk near the elevator entrance, adjacent to the casino floor. One the years, I’ve probably spent close to $1000 worth of snacks and sweet tea at that kiosk.
But since I just had a winning session, $11 for a snack isn’t that bad. Or is it? Yea, it’s probably quite wasteful.
Hey, we all have our weaknesses and our splurges. I’m not saying don’t splurge; rather, I’m saying that you should be mindful.
MY ACCUMULATED REAL WORLD RESULT
Since the beginning of 2019, I’ve been doing an experiment. Instead of ‘throwing away’ or wasting remnant money, I’ll tuck it into my right pocket and then take it back to my room and throw it one of my luggage compartments. I won’t look at the cash until I arrive home.
On a recent trip to Vegas, after a 5-day binge, this is what was in my bag. I didn’t count it, so I have no idea how much is in this stack. I just know that it’s not an insignificant amount.
A few days ago, I took all the ‘throw-away’ change and put it into this bag. This has been accumulating since January 2019.
I have not yet counted it. It’s right in front of me, and I have no idea how much is in the bag.
This year alone, I’ve been on 38 gambling trips according to my count. If I had decided to throw away this remnant money, this would not be in my possession, or it would be greatly diminished. This remnant money saved is part of my bankroll that otherwise wouldn’t be with me.
If you don’t do this already, you should start doing this and see how much you can save. Start saving your ‘throw-away’ remnant money, and you might be pleasantly surprised.
TL;DR AND A TEASER
The lesson here is to preserve your bankroll. If you are down to your final bet, don’t waste it. Don’t walk away from your money. If you are up, don’t let your over-exubberance lure you into wasteful habits. Over the long run, you will be walking away from a significant amount of money.
Invest in the things that are necessary, but don’t waste. There is a difference.
You’re probably asking, ‘how much is it?’
Well, this is going to be the subject of the next weekly contest…
Tune in Wednesday for a chance to win 1/4 the stack. I can’t give you the whole stack, but I’ll give you a chance to win a good chunk of it. Oh, I just noticed that there’s foreign currency in the bag. We won’t count that.
Posted in: Gambling