7 Steps to a Successful Poker Bankroll Management Strategy
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A poker bankroll, simply defined, is money set aside strictly for the purpose of playing poker that the player can afford to lose. The idea though, is not to lose it. The idea is to build on that bankroll to either move up into higher stakes or to make a profit and keep the winnings for personal use.
Now if your just playing poker for fun, don't bother reading this article. Take whatever amount you feel comfortable with to the table now and enjoy a friendly game of poker!
If you're interested in building on your bankroll for the purpose of adding to your income or even playing poker professionally, read on.
| ||Play poker with your poker bankroll, and only use your bankroll for poker - An important part of bankroll management is that your poker bankroll should be used only for poker. In order to play your best while at the tables, you should never be playing with more than you can afford to lose. If the idea of losing the money you have on the table scares you, you will play scared poker. Anyone who's ever played scared poker knows that scared poker is not winning poker. In any game of poker, you must take risks and play aggressively in order to win. A player who cannot afford to lose is far less likely to take those aggressive chances. Always keep your money for important things such as food, rent, etc., separate from your bankroll.|
| ||Your bankroll should determine the stakes you are playing - Always let your bankroll dictate the stakes you are playing for, every single time you play. The purpose of this is so that when you take a big downswing (yes, I said "when," not "if"), you won't end up bankrupted. Your bankroll can start at any amount that your feel comfortable with. With the popularity of online play, it's easy to find games with stakes as low as 2¢ to 10¢, which is low enough to start off your bankroll with even a small deposit.|
| ||Buying into the ring - When playing no-limit or pot-limit ring games, you should always buy in for the maximum amount allowed. The exception would be if your bankroll does not support the max buy-in for the lowest stakes available. If you don't have the max buy-in for the amount you would like to play but there are lower stakes games available, you should move down in stakes to a game that your bankroll can support the full buy-in amount. Your bankroll should be enough to support 20 max buy-ins. For limit ring games, the general consensus is that you bankroll should have at least 300 Big Bets.|
| ||Sit and go and multi-table tournaments - For sit and go tournaments (or SNG's), you should also have at least 20 buy-ins in your bankroll when deciding which game to play. Multi-table tournaments (or MTT's) are generally considered high risk investments. A very good player is very likely to only cash in about 15-30% of these large tournaments. However, the amounts for cashing can be rather large. If playing MTTs regularly for long term profit is your thing, your bankroll should be able to support at least 50 buy-ins to the tournies you choose to enter.|
| ||Moving up - At some point, if you are a winning poker player, your bankroll will grow to the point where it can support buy-ins into higher stakes games. When you reach that point, go for it! Many players are under the misconception that moving up in stakes may be moving out of their skill level, which is simply not necessarily true. Remember that anyone can start off with any bankroll. Some deposit $50, some deposit $500, while others start off with thousands of dollars or more. You will notice some differences in gameplay at different stakes. Generally, higher stakes games have more skilled players per table, while lower buy-in games have more donkeys per table. Still, there are donkeys and skilled players at every level. A couple of times in Chris Ferguson's professional career, he only played freerolls, dollar tournies, and 10 cent ring games. He was utilizing a bankroll management strategy. The stakes he was playing had nothing to do with his level of skill. You'll also see plenty|
| ||Moving down - When your bankroll takes a hit that necessitates moving down into lower stakes games, you must move down in stakes if you are to remain in control of your poker bankroll. It can be difficult after playing for the big money to move down into games where the winnings are only fractions of what they were in the higher games. Even many pros who are forced to move down often are battling with the boredom of the smaller prizes. It is important to avoid the tilt that can be caused after taking a hit. Stay focused on the fact that you need to rebuild your bankroll so that you can get back into the higher stakes games. If you find yourself bored in lower stakes games, try to think of them as "play-off"" games to your Super Bowl, World Series, higher-stakes game.|
| ||Make a chart - Once you have committed to a bankroll management strategy, create a chart and log your progress after each game. Keep it somewhere you can always see it so that you never stray from it when buying into a game.|
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