Setting a budget
Before you begin gambling, you should work out a financial budget. Calculate all your household and living costs, including savings. Work out how much money you can realistically and comfortably afford to lose – yes, lose. Gambling is risky; not everyone wins; there are plenty of losers. You could easily lose all your capital. Be aware that if making money from gambling is your sole intention there are much easier, more profitable and safer ways of doing this.
Once you have decided your budget, make sure you never go over this limit. If your personal circumstances change, be sure to recalculate. If you spend only disposable income on gambling, you won’t encounter many problems. However, if you start betting with your rent money and lose it, you may be tempted to try to recoup your losses by betting more heavily. This is the route to financial ruin.
It’s all too easy to go over budget by forgetting to include all the costs. Casino gambling has additional costs that include things such as house advantage, commission and your time. The sites make a charge for the use of their services. Often this charge is hidden by adjusting the odds paid out for winning bets (house advantage). By paying out winning bets at odds lower than the true odds of winning, the site is able to make a profit. The level of house advantage varies with different games and in different online casinos. For example, different versions of roulette have a different house advantage. With single-zero roulette it is 2.7 per cent and with double-zero roulette it is 5.26 per cent. In some games, the charge is more obvious. With card room poker games this charge is in the form of a commission, which is usually a percentage of the pot. This charge is called the rake and is typically 5 per cent of the pot.
Do not aim too high when you are still learning. Even if your budget allows you to play in the more expensive games, stick initially to the cheaper games and gradually work your way up.