Managing your bankroll

Betting Bankroll is a term used to describe the pot of money you start with when you begin betting. The idea behind a bankroll is that you have a set budget that you place your bets with. It can be stored in one bookmaker account, multiple accounts, or in ewallets like PayPal or Skrill. All of your bets come out of this fund and it should be 100% separate from your personal finances.

Many new bettors struggle to draw a line between their bankroll and their personal finances, and many fail to recognise the negative way that can impact their betting decisions. When you allow yourself to bet with personal funds that you cannot necessarily afford to lose, emotion becomes involved when betting. Having and managing a solid bankroll is a key part of looking at betting like an investment opportunity rather than a casual pastime.

Why a betting bankroll is important

Many people happily fall into the category of being a casual bettor. A midweek accumulator and a few speculative punts on the weekend with a few beers is some people's idea of a hobby, increasing the level of entertainment that sport provides. Even professional bettors can be guilty of such activity, and that’s fine.

But there are many new punters out there who aspire to improve as a bettor, and make long term profits from sports betting. One big aspect of developing a more professional and success driven attitude towards betting is having a betting bankroll. Here are just some of the benefits of having a betting bank.

  • Clear differentiation between betting funds and personal finances
  • Increased accountability and measurability improves discipline
  • Helps you to manage risk and exposure when placing bets
  • Combined with tracking bets, it becomes easier to track your success

Here is a step by step account of how to determine and utilise a betting bankroll to your advantage.

Step one - deciding the size of your betting bank

Deciding your betting bank is a very important task that requires careful thought. It’s important to understand that any amount of money you assign to your betting bank is an amount of money you can afford to lose. The easiest way to decide a betting bank it to establish what your 'typical' bet size will be. If you want to be betting £100 per bet, a £500 betting bank wouldn't make sense. Similarly, if you're betting £5 a time, you don't need a betting bank of £5,000. As a guide, we'd typically suggest that a betting bank is roughly 20-100x your average stake. The more frequently you bet, the bigger your betting bank should be in relation to your stake.

Step two - where should you store your betting bank?

There are plenty of options when it comes to where to store your betting bank. It can be as simple as putting it with one bookmaker account. But, you’ve come this far, and want to profit from sports betting, so this isn’t the best option. Instead, it’d make more sense to store it in a centralised e-wallet like Skrill, Neteller or PayPal. Why? Doing this gives you the flexibility to quickly deposit and withdraw from multiple bookmakers - meaning you can get market leading prices more often. This will help your long term profitability.

Some people don’t use e-wallets, and instead deposit portions of their betting bank in to multiple bookmakers. Whilst this is better than just using one bookie, it lacks the flexibility of using an e-wallet as it takes longer to withdraw from one bookmaker to deposit to another should it be required.

It’s worth knowing that a betting bank could be hypothetical in a way. If you want a £1,000 betting bank, you don’t literally have to get that money and store it somewhere else. You could start with £300 for example, basing your bets on a £1,000 betting bank and add to it if required. When adopting this option, it’s important to remain disciplined, especially when it comes to tracking your progress.

Step three - managing your betting bank

Now you need a staking plan to manage your betting bank. This helps determine the amount of money that you stake per bet. This can be a set figure or a set percentage (of your betting bank). It should never represent a significant chunk of your overall bank. Typically, it’s no more than 5% of your bank, or much smaller if bets are more frequent. This means that a losing run will not impact your betting bank too significantly.

Another positive of having and sticking to a staking plan is consistency. Staking significantly higher on some bets (i.e. “lumping”) than others can set you up for bigger losses. This tempts many to try and chase their losses, but disciplined bankroll management will prevent this.

Step four - keep track of your betting activity

It’s important you always keep in mind where you started and where you are going. Know how much money you have in your betting bankroll and make an effort to understand if you are betting too little or too much. As your bankroll changes, you may wish to change your stakes, which is fine within reason. It’s important that you track every bet you place so you can make these informed decisions.

These are just the basics that you will help you start your bankroll and improve your success as a bettor. But there is still a lot more to learn, and you can read in more detail about bankrolls, bankroll management and the staking methods that you can use right here.

To conclude, employing a bankroll method will improve your success as a bettor for many reasons. It will help instill discipline, from more sensible staking to taking more pride in your bets and avoiding the urge to chase losses. It may also let you know where you need to improve as a bettor. A bankroll will help reflect your true performance through return on investment, or in some cases ROC, and you will be able to identify your most profitable sports, leagues or betting markets. Always remember that you’ll want to keep your betting bank entirely separate from your personal finances as that’s a bad betting strategy that can lead to damaging losses.