5 Betting Methods That Reward You for Walking Away

| June 19, 2017 12:00 am PST
casino walking away

You have probably heard a variation of this story somewhere. Two gamblers were sitting in a bar and chatting about their careers. One was a writer and he was very excited to talk about his new book project. The working title was “All the Ways You Can Lose When Gambling”. The other gambler, an older gentleman, shook his head at the title.

“That just won’t work at all,” he said.

“Why?” the younger gambler asked.

“Son, I don’t want you to teach me how to lose. I want you to teach me how to win.”

The younger gambler grew thoughtful and silent for a moment. Then he sighed. “I’m sorry,” he said sadly. “That’s just not possible.”

“No,” replied the older gambler, “that’s just not LIKELY.”

The axioms of modern casino gambling are very simple and easy to remember:

  • The house changes any game for which a player devises a true winning strategy
  • The payoff odds are almost never as good as the probability odds
  • The longer you gamble the more likely you are to lose all your money
  • In most games how much you wager does not affect the outcome
  • The larger the ratio of potential payoff to bet the less likely you will win (e.g. blackjack vs. 10-pick keno)

The time you spend gambling works against you more than for you. You have limited control over the factors that decide how games are concluded. The list of things you control is pretty small:

  • When to spin the slot game reels
  • When to take a card or stand in blackjack
  • When to split or surrender in blackjack
  • Where to place bets in craps and roulette
  • Whether to hold or discard in some types of poker
  • Whether to check, bet, or fold
  • When to leave the game

Since there is no guaranteed way to win, your first priority should be to enjoy yourself. But you also need to manage your money and money management strategies for gamblers rely on checking the time. You are expected to do all the work. The betting strategies we share below do the work for you. It doesn’t matter how far away the casino has hidden its clocks. You don’t need to check your watch. Time is not a factor.

But that’s not enough. We want to be rewarded for leaving a game. Short of guaranteeing a win there is no way to reward you enough. When the moment comes you still have to decide to get up and walk away.

We will use $100 as a typical stake per game in these examples. It’s not necessary. You can use a $20 stake, a $1000 stake, or whatever you feel comfortable with. We’ll also assume you want to play about five different games per evening. That could work out to 5 hours in a casino. Using these strategies, assuming you begin with $500, you will at least play longer than five minutes.

1. Bet the Max and You’re Done

Every once in a while someone will point out that from the player’s perspective you are as likely to win or lose each time you play a game. In that case it really makes no difference how much money you place on your first bet. You could, if the house rules allow, put your entire $100 stake per game down on the first bet. If you win you walk away. If you lose you walk away.

We don’t recommend that you do this with all your money. If you are curious about whether it will pay off for you in the long run, then just make a habit of betting up to 20% of your bankroll one time on any one game during the evening. Keep a diary and see how it works over 10-20 trips to the casino.

What is the reward?

You tried something crazy and aggressive and still walked away with money in your pocket. That’s a win by our reckoning.

2. Play Max to Minimum

This is a very simple betting method. Assuming the maximum per game is less than your $100 your first bet will be the maximum amount allowed. This could $20 on a slot machine. You’ll almost certainly use this method only on a slot machine.

Regardless of what the outcome of that first wager is you step down the total bet amount on the next game. So let’s say you can bet $5, $10, $15, and $20 on game. Your first bet is for $20, your second bet is for $15, etc. After you play the $5 bet you move on.

This betting method doubles as a short time management strategy and some slot gamers use it all over the casino floor. They might keep working that $100 all night long.

3. Fixed Number of Bets

Another way to do this is to divide your stake per game into a fixed number of bets. You could make 5 $20 wagers or 20 $5 wagers. Regardless of the outcome of your bets you leave the game after the last bet is done.

This is a slightly awkward betting method because it requires you to keep track of how many times you have played the game. If you are playing with chips then start with a convenient number of chips to use. If you are playing with tickets then just buy as many tickets as the number of bets you want to play.

4. Play Minimum to Max Bets

This betting method is almost the exact opposite of number 2, “Play Max to Minimum”, given above. The only difference is that in method 2 you are limited to $100 as a maximum bet, making our example impractical for a table game.

With the Min to Max method you can easily cover the minimum bet on any table game when you start with a per game stake of $100. The idea behind this method is that either you lose quickly or you win enough to keep increasing your bets until you hit the table maximum.

Unlike, say, the Martingale System you don’t have to increase your bets in any specific way. Nor do you drop your bets down after you win. You just keep going. So if the table maximum is $500 you can take your $100 stake per game and start with a $5 bet, then play a $10 bet, then play a $15 bet, and so on.

By the same token, you can step your bets up by $20 on every game.

You’re under no obligation to sit there and play all night. If you win more than you lose then you’ll eventually grow tired and walk away a winner.

If you lose every bet you’ll quickly run through your stake. At least that way you know this is not the game for you. Get up and move on while you still have money.

5. Three Strikes and You’re Out

There is no reason to prefer three strikes to five strikes. The “Three Strikes” method simply evokes an image of striking out in baseball. The player gives up his turn at bat and walks away. It’s the same principle with this betting method.

Regardless of how much you decide to bet, you keep playing until either lose three (or however many) times in a row, your stake per game runs down to nothing, or you get tired of winning.

The Three Strikes method works better with card and table games. You could have a really bad run of luck but in games where you have to make decisions when you grow tired you start making poor decisions. The Three Strikes method can help you maintain perspective.

It’s okay to take a break and come back to the same game but once you leave the table or the machine you have finished playing on that stake per game.

Optional Rules You Can Add

Suppose you win a substantial prize during one of your game sessions? Let’s say you triple your stake per game. You bet $50 out of $100 but you just won $200. You could just pocket the $200 and never play it or you could set it aside as stakes for two more game sessions.

You can also decide to get up and leave as soon as you win a big prize. Most gamblers won’t do this. By following this optional rule you won’t fall prey to a false expectation that you’re running on a hot streak. Hot streaks do happen but they are streaks only after they happen.

Another optional rule is to combine the Three Strikes method with any other. If you keep increasing your bets as in method 2 but you don’t win, then why play all the way through? It’s obviously not your game regardless of why you are losing.

You can replenish your game stakes. You may find you spent only an hour running through our five scenarios. But it’s possible you came out ahead and now you have more than $500. So why not divide your money into (5 game stakes) and (winnings for the night) and start over? You might win some more money but at the very least you can keep playing and enjoying yourself.

Another optional rule is to quit when you fall behind. If you lose $300 on three games then maybe it’s not your night. You can always pocket the remaining $200 and go home. Sure, there are those legendary stories about gamblers who throw down their last bet and win a fortune. They make great scenes in movies. Just be honest with yourself. Consistency will work out better for you in the end.

By the same token, suppose you double your entire bankroll (or do even better) in one of your early games? Now you have at least a thousand dollars. The casino wants you to sit there and wait for them to drag their feet while they count up your winnings. You will be tempted to start playing more games. If you manage to hang on to the money you have with you, once you have been paid your winnings go find an ATM machine and deposit as much money as you can into your bank account. You can always go back to the casino afterward if you really want to.


There are several benefits to using these betting methods. One idea behind most of these betting methods is that you never play through your winnings. You run through the stake per game and then get up. On many occasions, you should walk away with money left over. In some cases, you’ll walk away with substantially more money than you began with.

Another benefit is that you don’t have to think about how much money you have if you’re just working on a stake per game basis. The amount of effort it takes to count bets is less than the effort required to count cards. The less you have to think about non-game details the more you can enjoy playing the game.

Knowing that you ‘re going to walk away from the game no matter what makes it both more exciting because you hope you win before you run through the last bet. At the same time it helps you manage that underlying anxiety that losing inevitably incurs. You cannot avoid the consequences of losing but playing by a betting method that helps you cut your losses short is better than waiting for the game gods to shower you with their favors.

In a way you are changing your luck by changing games and betting methods. At the very least you are changing the sources of (near) random behavior upon which you are placing wagers. You can remain professionally detached from each game you play and know that you’ll be able to play it again another time.

And one last benefit is that you are more likely to explore your options in the casino when you vary your betting methods and change games. You just may discover something new that you really enjoy.



Back to top