To be an effective poker player, it’s simply not enough nowadays to just play poker hands that will blow away your opponents.
Instead, you need to have control over your entire bankroll, and poker bankroll management is something that is often overlooked.
But don’t worry, we have you covered when it comes to poker bankroll management. In this guide, we will run through all aspects of how to be cannier when playing poker, including how to bankroll games, basic rules, and how to build a bankroll quicker. Read on to find out more.
WHAT IS BANKROLL MANAGEMENT IN POKER?
Bankroll management in poker refers to the way that you fund your games and make sure you don’t exceed what you can afford to spend. To a certain extent, effective bankroll management requires being disciplined and restrained, so you don’t push things too far in cash games.
Whether you are a professional poker, such as Phil Ivey who has multiple world poker titles to his name, or an amateur poker player, you need to figure out buy-in amounts.
You need to work out how much you can afford to lose while playing. Once this has been established, then you can calculate big bankrolls and manage games that come with high stakes.
Of course, your money is completely at your disposal, but if you wish to win money and enjoy profitable games, you should get to grips with good bankroll management. We have outlined factors such as the size of your bankroll in the following sections.
WHY IS BANKROLL MANAGEMENT IMPORTANT IN POKER?
Good poker bankroll management can never be overstated. There are several reasons why this is the case when playing online poker. Firstly, going broke in online poker games may force you to sit out of a round until an opportunity opens up at the table.
Also, if you have a solid bankroll management strategy in place, then you can start to move down in stakes and play casino games with lower cash values if you embark on a losing streak. Therefore, having a large poker bankroll can cushion you against any blows.
On the flip side, employing good poker bankroll management strategies can stop you from moving up stakes too quickly, as you are more likely to consistently lose money if you’re not ready for the step up.
Variance is an inevitable and inescapable element of playing online poker. The amount of money you can win at the poker table will always be impacted by variance. Simply put, poker players can’t avoid variance when participating in online cash games.
As such, the size of your poker bankroll should be in line with the level of tournaments you are playing, and you should consider games with higher variance as well as those with less variance. Usually, professional poker players will play with high stakes as they are more competent at drawing big blinds in rounds.
Proper poker bankroll management requires time and patience, but once you have got to grips with the basic tenets of it, then you can enter tournament poker games with more confidence in the future.
ADVANTAGES OF POKER BANKROLL MANAGEMENT
Nowadays, there are plenty of ways that having a proper bankroll will help you while playing online poker. We have listed the advantages associated with strong poker bankroll management techniques below:
EASILY ACCESSIBLE POKER BANKROLL MANAGEMENT TOOLS
Information is easily accessible on the internet, but there are plenty of apps that have exploded onto the market to help those who play poker, and they will help you keep on top of your poker bankroll. For example, a poker income tracker allows you to input information about your stakes and times of when you play cash games.
You can generate all sorts of graphs and visuals, and this will be just as useful for experienced players as it will be for a professional poker player. You may for example like the look of Poker Stack, which is downloadable for iOS and Android users, and it will quickly identify your most and least lucrative games to play, so you can assess your results in real-time.
Alternatively, you might be swayed by Live Poker Manager, which is another brilliant app that is extremely user-friendly that will keep tabs on all your money and ensure you are in the best possible position when you play tournaments.
Or if you prefer a more practical approach to poker bankroll management, then you may choose to use spreadsheets instead. You could open up an Excel spreadsheet and have columns relating to poker bankroll. You will be able to track all the money you have won at online poker sites, assign poker finances, as well as assess your win rate over a period of time. You will then be able to determine whether you should have a large bankroll or a smaller bankroll in the short term.
There is no risk of losing money if you manage your bankroll correctly and you will play lower stakes games before you can collect enough buy-ins.
YOU CAN PLAY GAMES FOR LONGER
Ultimately, you want to make your bankroll last for as long as possible. If you are careful with your poker bankroll, then you will avoid going bust.
No matter how good you are at playing poker, it may not be unusual to lose 10 games in a row if you are playing badly. If that’s only 5% of your bankroll, then you can try and win back any lost money and chance your arm. However, if you are losing more money than you can afford, then things can spiral out of control.
HELPS YOU TO CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS
If your poker bankroll allows you to absorb losses, then you will be able to join a cash game and continue without the losses becoming too stressful.
Ultimately, you will be able to see a cash game more objectively, and this will stop you from tilting, becoming frustrated, and diverting away from your initial poker bankroll management strategy. In a game of poker, the fear of bad luck or losing a huge sum of money could hinder you from maximising your potential.
MAKES PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE MORE ACCURATE
Playing at a poker site isn’t just for the here and now. By utilising a better bankroll management style, it can help you plan more effectively in the future. You can assess your performance in live games, and you can start setting yourself for bigger tournament buy-ins if that is your personal preference.
With a solid bankroll management system in place, then you can keep your online poker tournament ticking over, and you will be a more effective cash game player.
POKER BANKROLL MANAGEMENT TIPS
It is one thing to know the buy-in amount to move from the lowest stakes up to higher stakes games, but it is another thing to understand bankroll management strategy.
However, if you can consider and apply the following bankroll management tips, then this will stand you in good stead and put you on a more even keel with other poker players:
KEEP YOUR POKER BANKROLL SEPARATE FROM YOUR OWN MONEY
The best poker players will not only have an innate ability to come up trumps in big tournaments, but they will also think carefully about their whole bankroll.
While it can be easy to fall into the trap of mixing your ordinary money with poker money, this is essentially a cardinal sin. Proper bankroll management will dictate that the two are separate entities, and so they should be treated as such.
When you are on an online poker site, you should set aside money from your playing account and that should be solely from your playing account. Mixing this with your general money can be dangerous, especially as you have living expenses, such as bills to pay.
You should know what you can afford to lose, and if you can keep your poker bankrolls from your everyday money, then it will improve your overall quality of life.
TAKE AGGRESSIVE SHOTS WHEN NEEDED
Depending on your poker ability will affect whether you have enough money to have a larger bankroll. Poker is a game of risk, and sometimes you have to spend money to accumulate.
However, we’re not saying that a hyper aggressive play will always pay off. So, if your goal is to move up the stakes within a poker game, then you can adopt a more aggressive strategy with your poker bankroll management. However, if things get too much, then you should impose limits and stop playing to avoid further heartache down the line.
On the flip side, if you are naturally risk averse when playing poker then you might decide to have a more conservative poker bankroll management strategy. You will be able to offset any losses and prevent yourself from going broke.
SAVE MONEY ON NON-POKER EXPENSES
If you are ready to dedicate more time to poker, then one effective poker bankroll management strategy would be to limit the amount of money you spend on everyday expenses.
Budget effectively and cut down on any unnecessary costs, so that you can build a bankroll more quickly over time.
DROP DOWN THE STAKES TO REBUILD YOUR CONFIDENCE
Finally, one of our handy poker bankroll management tips is to lower the stakes even if your bankroll doesn’t exempt you from playing higher.
Poker, even for professional players, comes with its own set of challenges, and a streak of bad variance or bad luck will dent your confidence if you lose too much money. So, by dropping down the stakes in a poker game, you will be able to regain your confidence quickly as you won’t be obsessed with your win rate.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ANY FREEROLL TOURNAMENTS
While you may wish to play Texas hold’em or compete in games that have a large prize pool, you shouldn’t miss an opportunity to take advantage of freerolls. The player pool is likely to be significant, but you can enter these for free.
They will give you a great experience of playing in single table tournaments, and you never know, perhaps one day you could end up being the next Daniel Negreanu! If you play freerolls, you won’t risk losing more money than you should.
TYPES OF POKER BANKROLL MANAGEMENT
Poker bankroll management comes in all shapes and guises for cash games, and we have outlined some of the most common ones below:
- No-Limit Online Cash Games – If you want to play here, you will usually need 100+ buy-ins to get started and you will need to be proficient in terms of skill level. The minimum bankroll will be $200, but you will need to think carefully about the game selection and game types before proceeding.
- Single Table Sit & Gos – These live cash games are ideal for new players. The maximum buy in won’t be too high (starts from $1.10), and games usually last less than an hour. The game will start when the table is full, so there’s not too much waiting around, and you can choose your game from lots of different types.
- Multi Table Tournaments – In multi table tournaments, players will start with an equal fixed number of chips. You can only continue playing if you have chips left to use. The stakes, as you imagine, will be quite high, and the winner will be the one who takes all the chips from their opponents. This can of course be quite intense as a tournament whittles down the number of live players in a game, but over time, you can build a poker stack.
WHAT TO CONSIDER WITH BUILDING A POKER BANKROLL
So, if you want to build a poker bankroll for cash games, you ought to consider the following to improve your playing experience, but also to do so in the safest way possible:
- Game type – When handling your online poker account, certain games will require a larger bankroll than others. Live poker tournaments will be higher variance, and the maximum amount may be much higher than a standard game. Some turbo-charged tournaments may not be to your liking, well certainly if you are a huge fish.
- The stakes – Naturally, some higher stakes games will require a larger bankroll than grinding lower stakes of the same game type. If you are new to the game, start off small before trying to aspire to new levels.
- The win rate – As part of your poker strategy, you should look closely at the win rate or the return on investment (ROI). This will be based on a big blind figure out of 100 hands played, but don’t be swayed by this too much.
- Comfort level – Regardless of whether you are new to a casino or you have enjoyed a decorated poker career, you should opt for a bankroll that suits your game style. If having a larger bankroll helps with your mental composure, then so be it.
HOW TO START A POKER BANKROLL?
Building a poker bankroll requires patience, and tournament players will generally build theirs quicker as they start winning. Nevertheless, there are a few things you should do to kickstart your poker journey.
CHECK WAGERING REQUIREMENTS
For any given poker game, there will be wagering requirements that need to be fulfilled, and the play-through requirements may be quite strict. Therefore, if you wish to withdraw winnings quickly, you should stick to games that have lower wagering requirements.
DEPOSIT AN AMOUNT YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH
As mentioned previously, don’t fritter away more money than necessary. Make sure you know what the pot limit is before proceeding with any limit hold’em games, and set an amount that you feel comfortable losing when depositing into your online account.
KNOW WHEN TO WALK AWAY
Once you have spent the designated percentage of your bankroll, then make sure you know when to walk away. Getting frustrated can see players destroy their bankroll within minutes, so once the fun stops, stop!
HOW TO BUILD A POKER BANKROLL FASTER
Building a poker bankroll is one thing, but building it quickly is another thing. Perhaps the major difference between doing so at a land-based casino as opposed to a digital establishment, is the types of welcome bonuses that are available.
At online sites, welcome bonuses are commonly advertised to new and existing players, and these come in all shapes and guides from no deposit bonuses to free bets. This is perhaps the most prevalent way to build your bankroll quickly.
The two main types of bankrolls which are recommended are cash games and tournaments, and we have illustrated these and the no limit figures:
A general good rule of thumb is for cash players to have a bankroll of at least 20 buy-ins. However, some may prefer to have more buy-ins ( as many as 50). While it might be tempting to enjoy buy-ins for the minimum amount, you should opt for the maximum wherever possible unless that feels too steep.
|Game||Blind||Standard Buy-in||Recommended Bankroll|
For tournaments, ideally, you are better off sticking to two percent of any buy ins. Therefore, if you have $1000 in your account, you should look for tournaments with buy ins of $20 or less.
Also, make sure that the tournament you wish to play includes any rebuys or add-ons, as you may end up spending more than the initial buy-in, and you don’t want to be out of pocket.
|Standard Tournament Buy-In||Recommended Bankroll|
EXAMPLES OF BANKROLL BUILDING
To help you appreciate bankroll building and how it is done, we have supplied a couple of examples to illustrate the process for you:
MID STAKES TOURNAMENTS
One player may decide that after a few shots at the higher stakes level, they wish to drop down a level when they play live. Previously, they may have maintained a bankroll of 300 times the average buy in, but instead, they decided to lower their requirement to 250 buy-ins.
They may decide to put their spare buy-ins towards some carefully thought out shots. But if these don’t work out, then the player should be prepared to drop down a little lower to rebuild their bankroll.
SUPER TURBO TOURNAMENTS
Super turbo tournaments will fall into the fairly high variance category, so a lower ROI is unexpected. Therefore, the average buy in may be 400 for a particular game. Here, a player may opt for a more cautious approach, but over time, their stakes may increase rapidly.
By having a conservative bankroll, you can afford to take some shots elsewhere, and over time, players can dedicate or allocate a share of their bankroll to a new game to minimise the risk levels.
While it might not be the most glamorous part of the game, finding the right poker bankroll is crucial. Proper bankroll management should never be underestimated, and it is part and parcel of being a better poker player.
We hope that the bankroll management tips we have outlined in this guide have proved to be useful. Although what we have suggested on this page is far from an exhaustive list, if you can put into practice what you have learned in this guide, then you will reap the rewards in the long term.