The first rule is the most important of all rules of gambling. Don’t play with money you can’t afford to lose. This can’t be repeated or stressed often enough. No matter how skillful a player you are, no matter how lucky you feel, if you’re gambling with money you can’t afford to lose, you’re asking for trouble.

And above all, don’t borrow money to gamble with. This leads to disaster. Don’t ask for casino credit if you’ll have to dig into savings or use essential money to repay the losses.

After you’ve decided that you can gamble with a certain amount, play according to your gambling bankroll. If you have $1,000, don’t start betting $100 chips and risk losing everything before you have a chance to start a winning cycle.

The pages on blackjack, craps, and baccarat deal fully with the proper total bankroll for the game, the single session bankroll, and the limits of play according to the bankroll. Study these carefully before playing any of these games for real money, for the sections on money management are just as important as those on correct playing strategies.

One rule constantly stressed in these sections is not to play with scared money, that is, money that is insufficient for the game you’re playing.

If you’re at a $25 table in blackjack and have only $200, you’re undercapitalized, and you’ll either have to forgo higher bets in favorable situations or, worse still, make foolishly high bets in the hope of increasing your bankroll so that you can properly play the game for correct stakes.

Either move is bad. Always play with adequate funds, or don’t play at all. Be patient. Save up until you can properly bet what you have to in order to take full advantage of the game you’re playing.