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Poker Bankroll Management

One of the most important skills that you’re going to learn as a poker player is how to manage your bankroll. Often poker players will need to make several mistakes before they really start to worry about managing their bankroll, but once they start they never look back. We’ve all been in that position where we’ve been on tilt and played in a cash game or a tournament with the rest of our bankroll because we’re trying to chase losses. You never want to chase losses as a gambler and this holds true no matter what you’re gambling on including sports, poker, roulette and anything else.

When you’re playing poker there are ideal levels that your bankroll should be at in order to justify playing a certain level. Your bankroll is going to be reflective of the type of poker game that you play most often. If you’re a cash game player then you’re going to need to manage your bankroll based on playing cash games whereas if you’re a tournament player you’ll need to manage your bankroll completely differently then a cash game player. Below are the ideal levels that your bankroll should be at in order to justify playing at the levels you’re playing at.

  • If you’re playing NL Holdem cash games then you’re going to want to have at least 30-40 buy-ins in your bankroll. If you’re playing a $1/$2 game with a $200 buy-in then you ideally want to have around $5000+ in your bankroll so that you can absorb losing streaks. This is why so many of today’s best young poker players started out several years ago playing micro limit games. It may seem like small potatoes, but if you’re making money at the micro limits its better then losing money at the higher limits because you’re playing above your means.
  • If you’re going to play sit and go tournament or multi-table tournaments then you’re going to need to have roughly about 40-50 tournament buy-ins. This means if you’re playing $10 + $1 sit and go tournaments you should have about $500 in your bankroll. Sit and go tournaments allow the small bankrolled players to have a chance at becoming a full-time poker player if they concentrate. You can make a good amount of money playing the $10 + $1 tournaments and once you build up your bankroll you’ll be able to move up into more expensive tournaments with bigger prize pools.

You’re never going to win every session that you play in poker and often poker is a streaky game. You’ll have some good runs and you’ll have some bad runs, which is why bankroll management is such an important skill to learn. Bankroll management isn’t only about having the right amount of buy-ins to play either. You also need to make sure you manage your bankroll while you’re playing. You should set win/loss marks every single day that you play so that if you win money you don’t give it back and if you lose money you don’t lose your entire bankroll.

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