How to Play Poker
Download Poker
Poker Resources
Poker Hands
Top Articles
Download the Pocket52 App  and start your poker journey today

🔥 Get full buy-in value on all  your deposits

Updated: April 15, 2024
A Guide to Poker Bankroll Management - Tips & Tricks

Poker Bankroll Management

If you’re serious about poker, you can’t overlook managing your bankroll. Having a bankroll means you can handle losing streaks without running out of money. How many losses in a row count as a losing streak? Five losses in a row might worry most players, but professional poker players understand that luck can be unpredictable and streaks can last even longer. That’s why poker bankroll management is crucial. It’s all about smartly handling your money dedicated to playing poker.

By setting limits, selecting the right stakes, and following strict poker rules, you can confidently navigate the ups and downs of the game. This article will guide you through poker cash game bankroll management fundamentals and also the strategies you need to succeed in playing poker for real money which includes things other than knowing poker rules and poker hands.

What is Poker Bankroll Management?

Have you ever wondered what a poker bankroll is and how to manage it? A poker bankroll refers to the money you set aside for playing poker. It’s a poker fund that you can use whenever you want to play. But, here you need to understand that poker involves ups and down along the way. So, you should be smart enough to manage your bankroll. With a smart money managing strategy, ensuring you don’t risk more than you can afford to lose.

For effective bankroll management, you should determine the right stakes as per your skill level. There’s no need to play with too high stakes that make you bankrupt. Moreover, if the stakes are too low, it will limit your potential winnings. Having strategies is also crucial for dealing with the unpredictable nature of the game. 

In addition, variance or luck is also a part of poker. It may cause swings in your bankroll. That’s why limiting how much you’re willing to lose in single sessions is necessary. And avoid chasing losses when emotions run high.

Remember, offline or online poker bankroll management is not just about protecting your funds. It’s also about making intelligent decisions based on your skill level and bankroll size. Following these principles, you can avoid excessive swings and maintain emotional control. It also focuses on long-term profitability rather than short-term gains.

So, a solid bankroll management strategy is key to your success, whether playing in a card room or on an online poker site. It ensures you have the necessary funds to weather the ups and downs of the game while maximising your chances of winning.

Why is Poker Bankroll Management So Important?

Let’s talk about variance first. In poker, variance is like the ups and downs you experience in the game. It’s what makes poker a mix of skill and chance. You can’t eliminate variance but you can lessen its impact by managing your money wisely.

You’re at a big disadvantage if your bankroll (the money you set aside for poker) is too small. You won’t be able to handle the ups and downs of playing poker. On the other hand, if your bankroll is too big for the stakes you’re playing, you’re not taking full advantage of your money. Managing your bankroll effectively ensures it’s the right size for the games you play.

Variance is just a natural part of poker. It will always affect how much money you can win or lose. But by practising good bankroll management poker, you can minimise the impact of variance on your finances. Instead of your bankroll working against you, it will work for you.

Proper poker bankroll management is crucial to succeed in the long run. It involves smartly allocating and protecting your money to handle the swings and uncertainties of the game. It’s important for a few reasons.

Firstly, poker involves skill and chance, so even the best players can experience short-term losses. Managing your bankroll reduces the risk of going broke during those tough times. It ensures you have enough money to keep playing.

Secondly, managing your bankroll helps you choose the right stakes. It helps you avoid risking too much money and making poor decisions. Playing within your bankroll’s limits means you will stay within your finances. It also lets you make better decisions without the pressure of risking too much.

Lastly, bankroll management builds discipline and helps you avoid making emotional decisions. Having a set bankroll and sticking to it means you’re less likely to chase losses or make impulsive bets that can hurt your poker journey.

Poker Bankroll Management Strategy: The Basics

Your poker bankroll should determine the stakes you play. It’s important to grasp this concept and put it into practice effectively. There are some basic strategies related to poker bankroll management:

Start with a Solid Foundation

  • Understand that the money in your poker bankroll should determine your playing stakes.
  • Set aside an amount of money you can afford to lose without affecting your daily life as your poker bankroll.

Stick to the Rules

  • Only risk money you can afford to lose.
  • Play at stakes that match your skill level.
  • Be disciplined and patient when growing your bankroll.

Stay Disciplined

  • Even during winning streaks, follow your bankroll management strategy.
  • Avoid moving up in stakes too quickly without a sufficient bankroll.
  • Manage your emotions and avoid playing recklessly when things aren’t going well (tilt).

Emotions Under Control

  • Stay level-headed and avoid playing on tilt, as emotions can impact decision-making.
  • Reckless and costly decisions can result from emotional play.

Evaluate and Adjust

  • Regularly review your bankroll management strategy.
  • Adjust your stakes based on significant changes in your bankroll.

Invest in Your Skills

  • Study the game, learn from experienced players, and seek educational resources.
  • Books, videos, and training sites can help improve your poker skills.

Withdraw Wisely

  • Reinvest a portion of your winnings back into your bankroll to ensure its growth and sustainability.
  • Set a budget for your poker bankroll that won’t negatively impact your daily finances.

Determine Your Limits

  • Decide the maximum percentage of your bankroll you’re willing to risk in a single poker session or tournament.
  • Play games or tournaments within your predetermined limits to avoid going broke quickly.

Choose the Right Games

  • Select games or tables where you can win reasonably, considering your skill level and bankroll size.

Don’t Chase Losses

  • Avoid playing higher stakes immediately after a losing session to recoup losses.
  • Stick to your bankroll management plan and maintain discipline.

Monitor and Learn

  • Regularly review your bankroll and assess your performance.
  • Adjust your stakes based on your results, and consider moving up or down accordingly.

Always Remember: Your POKER Bankroll is For POKER Only!

It is crucial to follow the golden rule—”poker bankroll is meant solely for playing poker.” Keep your poker money separate from your regular expenses whether you’re playing no-limit Texas Hold’em or any other poker game. It minimises risks and ensures you can manage any potential losses. 

You can practise self-control and resist the temptation to dip into your poker funds. This exercise allows you to maintain financial stability. Let’s say Shyam has a poker bankroll of ₹20,000. If he used ₹15,000 from that amount to pay a bill. In that case, he has only ₹5,000 poker bankroll. Notably, not to use a single penny from your poker bankroll for your personal expenses. You should make a clear segregation between your poker funds and other financial obligations. It ensures you don’t risk your personal expenses while following your passion for poker.

Maintaining a poker bankroll also helps you to keep mentally and emotionally prepared for the ups and downs of poker. A dedicated bankroll, helping you to handle the inevitable swings and challenges without affecting you too much. Thus, implementing proper bankroll management strategies is crucial. Bankroll acts as a buffer zone, helping you stay focused and reduces the emotional impact of winning. Don’t use your poker funds for non-poker purposes. Use it with discipline and manage it wisely for long run success. 

Furthermore, maintaining a separate bankroll allows you to evaluate your poker performance effectively. You can accurately analyse your wins and losses. Also, identify patterns and make the necessary adjustments to improve your skills. This level of clarity is essential for your growth as a player.

Bankroll Management Keeps You in Profitable Games

Bankroll management is the key to staying profitable in your games. It’s not just about depositing money and playing poker randomly. Your bankroll size determines the games you can afford to play. While everyone dreams of moving up to higher stakes, it’s important to be realistic and prepared to move down when needed. It means adjusting your average buy-in and being honest with yourself. 

Using your bankroll as a guide, you can ensure that you stay in games where you’re making money. If you hit a losing streak, bankroll management will signal you to lower your stakes. On the other hand, if you start winning, you can gradually build your bankroll back up and move to higher limits. 

Managing Your Poker Bankroll Prevents You From Going Broke

Managing your poker bankroll is essential to avoid going broke, whether you’re a casual player or a pro. It’s like having a safety net for when you face losses, which happens to even the best players. 

For example, Ajay joined an online cash game table with ₹500 as his poker bankroll. If he loses that money, he’s out of the game. 

But, if he has multiple ₹500 buy-ins, he continues to play. He will try to win back his money, improving his winning rate. 

Here bankroll management comes into picture. With a proper cash game bankroll management, you won’t risk going broke. You have the choice to move to lower stakes if you lose a certain amount. Importantly, it’s convenient to play at the smallest stakes instead of not playing at all. Approaching with a dedicated poker bankroll, you can set limits and avoid impulsive decisions. It will help you to protect yourself from financial losses and enhance your chances of long-term success at poker.

How Do I Start a Poker Bankroll?

First, determine how much money you want to spend on online poker. Notably, it should be separate from your daily expenses. Now, search for an online poker site that offers tournaments with low buy-ins. These can be sit-and-go or multi-table tournaments, great options to kickstart poker bankroll.

But what if you don’t have money to start your game. In that case, you can still build a bankroll without spending a penny. You can simply sign up for an online poker site. There are many sides that offer freeroll tournaments where you can play for free and win money. With those winnings, you can start your bankroll from scratch. When you sharpen your skills or have some experience, you can double your investment.

It is crucial to note, while building your poker bankroll, don’t rush into purchasing a bunch of buy-ins. Instead, prioritise playing the best poker game, staying in the stake you’re comfortable with. You can gradually raise your bankroll by playing at micro stakes, later taking shots at higher stakes occasionally.

Moreover, you can seep up the bankroll-building process by sign-up offers and bonuses offered by online sites. It helps your money to grow faster and maximise your online earning. You can also participate in a freeroll tournament to get some extra cash.

Poker Bankroll Calculator

A bankroll calculator in poker is a valuable tool that helps players manage their funds effectively. It enables players to determine the appropriate buy-ins and betting limits based on their bankroll size, reducing the risk of breaking.

The calculator considers several factors, such as win rate, variance, and desired level of risk. By inputting these variables, players can determine the ideal stakes for their games, ensuring they have enough money to withstand inevitable downswings and fluctuations.

The poker bankroll calculator promotes responsible bankroll management, preventing players from playing at stakes that are too high for their financial situation. It helps them set realistic goals and avoid unnecessary financial stress.

Furthermore, the calculator can be used to track progress over time. By monitoring their bankroll’s growth or decline, players can assess their profitability and make necessary adjustments to their poker strategy.


1. How much bankroll should I have for poker?

For poker, there is a thumb rule; you should have more than 5% of your poker bankroll in play at any one time. It equates to a 2-buy-in minimum for cash games. It means a 20 buy-in minimum for single-table cash games. In contrast, more for multi-tabling. Although you can opt for a large bankroll, it is ok. 

2. How should I allocate my bankroll for different games?

Some people make the mistake of thinking that their bankroll is the money in their online poker account. But this is not the case. If you have other income sources besides poker, allocate only 10% of that income to different games. This 10% amount should be separate from your daily expenses. 

3. Should I move up in stakes if I have a winning streak?

Moving up in stakes after a winning streak can be tempting. But it’s crucial to consider your overall skill level and bankroll. Ensure you’re prepared for the increased competition and potential risks. It would help if you considered the following factors before thinking about moving up in stakes:

  • Am I winning? 
  • What’s my ROI?
  • Am I ready to move up? 

4. How often should I reassess my bankroll management strategy?

It’s recommended to reassess your bankroll management strategy periodically. Like 3 to 6 months or whenever significant changes occur in your financial situation. Regular evaluation ensures that your strategy aligns with your goals. It helps you maintain responsible and sustainable bankroll management.

Share it with friends