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A Guide to Poker Bankroll Management – Tips & Tricks

One of the Fundamental Differences Between a Winning Poker Player & a Loser is Good Bankroll Management. It Can Make or Break You – So Take it Seriously!

Bankroll management is almost as important as learning the rules of poker or poker hand rankings when starting out. If you want to be a winner, it’s not something you should take lightly, and understanding the most important principles of bankroll management will help you reach success in any poker game.

Bankroll management is the budgeting of the money that you allocate while playing poker. If you’re serious about playing poker then you need to be equally serious about your bankroll and how you manage it. The reason to have a bankroll is so you can weather losing streaks and not completely deplete your funds. The longer you play poker the more you will see that double-digit losing streak – which is exactly why you need a poker bankroll.

If you are an ambitious but inexperienced player who is playing to learn, then you need to realize that you will lose money both in case of wrong play and a downswing. You need to play with money that you can afford to lose in order to avoid going on tilt. Your entire bankroll should be the amount that you can afford to lose without affecting your day-to-day life.

Often the question arises – How much do you need for your poker bankroll? There are general sayings like, do not buy in for more than 2%-5% of your bankroll or quit a game anytime you lose more than 10% of your bankroll. Some people make the mistake of thinking that their bankroll is simply the money in their online poker account, but this is not the case. If you have any other source of income other than playing poker then allocate only 10% of that income to poker-related activities. This 10% amount should be non-essential for your living requirements and should be considered as an investment amount of high risk.

Anyone can build a bankroll if they learn to play correctly at each level and keep within their limits. If you’re starting out, then the main way to build a bankroll is slowly, through experience, not blowing through the levels and the money. If you’re financially independent and have the money to keep reloading then you don’t really need a poker bankroll. But if your funds are limited, then exercise discipline and follow a few of these points to keep your Bankroll moving hassle-free.

Separate Account For Poker

Make sure to have a separate bank account for your 10% amount. All your poker-related transactions should go through this bank account only. If you are winning or not winning in poker that doesn’t matter in keeping aside 10% on monthly basis in this account so that you have enough bankroll every month to handle the variance of the game

Never Play with Limited Bankroll

Never play with that money that you can’t afford to lose. Basically only use the money in poker that you have kept aside, otherwise don’t play. Choose your games/buy-in according to your bankroll.

For poker cash games, if you have X amount, then you should play stakes whose maximum buy-in is Y, where Y = X/20, so you should have at least 20 times the maximum buy-in of the table you are sitting on.

For poker tournaments, you should only play tournaments of Z amount, where Z = X/50.

How Much to Risk?

A good rule of thumb for cash players is to have at least 20 buy-ins (some players prefer as many as 40-50). That means if you are going to play .05/.10NL and the minimum buy-in for the table is ₹4, then you would ideally have at least ₹80 in your account. If you’re the kind of player who wants to buy in for the maximum, say ₹10, then you would want to have ₹200 in your account.

For multi-table tournaments, try to restrict yourself to 10% of your bankroll for any one buy-in. If you have ₹500 in your account, look for tournaments with a buy-in of ₹50 or less. The same principle can be used for sit-n-goes. You need to make sure your buy-in total includes rebuys or add-ons.

Set a Target

Set a target in terms of stacks won during a cash game and get up as you achieve that so that you keep putting your winning amount in your wallet or bank account. Only move up the stakes when you net winning on your current stakes is 20 times the buy-in of the next stake. Keep withdrawing from your bank account so that you don’t get lured into big games or big buy-in tournaments.

Avoid Losing Your Bankroll

You will occasionally lose – as already mentioned, that’s simply part of the game. But there are a few things to remember if you want to limit your losses as much as possible.

Watch out for late registration. Avoid tournaments with long registration windows (anything more than one hour). Some sites offer late registration for as long as five hours on some of their bigger tournaments, which means you’re going to have to play at least six or seven hours just to get a min-cash. If you’re a relatively inexperienced player, chances are your game is not to the level needed to be able to last as long as seven hours in a large multi-table tournament.

Register at the beginning of the tournament so you get the maximum value for your buy-in. A tournament with an initial starting stack of 3,000 and an initial big blind of 20 gives you 150 big blinds to start with.

A sufficient poker bankroll is necessary to act as a cushion against variance. A bankroll is the one aspect of this crazy game of poker that we can control – which is why bankroll management is one of the most important poker skills. Don’t risk too much money at one time by moving up too fast in levels. Let your poker bankroll dictate what limit you’ll be playing.

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