In gambling, it is often suggested that players need to stop chasing losses, and for good reason. When you chase losses, there are times that you do succeed in getting a big win to help you make your way out of a hole. However, often times, you just end losing some more and dig yourself an even deeper hole.
But is there ever a time where chasing losses is tolerable? A lot of players who begin to chase losses are reacting to the condition they are in without a solid plan. They get behind and then, frantically scramble to make up their losses. This is like playing with fire, wherein eventually, you and your bankroll end up getting burned.
If this is how you chase losses, you should really take a step back and carefully evaluate your strategy. However, if you have a plan before you begin playing, you can include chasing losses into the plan in a way that safeguards at least part of your bankroll and provides yourself with a chance to hit a nice win every now and then.
But why do players chase losses? Let’s find out.
The Reason Behind Players Chasing Losses
One of the primary reasons for this sort of behavior is that they fall into the gambler’s fallacy trap. The gambler’s fallacy is the belief that the latest results predict near future results. The problem with this when it comes to gambling is that players try to apply it to random events, and it just does not work.
For example, you’re playing roulette and the last five spins have come up black. You believe that red is due because it hasn’t hit in five spins. So you place a bet on red. If black hits again, you believe that red is even more due to hit, so you keep on upping your bet on red.
Red and black hit on an equal basis in roulette, but it only happens in a true 50/50 percentage as the number of spins approaches infinity. The fewer the number of spins that you consider, the less likely that the distribution will be 50/50.
The truth is that every spin of the roulette wheel is an autonomous event. The spins before does not matter at all because the odds of the ball landing on red or black are the same on every spin.
In this example, let’s say that you wagered on red after five black in a row and the next spin is red. This fortifies your belief in the gambler’s fallacy and leads you to make the same mistake over and over again.
Some players also believe in streaks, so in the same example, they think that because black has hit five consecutive times, that it’s more likely to hit again. Both the player who thinks red is forthcoming and the one who believes black is coming is wrong for the same reason. It’s easy to fall for the gambler’s fallacy, but it’s virtually impossible to project future results in a random event from past results. Players should really try their best not to fall into this trap.
We have a few more ways to help you integrate loss chasing into your playing plan. Read on below.
1) Segregate Your Bankroll
An ideal tactic for chasing losses without obliterating a bankroll is segregating your bankroll. This is a fairly easy thing to do and is the most ideal way to chase losses while protecting a portion of your bankroll. You can utilize this method in a number of different ways depending on your risk tolerance and personal objectives.
To use the segregation method, divide your bankroll into two sections. You can divide it into two equal parts or in any ratio that works best for you. Use one part of your bankroll to chase losses, using whatever system you like, and use the other portion of your bankroll for your regular gambling activities.
For example, you own a bankroll of $1,000 and divide it into two $500 parts. You use $500 with the Martingale system with the aim of winning half of the $500, or $250, before busting out. In other words, you use the Martingale system and take a break when you increase your $500 stake to $750, or you lose the $500.
The other $500 is utilized to play games without chasing losses. No matter what happens with the first $500, you safeguard your ability to gamble with the other $500. If you’re able to bring the first $500 to $750, you have $1,250 in your bankroll, which you can use however you want.
When you are successful with this, you can then make three separate bankrolls. The $250 win is pushed to the side in its own bankroll which you don’t use immediately. You can use it as a backup to use when you get unlucky and lose your $500 Martingale bankroll.
You can then use the initial $500 Martingale bankroll to try to recover the $250 again, while the original $500 for regular play is still kept untouched. If you are lucky enough to get up $250 again, you now have three separate $500 bankrolls. One $500 bankroll is still used for a chasing losses system; another bankroll is kept in reserve for use when the chasing losses bankroll goes awry, and the third bankroll is still preserved for regular gambling activities.
If you’re fortunate enough to reach this point, you can keep on playing the Martingale or another system and divide the winnings over the three bankrolls. Another thing that you can try is to stick with the $500 loss chasing bankroll and build the other two bankrolls, with the hope of getting both of them to $1,000 before busting out chasing losses with the initial $500.
When you pursue losses with the use of the Martingale system or some other system, you’re eventually going to run into a prolonged losing streak and unfortunately, lose your bankroll. When you use your entire bankroll to play, you end up losing your initial bankroll and all of your wins.
This is a classic example of restricting your upside while having no downside protection. But when you segregate your bankroll, you limit your downside without eradicating your possible upside.
Nothing you do with your bankroll is going to alter the long-term edge the casino possesses. You can use a loss chasing system with most casino games in one way or another, but chances are, every one of the games has a long-term house edge you can’t possibly overcome.
2) The Double or Nothing Strategy
Another plan you can use when it comes to chasing losses is double or nothing. It’s an easy strategy to catch up on; you use it every time you gamble wherein you either double your initial bankroll or lose it all. The thing that makes this particular strategy distinct from how most players gamble is that you know what your potential outcomes are well before you start.
To use the double or nothing strategy, you begin with a set bankroll and make bets until you double up or go broke. A way to do this is to make a single even money bet with your total bankroll.
For instance, you make the call to use the double or nothing strategy with a session bankroll of $320. This essentially means that you’re leaving the casino with either $640 or zero. You find the roulette wheel and place a bet of $320 on red. If you win, you double your money, and if you lose, you’re going home with nothing.
While this works as the system is defined, the problem is that most players want to play more and for longer. So, instead of making one bet, you can use the Martingale system as you learned in the last section.
Here’s how: with the same $320 bankroll, you begin playing roulette and make even money bets. You start with a bet of $10 and every time you win a spin, you make a $10 bet on the next spin. When you lose, you double your next bet. Because each winning bet gives you a $10 profit, you have to win 32 series of bets before you lose five bets in a row.
Here are the numbers for a losing string of bets:
- First bet $10, for a total of $10.
- The second bet is $20, for a total of $30.
- The third bet is $40, for a total of $70.
- The fourth bet is $80, for a total of $150.
- The fifth bet is $160, for a total of $310.
As you can see, your bankroll of $320 lets you make five losing bets in a row.
Another way to utilize the all or nothing system is to divide your bankroll into individual bets and every time you win, you let it ride in the hopes of winning a series of bets for an extended period of time to double up. This isn’t exactly the same as chasing losses, but it is basically the same concept. Instead of betting that you won’t lose a number of decisions in a row, you’re betting that you win a number of decisions in a row.
Here’s an example: you own a $320 bankroll for the session and decide to divide it into 32 bets of $10. You play roulette and decide to bet on black each time. When you win, you bet your initial wager and the win on black again. You keep doing this until you double your bankroll on a winning series, or when you lose, you start from scratch with another $10 bet.
Here’s how the numbers work: you win a $10 bet, so you now have $20 in this series. You bet the entire $20 on the next bet and win, so you now have $40. You bet the $40, and if you win you have $80. Winning the next bet of $80 gives you $160. If you win the $160 wager, you have $320.
You can use a number of different variations of the double or nothing strategy to add range to your gambling. Most of the time, you’re going to lose your entire session bankroll, but there are times that you are going to double up.
This strategy works best with even money bets, but you can use a variation of it with most bets. I use it with sports betting and blackjack sometimes for a change of pace.
3) Change the Game
A lot of players are tempted to chase losses every now and then. If you use it as part of your overall plan and are well aware of what you’re going to do when you begin, at least you have an accurate view of the possibilities. But the best way to gamble is to never place yourself into a position where you even have to chase losses.
One useful way to do this is to pick games with a low house edge that you study until you learn what to expect every time you play them. The other way is to stop playing specific games and focus on ones that let you have a real chance of coming away with wins. Here’s a list of gambling activities that can help you eliminate the need to chase losses:
- Video poker
- Sports betting
- Horse racing
- Dog racing
- Esports betting
- Daily fantasy sports
- Black Jack Table With Cards
Blackjack features a low house edge when you can find games with good rules. It also has the benefit of being beatable if you know how to count cards. Any game that you can beat dashes the need to chase losses because you grind out a small profit over a period of time by simply sticking to the game plan.
Poker is one more game that gives you a realistic chance of gaining long-term profit. You can learn how to play well enough to beat your opponents, raking in profit over time.
Sports betting, horse racing, dog racing, esports betting, and daily fantasy sports all provide a shot to show a profit for smart bettors. Most bettors lose, but a few are able to study and learn enough to show profits over time.
Different video poker games and pay tables give you different house edges, but it’s fairly easy to pick ones that have an edge of less than 1%. You have to use the best strategy on each video poker game to keep the house edge low, but you can buy strategy cards to keep this simple.