Play free slots now. 
Vegas Basics
Vegas Bargains
How to play the games
All about Slot Machines
Gambling 101
Gambling 102
Online Gambling

Reason #1 I like Bovada:

Play for free
with no hassles

Most online casinos insult you with popups and spam, and they give you the hard sell even if you just want to try their free-play games.  Fortunately there's Bovada, which gives a much friendlier experience.  That's the main reason why I advertise them exclusively.

  • No registration required. Most casinos let you play for free with fake money, but there's a catch: They make you register an account first.   That's not just a hassle: after you register you can expect them to badger you by email trying to get you to deposit real money.  But Bovada lets you play right away without forcing you to register an account.  One click and you're in.  Here, try it.
  • Plays right in your browser.  If you'd rather not download the casino software to your hard disk, you don't have to.  The games play right in your web browser.  Nice.
  • Works on Macs.  The play-in-browser games are MacOS compatible!  Before Bovada, Mac users were pretty much out of luck for gambling online.  Not any more.
  • No popups.  I'll never understand why companies think it's a good idea to annoy their visitors, but that's standard practice at most online casinos.  Bovada is one of the rare exceptions -- no popups, no popunders, just the website.

Bovada's not perfect, but there's no better site for U.S. players.

Visit Bovada


Gambling problem?
  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.
Play these
free slots now

Gambling problem?
  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

How Much to Bet Per Hand/Round
(aka, "Bet Sizing")

Last Update: August 2018

If you've never gambled before, you'll want to figure how much you can afford to bet on each round of blackjack, craps, roulette, or slots for your playing session.  You'll have to make sure you can afford at least the casino minimum, which is never less than $5 on the Vegas Strip and downtown, but $10, $15, or $25 at many casinos.  Most slot machines come in penny, nickel, quarter, and dollar flavors. 

How much can you afford to bet per round?
How much $ are you willing to lose, total?  $

1 hr. 2 hrs. 4 hrs.

Blackjack

Craps

Baccarat

Roulette

Video Poker

Slots

Notes: Blackjack, baccarat, and video poker assume proper strategy.
Craps assumes only Pass Line bets. Roulette assumes one even-money bet per spin.
Video poker and slots assume typical returns for Vegas machines.
VP and slot figures were rounded.

The anwer is in the table at right.

Let's say you go to Vegas with $200 and want to play blackjack for two hours.  The calculator shows that you can afford to bet $7 per hand.  Note that this doesn't account for the standard $5/hr. for tipping. To keep the calculator less complicated, figure that your budget is really $210, to account for the $5 per hour x 2 hours in tips.

The figures in the calculator are designed to give you a 10% risk of ruin, meaning that you have a 90% chance of surviving your play and only a 10% chance of losing your whole bankroll.  I came up with these figures through computer simulation.

There's more about all this in my cover story in the Oct. 2005 issue of Casino Player magazine, "Secrets of Money Management". Someday I may get around to reprinting the whole thing here....

If you have any money left at the end of your session, you might want to consider using my Half-Bankroll System.