What should I do with my winnings – keep playing or cash out?

You’re on a roll, you’re raking in the cash, it seems like there’s just no stopping you. The question is – what to do with your winnings? Option one – you can cut your losses and withdraw your winnings, ensuring you don’t proceed to end your winning streak and lose the lot but also surrendering the chance for even greater winnings that may have been just around the corner. Option two – reinvest your winnings back into your gaming and continue to play, risking losing the lot but also gaining the chance to win huge! This is a decision that every pokies player will have to make – and not just once! We have a few suggestions that might help you out when next you confront this age old dilemma.

First and foremost, please think carefully about whether you are a problem gambler. There are a number of pages on our Frequently Asked Questions section about problem gambling – check these pages out for signs commonly displayed by problem gamblers, how to recognise if you are a problem gambler, and steps you can take to get help for your addiction. If you even suspect you might be a problem gambler, these suggestions are not for you – you should stop gambling immediately and seek profession help. Lives have been ruined, and it is not just your own that is on the line – families have been torn apart and it’s just not worth it.

Okay, that said, if you are certain that you don’t have a gambling problem, that you can and do go for long and regular periods without gambling and that you don’t feel you crave it when you don’t do it, and you don’t gamble irresponsibly, then you can consider carefully our advice on what to do with your winnings – keep playing or cut and run?

Ultimately it’s up to you, there’s not a single sure-fire way of knowing whether the next hit will see you win big or lose everything. Obviously, or it wouldn’t be called gambling, would it? There’s really no way of even getting an idea of what’s coming up in the next spin – every single spin is totally randomly generated. So it’s not knowing what’s next that will help you to decide.  And don’t fool yourself that you’ve ‘got a good feeling’ – many a good feeling has been followed by a loss of all winnings and capital. What you need is a plan that you stick to when you’re on a winning streak no matter what that will let you know whether to keep betting your winnings or to cash out. Now you can figure one out that works for you, but this is our suggestion:

  1. As soon as your balance has increased sufficiently, withdraw the amount you initially bet and put it away. While it’s possible just to keep playing and not bet below your original capital amount, our experience is that this doesn’t work quite as well as withdrawing it immediately – it’s just a little more tempting when it is already in the machine!
  2. We also recommend having two places to keep your money – one for money that can be bet and one for money that is off limits. This works well with two pockets, in a real life casino, and a similar system can be achieved by using the features of the various payment options in the site of your choice. For example, many payment options have a withdrawal limit over a set period. We highly recommend setting this up immediately.
  3. Decide on a win/loss amount that you stick to during a winning streak. For example, imagine you originally bet $25 and that that amount has now increased to $250. Now, there’s no point in cashing out in anticipation of a loss, at least we don’t think so. However, if you know your will power to be lacking, we suggest that in fact you do exactly that. Losing can increase desperation and foolish belief in your ability to “win it back”. Provided you’re in control and will remain so regardless of wins or losses, we recommend the following. Don’t cash out in anticipation of a loss, but decide upon a maximum amount you’re willing to lose and cash out immediately when you reach that amount. So, if you originally bet $25 and have been lucky enough to increase that amount ten fold to $250, continue to bet unless you lose and your total amount falls to $200. This gives you some leeway, as you don’t necessarily want to be scared off by any small loss when bigger wins could be about to follow, but you certainly don’t want to lose all those winnings. And, if your balance continues to grow, then you can alter the amount at which you’ll cash out.

It’s pretty obvious stuff – just basic common sense really – but don’t be fooled. It is not the development of the plan that is the tricky part. It’s the sticking to it. We are all too aware that in the moment of winning or losing, it is all too easy to convince yourself to just make that one more bet, to win a little bit more, or to win back your losses. We are all too aware of that “lucky feeling” you get that tells you that the next spin is going to be the winner. And while sometimes it might be, the odds are stacked against you every time. And so, while the excitement and the success might be fun in the moment, overall you will have a much more enjoyable gaming experience all the time if you develop a plan like this and stick to it. Because the people that play recklessly might have more of those moments of jubilation and excitement, but you can bet they also have a lot more of the desperate moments too – and you don’t want that. Be very aware that a gambling problem can creep up on you, no one is immune, and taking steps to ensure that you gamble responsibly will make your gaming, and your life, much more enjoyable and much less stressful.