There are a lot of good reasons to track your gambling sessions and casino visits using some type of note software. Sure, you can use a piece of paper and a pencil if you’re still in the stone age, but you can also get free note-taking and clipping tools like Evernote and Springboard for your iPad. And, there are plenty of apps for use on your smartphone.You don’t really need to use your phone for your notes, but that does offer the luxury of having a record made immediately after each session, and you should be able to keep track of those records. You can always use a simple spiral-bound notebook or get on your pad or computer right away, but your memory might not be that great an hour or two after your session.
Why Take Notes of Gaming Sessions?
Gamblers are notorious for not following money-management steps, mostly because it takes forethought and discipline. However,the benefits to maintaining a bankroll and keeping records far outweigh the minor inconvenience of writing down your wins and losses after each session.
If you are thinking about learning to count cards at blackjack, you’ll definitely have to adopt some type of record keeping. The amount you can safely bet at blackjack as a counter is directly related to your bankroll. Bet too much and you’ll go broke, even with an edge! Bet too little of your bankroll and you’ll never take advantage of your best sessions and make the maximum you should.
What to Keep Track of
Obviously you want to record how much you won or lost, but you’ll also want to note where you played, for how long, and what the game was that you were playing. Nobody likes to actually write down that they lost, but suppose you play slots, video poker, craps, and 21, and your records show that your bet size is pretty regular but you lose twice as much at gaming machines as at the table games. Well, now you should figure out why!
If you know how to play the games, but are getting more spins on the slots than hands at 21, that’s probably why you are losing more. Do you enjoy playing the slots much more than the table games? Weigh your feelings. Perhaps you’d be just as happy playing craps, for half the price per hour!
Keeping records forces you to admit to yourself what your gambling is costing you per hour and per week, month, and year. Perhaps it costs three times what a movie costs, but only half what a dinner at a nice restaurant costs. Now you can make an informed decision about where to spend your money this week.
Blackjack Records to Keep
For any gambling, a permanent record can also be used as an IRS record in case you hit a large jackpot you want to balance out against earlier loses, and if you gamble with a player’s card the casino will give you a year-end summary of your play – if you ask. For blackjack players, especially those who find themselves winning on a regular basis, you’ll want to know where those wins occurred.
Because casinos frown on winners, especially card counters, you may want to limit your blackjack sessions to under an hour in any one section. Play in various pits to spread your play around many bosses. The casino will have a record of your wins, but won’t take much action until you are perceived as a real threat, and flying under the radar is easy at large casinos. Keeping records of the pits you play in, with which bosses, and at what time of the day is important.
If you live in a location with several casino choices, spread your play around the best you can, but keep track of your wins and losses. Where do you do best? Why? Is it because the cut-card is deeper at a certain club? Is it because you are more relaxed and make fewer mistakes? You won’t know for sure until you have some data to analyze. Start keeping records!
Keeping Poker Records
For poker players, you’ll want to keep track of your total hours, your hourly win or loss, rooms you play in, and of course the actual games you play. If your win rate is higher at certain games, you may want to improve your worst games or concentrate solely on your best game. And, you may find that you win more in certain rooms. This is likely to be based on your competition. The players at the Bellagio may be weaker than at the Orleans for your game, or visa-verse, but how will you know if you don’t keep track?
You are also likely to find the competition in specific games (limit or no-limit, Hold’em or Omaha) is different at each casino. Might as well play where you make the most money! So what if your rate is the same at two clubs? Then consider which one is closer to your home, which one has the best comps, and which one you feel the best in.
Sports Betting Records
There aren’t that many people who can successfully handicap sporting events. Doing well involves a lot of record keeping about trends, power ratings, and dozens of other things, just don’t forget to keep track of your real results. I know from experience that I’m very good at handicapping baseball; well ahead for my lifetime. I also know I can’t beat the NBA to save my life. I like betting, but have stopped because I like money more than I like betting and losing. Follow that thought and apply it to the games you bet on and you’ll do well. Ignore it and you’ll eventually go broke!