12 Worst Gambling Mistakes [& How to Avoid Making Them]

Making some of the worst gambling mistakes that not even seasoned players are immune to, can leave you with a dwindling gaming budget and a lot of regret. These mistakes can impact everything—from your bankroll to your overall satisfaction as a player—and they can even be a gateway to a gambling addiction.

Accidentally making some of the worst gambling mistakes is unfortunately more common than it should be. However, with a bit of caution, it’s possible to avoid doing something like that and taking the fun out of gambling—we’ll show you how!

In this article, we’ll cover 12 such mistakes and provide you with expert tips on how to keep them from happening. Let’s dive right in!

12 Worst Gambling Mistakes You Can Make

Some of the worst gambling mistakes you can make oftentimes lead to the saddest gambling stories. So, pay attention to the following 12 errors to avoid and make your gaming sessions successful:

#1. Not Having a Budget in Place

Making financial decisions in the middle of a hand of poker or a spin on the slot machine is one of the worst gambling mistakes, and it can easily turn into one of the most expensive errors as well.

To avoid this rookie mistake—and spending money that you’ll need for utilities and rent—you first need to figure out how much you are comfortable spending. Keep in mind that your gambling budget should be a part of your entertainment fund, as it counts as a leisure activity.

More importantly, setting aside a designated amount for gambling is going to help you keep your gambling habits from becoming a problem. By controlling your spending and avoiding financial stress, you’ll be able to find greater pleasure in the games you play.

woman counting money - worst gambling mistakes

You should always keep in mind that the casino’s odds of winning your money are greater than your odds of winning the casino’s money. Thus, you should bet accordingly and invest the amount of money you can live without.

Not only is this one of the most common gambling mistakes, but it can also be the most detrimental one, so make sure to stick to the budget you set aside!

#2. Chasing Losses

Chasing losses is a gambling mistake that nearly every player has made, with casino newbies being particularly prone to it. A player who tries to chase losses will try to win back the money they’ve lost by gambling more and doubling their bets.

More often than not, this will prove a terrible idea, as it’s going to result in three things:

  • A vicious gaming cycle
  • A dwindling budget
  • A gambling addiction (in the worst-case scenario)

Players might start chasing losses for different reasons. However, a study conducted by Daniel K. Campbell-Meiklejohn et al., found that ‘chasing losses was associated with increased activity in cortical areas linked to incentive-motivation and an expectation of reward.

That being said, it’s imperative to learn how to remedy the mistake by accepting losing as an integral part of gambling. And don’t be hard on yourself if you’ve made this gambling mistake before—acknowledge it as part of a learning curve and move on.

#3. Not Researching Safety of Online Casinos

As a player, before creating an account with an online casino, the first thing you should do is research their safety and licenses.

The research process entails learning about the casino’s reputation, reading reviews, and examining its security measures. The best UK online casinos will take many actions—such as enabling SSL encryption, secure payment gateways, and 2-step verification—to ensure their players enjoy maximum safety.

Luckily, this is one of the most common gambling mistakes you can avoid simply by doing your research. Check whether the casino you are thinking of playing at holds one of the most prestigious gambling licenses in the world, such as:

Finally, a great way to find a secure casino is to rely on word-of-mouth recommendations. So, if this applies to you and you already have a friend who has recommended a trustworthy website, give their suggestion a go.

#4. Setting Unrealistic Expectations

Setting unrealistic expectations when gambling is a recipe for disaster. Casino games are not a guaranteed way to win money, and they won’t make you rich overnight unless you are a professional gambler, so it’s best to get that idea out of your head.

Since not many people have the right skill set to pursue gambling as a career, it’s important to set the right expectations. Here’s what you can realistically get out of gambling if you are an average casino player:

  • A way to have some fun alone or with a group of friends
  • An activity that can help you kill some time during a lunch break or while stuck in traffic
  • An occasional moderate win

#5. Not Understanding the Game

Playing a game you don’t understand will most likely lead to the biggest gambling losses during your sessions. Every game, be it blackjack, poker, or roulette, has basic rules you should learn by heart before placing any bets. Not being aware of game rules will negatively impact your gameplay and decrease your chances of winning.

worst gambling mistakes - man dealing cards

If you want to go one step further and improve your odds of winning, you should learn about some basic strategies gamblers can use when playing the game. These can help protect your bankroll and make the games more exciting, so you have every reason to dedicate some time to them.

Since seasoned players know that familiarizing themselves with the rules and strategies of the game is the first thing they should do, this is one gambling mistake that newbies tend to make. Luckily, they can remedy the situation simply by taking half an hour to memorize the rules, as most online casino games are pretty straightforward.

#6. Spending Too Much Time on One Game

Spending a lot of time playing one game is not only one of the biggest mistakes you can make, but it’s also a habit that will prevent you from discovering all the joys of gambling.

Interestingly enough, this is a mistake that both new and experienced players are likely to make. Gamblers believe that sticking to a game they know and understand makes sense, as they trust it will provide them with the best outcome.

Unfortunately, the opposite is likely to happen, as playing one game too long will negatively impact your winning chances; you might get tired and lose focus, resulting in many wrong bets.

You can avoid falling into this trap by browsing different game types. Top-rated online casinos like All British Casino, MagicRed Casino, and PlayOJO have rich game libraries, so finding a title you like will be a piece of cake.

#7. Betting With Emotions Instead of Logic

From a novice player to a seasoned professional, all bettors face an emotional journey when placing a bet. The highs of a winning streak and the disappointments of a losing one can cloud their judgment, causing them to make impulsive decisions. Ask any gambler, and they will tell you that their spur-of-the-moment decisions led to some of the worst gambling losses.

Betting, whether in sports or casino games, should be a calculated risk. A player should focus on logic and data if he or she wants to increase their chances of success. Therefore, place bets that make sense for your strategy, bankroll, and overall experience as a gambler.

#8. Making High-Risk Bets

High-risk bets usually come with high rewards, which makes them attractive. The first thing many players start thinking about is what they could do with the money if they were lucky enough to bet big and win big. Unfortunately, this almost always leads to big gambling losses—and quite a few disappointed players.

Placing high-risk bets only makes sense if you are a well-versed player who makes a living out of gambling. If you are going to play high-stakes roulette, poker, or blackjack, you need to be an advanced gambler who has complex card-counting strategies up their sleeve. If you don’t fit the description, taking a calculated risk is the right way to go.

dealer about to draw a card

Besides, small and low-risk bets will help you prolong gaming sessions, as you’ll be able to stretch your bankroll.

#9. Being Overconfident

Confidence in your abilities is great, but being overconfident can have adverse effects. For one, it tricks players into placing bets they shouldn’t.

According to a study conducted by Adam S. Goodie from the University of Georgia, overconfidence is a problem among pathological and gamblers. The study also found that overconfidence led to systematically less favorable bets and outcomes.

The problem with this gambling mistake is that it’s not as easy to avoid and fix as others. A player will have to make a conscious effort to control their overconfidence, which they can do by being honest with themselves and taking some time to reflect on their habits.

If all else fails, it is advisable to seek professional help and take a more serious approach to solving the problem.

#10. Not Placing Time and Money Limits

One of the greatest things about online casinos is that they allow you to track the time and money you spend on gambling. These limits serve as a useful reality check of how much of your resources you are investing when logged into a casino’s website, which helps players keep a gambling addiction at bay.

Let’s say that you exceed the daily money limit you have set for yourself. The casino’s system will send you a warning once you go above that threshold, and you will be able to take a step back and log out.

Since losing track of how long you have been playing and how much of your funds you have been investing is easy, it’s advisable to put time and money restraints in place as soon as you create an account.

Many people who make the mistake of ignoring these limits—and start developing a gambling addiction as a result—will have to resort to another, more extreme measure online casinos have in place—self-exclusion. A lot of times, this option serves as the final block between a player and a full-blown gambling addiction.

Those who use it will get some time to cool off, as they will be blocked from playing games for a period of time of their choosing; a self-exclusion can last anywhere from a few months up to a year.

#11. Believing in the Gambler’s Fallacy

Gambler’s fallacy, also known as the Monte Carlo fallacy, is a belief that an event is more or less likely to happen based on the results of a previous series of events.

The most famous example of the gambler’s fallacy happened in 1913 at a casino in Monte Carlo. After the roulette wheel ball fell on black several times in a row, players were sure that it had to fall on red within the next few turns. It took the ball 26 turns to land on red, and players had already lost millions of dollars by that point.

Keep yourself from suffering a significant gambling loss, and remember that most casino games rely on luck and chance. It would be better to use a good strategy—like the Martingale betting system—than rely on the gambler’s fallacy.

#12. Not Knowing When to Call it a Day

Finally, not knowing when to take a step back and call it a day can be one of the worst gambling mistakes to make.

Sometimes, players get a lucky break and win a decent amount of money. Be it out of greediness or feeling like they have embarked on a lucky streak, those players will sometimes bet all the money they have won—and lose.

Every gambler should remember that beating the house twice in a row is highly unlikely. Therefore, protect your budget by taking the money you have won and coming back another day.

Key Takeaways

If you want to have longer, more successful gaming sessions, you must make a conscious effort to avoid the worst gambling mistakes that pros and newbies alike frequently make.

In the best-case scenario, these mistakes are going to result in a few lost bets; however, the worst-case outcome is much scarier, as they could lead a player down the path of a gambling addiction.

Take our article as a good starting point when researching which mistakes to avoid, as our list will help protect your budget and overall satisfaction.

Harvey Dickenson

Safe Gambling Specialist

Harvey Dickenson is our safe gambling specialist. Harvey is a recreational poker player and an expert in online casino safety, cons, and scams.

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