The Importance Of Good Poker Bankroll Management


Posted: May 24, 2024

Updated: May 24, 2024

It doesn't matter whether you're an absolute beginner or a veteran poker player, everything you do at the poker table, and every decision you make, has to be done so whilst keeping in mind the state of your bankroll. We would suggest that good poker bankroll management ranks about any playing strategies or systems. Without a basic understanding of how to manage your monery, it will all be gone in a matter of minutes.

Smart poker bankroll management means it’s your bankroll size that dictates the games you play. This concept is simple. But applying it can be tricky. Let’s explore ways to approach and manage your bankroll. This includes strategies for game selection, moving up in stakes, and taking tasty profits.

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What is Poker Bankroll Management?

In poker, bankroll management is all about keeping your bets under control. You’ll need to accept that luck plays a big role (volatility). To this end, we suggest that you set aside enough money to weather the ups and downs of this high-risk game. This means maintaining discipline! Don’t just try to avoid losing everything. But also make sure you only play at stakes that match your current skill level.

The Importance Of Good Poker Bankroll Management 

Poker is a thrilling mix of skill and chance, and that chance element is what we call “volatility.” It’s the reason why even the best hands sometimes lose, and lucky flops can turn the tide for an underdog. This built-in uncertainty is what makes poker so exciting. On the other hand, it also means your results can swing wildly. The key to navigating these ups and downs is with proper bankroll management. By ensuring your bankroll is large enough relative to the stakes you’re playing, you can weather the storms of variance. By doing so, you can focus on making skilled decisions. Think of it as building a financial buffer that allows you to stay in the game even when luck isn’t on your side.

Basic Rules Of Poker Bankroll Management

Poker success hinges on three key poker bankroll management principles that every player, from newbie to pro, should follow:

Only Play with Money You Can Afford to Lose

This might seem obvious, but it’s crucial. Poker involves variance, meaning luck can play a big role.

poker bankroll management
Picture Source: Flickr

Ensure your bankroll is dedicated solely to poker. Make sure it can withstand inevitable downswings or losing streaks without impacting your financial well-being.

Match Your Skills To The Stakes 

Don’t be tempted to jump into high-stakes games before you’re ready. Carefully assess your skill level. Then choose stakes where you have a clear edge over your opponents. Playing beyond your means is a recipe for disaster.

Learn To Be Patient 

Building a substantial bankroll takes time and discipline. Don’t get discouraged by slow progress or try to recoup losses by chasing bigger wins. Stick to your best poker strategy, focus on improvement, and watch your bankroll grow steadily.

Bankroll Management Keeps You Profitable

Don’t just dump money into your online poker account at Bet365 Poker and hope for the best! Bankroll management is about using your bankroll size to strategically choose the games you play. Of course, everyone dreams of climbing the stakes ladder. But what about when you hit a rough patch? Here’s where the real discipline comes in. By honestly assessing your situation, you might need to “move down” to lower buy-in games. This temporary step back ensures you stay in profitable territory. It also protects your bankroll. Think of it as a two-way street. Bankroll management might require dropping down in stakes during losing streaks. But on a positive note it also paves the way for returning to your previous level. Or even climbing higher, once you start winning again.

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Starting A Poker Bankroll

Forget the get-rich-quick schemes! Good poker bankroll management means building a sustainable poker bankroll is a marathon, not a sprint. As such, you should focus on steady improvement, not breakneck speed. After all, your goal is to become a consistently profitable player at your current stakes. Sharpen your skills using top poker strategy resources like books. While grinding micro-stakes might seem slow, with each hand you play, you’re actually building a solid foundation. Think of it as stacking bricks – even the small ones – to create a strong and stable base for your future poker success. Remember, as they say, “slow and steady wins the race”, especially when it comes to bankroll management.

Growing My Poker Bankroll Faster

We all dream of skyrocketing our bankroll overnight. But the reality is, building a solid foundation takes time. Take Chris Ferguson‘s $0 to $10,000 challenge, for example. According to online poker news in the US, while his hourly rate grinding freerolls might have been a measly $0.14, the key was consistent growth. Every small win added another brick to his bankroll wall. Fortunately, there are ways to accelerate this process without compromising your game. Consider taking advantage of online poker site welcome bonuses and special promotions. If you head over to Bet365 Poker, you’ll find some of the best bonus offers for poker players at online poker sites in the US. Remember that every bit you snag – from bonus cash to free tournament tickets – adds valuable fuel to your bankroll engine.

Sizing Up Your Poker Stack

The size of your poker bankroll is like your armour in battle. It needs to be strong enough to withstand the blows you’ll inevitably face. But how much is “enough”? Here’s a breakdown of the key factors that determine your ideal bankroll size:

poker bankroll management
Picture Source: Flickr
  • Game Format – The game you choose plays a big role. No-Limit Texas Hold’em (NLHE) cash games with short-handed tables (6-max) tend to be less volatile than Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) cash games. This means you can get away with a smaller bankroll for NLHE. Beware that Multi-table tournaments (MTTs) are even more unpredictable, requiring the largest bankroll of the bunch.
  • Playing Style – Are you an aggressive player who sees a lot of flops? Or do you play a tighter style? Generally, aggressive play leads to higher variance. This means you’ll need a bigger bankroll to weather the ups and downs.
  • Risk Tolerance – How comfortable are you with losing streaks? If you panic easily, consider playing with a larger bankroll to provide a buffer.

By understanding these factors, you can both build a bankroll and sustain it with good poker bankroll management. This allows you to play comfortably and focus on honing your skills for long-term success.

Poker Bankroll Calculator

First off, some explanations of terms:

  • Decoding Buy-Ins – Tournaments: The number of buy-ins refers to the number of tournament entries you can afford with your bankroll. For example, if you play $5 MTTs, a minimum of 100 buy-ins means having $500 in your bankroll.
  • Cash Games – The number refers to the number of times you can buy into a specific game. For instance, if you play $0.10/$0.25 NLHE with a $25 maximum buy-in, 100 buy-ins translates to a $2,500 bankroll.

                Game (Online)                                            Minimum       Medium     Cautious

  • No-Limit Hold’em (6-max.), cash game                   30 buy-ins     50 buy-ins     100 buy-ins
  • No-Limit Hold’em (full ring), cash game                 25                     40                     75
  • Pot-Limit Omaha (6-max.), cash game                    50                   100                   150
  • Pot-Limit Omaha (full ring), cash game                  30                     50                   100
  • No-Limit Hold’em, 9-player sit-n-gos                      30                     50                   100
  • No-Limit Hold’em, 45-player sit-n-gos                    50                   100                   150
  • No-Limit Hold’em, 180-player sit-n-gos               100                   200                   500
  • No-Limit Hold’em, multi-table tournaments       100                   200                   500
poker bankroll management
Picture Source:Wikimedia Commons

The numbers in the above table might seem daunting. But keep in mind they’re starting points for poker bankroll management, not hard rules. Feel free to adjust them based on your comfort level. Here’s the reality: variance hits everyone, even the best. That’s why a proper bankroll management strategy is crucial, no matter your skill level or preferred stakes. Remember, even the pros experience wild fluctuations! With a bankroll sized for your personal risk tolerance, you can really focus on what truly matters. In short, that’s improving your game and building long-term success.

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Big Bankroll vs. Small Bankroll – Finding The Sweet Spot

There are two main schools of thought on poker bankroll management. The first is playing with a larger bankroll. The other is playing with a smaller bankroll. The ideal choice for you depends on your risk tolerance and personal preferences.

Advantages Of A Larger Bankroll

  • Play the games you love: A bigger bankroll allows you the flexibility to play your favourite games, even if they have higher buy-ins. 
  • Security blanket: With a larger bankroll, you can weather the inevitable downswings without having to drop down in stakes. 
  • Reduced risk of ruin: A larger bankroll gives you more breathing room and reduces the risk of hitting tilt and going broke altogether. 

Advantages Of A Smaller Bankroll

  • Faster potential growth: If you’re comfortable with some risk, playing with a smaller bankroll can help you move up in stakes more quickly. 
  • More flexibility (for some). Some players don’t mind bouncing around between different stakes. If you’re one of them, a smaller bankroll might give you the freedom to play wherever the games are good.

The Bottom Line – Good Poker Bankroll Management

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to bankroll size. We tend to think the best approach is the one that makes you feel most comfortable and allows you to focus on playing your best poker. Try to maintain poker bankroll management. More than any gameplay, bluffs, poker faces or even luck, it’s the one thing that will help sustain your bankroll through the ups and downs of this exciting game.

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