Who doesn’t have dreams of winning big on a bet? We’ve all seen the amazing stories of amazing payoffs from professional handicappers like Meezy and LCapitan, and we all want that for ourselves. That’s one of the most exciting things about sports betting; the rush of a potential win and the dollars hitting your bank account.

But, we need to be serious for a second here. Sports betting is still gambling. It’s never a truly 100% guaranteed win– even the best cappers lose sometimes. The trick is not losing so much that it actually hurts. You can play the game all you want– just play it smart. Today, we’re going to talk about a vital element of sports betting: Managing your bankroll.

What Is Bankroll Management?

Your bankroll in sports betting is the pool of money you have to play with, and bankroll management is how that pool grows and changes over time. Your betting bankroll is different than your “real world” bankroll, and behaves differently. Your main bankroll is the amount of money you earn through work. Basically, it’s the money you use to pay your bills, buy food, and exchange for goods and services. You don’t need to pay money to earn money for your main bankroll.

But in sports betting, your ability to earn money is only made possible by spending money. If you’re too aggressive or unlucky, your bankroll will become too small to bet with, and you won’t be able to generate more money unless you reload your account. This means that you need to manage this money differently. If you want to protect your bottom line, you need to pay attention to how you are managing bankroll and how you are betting.

The Number One Rule

This is the most important tip for responsible sports betting. There’s an old saying that is very important to remember: Never bet more than you are willing to lose. We all know that betting is super fun and exciting, and it’s easy to overspend if you aren’t careful. While you can improve your odds by using a handicapper’s advice, there’s always a chance you can lose. Don’t become a sad story or statistic; don’t ever bet the money you need for bills, rent, your mortgage, or anything important.

Instead, start small and build up a bankroll that’s safe to play around with. Going into debt for betting isn’t worth it, especially because you can still win big with a small initial investment.

The history of sports betting in the United States is complicated, but we’ll summarize it like this: In 2018, the federal ban on sports betting was dropped. Since then, many states have moved to legalize it– but not all of them. Be familiar with your state’s sports betting laws! The American Gaming Association maintains a map with a list of sports betting legality in the US, so if you’re not sure what the betting laws are in your state, this is a great resource for responsible sports betting.

If you live outside of the US, check with your state, territory, province, or country’s gaming association to see what you can and can’t legally do. It’s not worth it to get in legal trouble for sports betting!

Don’t Hide It

If you’ve got a serious partner and are serious about sports betting, don’t try to hide it from your partner or spouse. We’ve all heard horror stories about how betting can get in the way of interpersonal relationships and mess up joint finances. More importantly, it’s a major trust issue. If you are risking joint funds without telling the other person who has access to them, and you aren’t talking about what you’re doing, it can ruin your relationship. Nobody wants that!

Instead, be responsible. Talk to your partner about betting and budgeting, and set aside some money for yourself to play with. Part of managing bankroll is figuring out where the initial money is coming from and how and when you will top up your betting account. If you have another person involved with your finances, you need to discuss this with them.

Also, don’t try to hide your big wins from the IRS. While nobody likes paying taxes, getting audited and fined is way worse. All winnings, even small ones, must be reported.

Watch Out For Scams

The internet has made sports betting easier than ever to access– but it’s also home to a sophisticated network of scammers who want to take your hard-earned money and give you nothing in return. Watch out for pop-up gambling ads, email spam, or text messages that offer you promises of “risk-free” bets, incentives that are too good to be true, or questionable bonuses.

Pay extra close attention to this messaging around major sporting events like the Super Bowl, NCAA Sweet Sixteen/Final Four, and any playoffs. Bogus sports betting websites can look very sophisticated and legit– so do your research before you place a bet anywhere.

Improve Your Odds

Sports betting is complicated with lots of variables that affect the outcome of your bet. It’s not like playing slots, where the odds are fixed by a machine, and it’s not like playing cards where there’s a mathematically predicted number of outcomes and a known set of probabilities. Sports betting relies on so many factors, including human performance, weather conditions, facility conditions, and more.

Because of this, sports betting is more likely to be successful if you have a community of like-minded bettors and work with a handicapper. A handcapper (or capper for short) is somebody who’s totally devoted to the science and art of sports betting. These masterminds know the stats and teams inside and out, and develop their predictions based on a measured assessment of all the possible factors that contribute to the outcome of the game or event.

One of the best ways to get access to a handicapper is to join a sports betting Discord server. These servers are a great way to connect with not only the top handicappers working today, but also a community full of people like you who love sports betting and want to improve their ability to place bets and win big.

The community aspect of these servers is also important to a lot of bettors. Instead of placing bets by yourself, you can enjoy the support of a community of like-minded people who are happy to give advice on placing bets and managing bankroll. Some of these Discord groups even provide member exclusive perks, events, and giveaways. Discord also opens up the opportunity to play with sports analysis bots that can help you make better decisions about how and when to place your bets.

Keep A Clear Head

Betting is a great way to make money, if you know what you’re doing and if you are willing to be smart about it. But sports betting is not a get-rich-quick scheme! It takes time and patience to see a return on your investment. Don't get discouraged if you are not seeing immediate results and don't let your emotions drive your decisions.

It’s also very important to remember to bet only while sober. Alcohol and other substances can impair your judgment and lead to impulsive decisions, which can blow your budget and any plans you’ve made for your picks. Place your bets before you break out the six-pack; save the brews for when you’re actually watching and enjoying the game!

Be Patient

Sure, sometimes people place wild bets that pay off immediately– but that usually isn’t the case. Usually the people who make money on sports betting are the people who are patient.  The smartest bettors treat sports betting as a long-term process. Sports bets often have relatively slim margins, and short term variance can put a big dent in your bankroll if you’re too aggressive.

It’s also important to avoid impulsive betting. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare– slow and steady wins the race.

Don’t Chase Your Losses

It is important to know when to stop betting, especially when you are on a losing streak. Losing can be frustrating, but it is important to resist the temptation to keep betting in the hope of recouping your losses. This is called chasing your losses, and it’s not part of responsible sports betting.

Man stopping his betting after he lost

Chasing your losses is when you get into the habit of betting more money in an attempt to recover previous losses. This is a dangerous habit that can quickly lead to financial ruin. Don’t throw good money after bad, and don’t think that you are guaranteed a win after a bunch of losses. If you find yourself losing more than you can afford, take a break and reassess your situation. Sports betting is supposed to be fun– if it’s affecting your financial stability, you have a problem.

Problem Gambling Resources

If you find yourself getting in over your head, it’s ok. It happens to a lot of people, and it’s not anything to be ashamed of. You have lots of places you can turn for help and support. You can call or text the completely confidential, 24/7 National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700, or you can chat with them online. You can also get peer advice at GamTalk.org.

Advice You Can Bet On

We know that bankroll management isn’t the most exciting topic in sports betting– but it’s all part of playing the game well. If you want to know more about sports betting and how to turn your bankroll into big bucks, you’re in the right place.

Whop.com has access to all of the best handicapper Discords and sports betting groups. Sign up today to start working with smart sports bettors just like you and learn how to place the best bets!