Got this email from a fellow sexy reader, wondering how gambling may fall into the whole budgeting equation here. Which I personally find AWESOME because it A) means he’s not an addict! (Anyone who formulates a plan before betting everything on black has a good head on their shoulders in my eyes ;)) and B) means we get to talk about poker and blackjack today! Yay! Stuff we normally don’t get to talk about here on a finance blog… I believe the last time we did was with our confessions of a professional poker player series? Like, 4 years ago??? Jeez…
So let’s get this party started!
Is it possible to make a direct (and logical) correlation between gross income and the maximum amount of money that one can (or should?) use for gambling purposes?
A majority of folks would probably take the stance that gambling is stupid and any amount > 0 is too much. However, for those who find it as entertaining as I do, there has to be a relationship between personal income and gambling stakes. For example, if someone makes $50k a year, he probably isn’t playing $1000/hand in blackjack. But what should this person be gambling with, per bet and as a percentage of income?
I think it has more to do with your personality and risk tolerance than it does gross income or an amount to set aside for gambling. I wouldn’t play $1,000 blackjack hands whether I was making $50k or $500k! Haha… but that’s cuz I’m more financially conservative – even though I LOVE me some casinos. I’d rather plop down at the Hold ‘em table with a $100 pot and see how large I can grow it instead. And then maybe if I was up a few hundred or so I’d be making larger – $100+ bets – within the game over the one time drops in Blackjack. Which always sucks my money anyways :)
Gambling aside, though, I DO think it’s smart to put a certain % aside to do whatever you please with it so you can keep sane and generally happy. Whether it has to do with playing blackjack, or buying fancy widgets, or even splurging on $100 bottles of wine. The *what* doesn’t really matter so much, as does the mentality and being OK with some “play” money. And 5% of, say $100k, is going to be a LOT more money to have fun with than 5% of $30k! But that’s okay – it’s the way budgeting works and only motivates you to keep on pushing forward and growing that income of yours.
Another route you can go is to just increase your “entertainment” budget portion too, if you don’t have or want a “fun” section, for example. Cuz really that’s what gambling is at the end of the day: money in exchange for exhilarating entertainment, only with a chance to win some money in the end! Which you then replenish your fund with and keep on going strong – as long as you’re not one of those people who goes back and forth to the ATM every time you lose your allotted amounts ;)
That’s how I handled our weekly poker nights back in the day when Texas Hold ‘em was all the rage – remember that? Even my MOM was getting into it! Haha.. I gave myself something like $20 every week to play, but once it was gone it was gone and if I ever came home with anything (about 25% of the time) it would go right back into replenishing this fund in case my budget got lowered down the line. It kept me both sane, and in check.
Those are my thoughts anyways…
Any gamblers want to chime in? Or anyone else with an opinion for our blackjack friend? :) As always, better to do stuff like this in moderation than to the extreme. Unless you’re a professional at it like my friend… who I should actually follow up with and get an update for us! I wonder if he’s won any big tournaments or jackpots lately?
(Photo by Travis Isaacs)