Poker Bankroll Management
Bankroll Management in Poker
To be a successful in online poker you need to be aware of a really important concept called bankroll management.
Bankroll management is about playing at the appropriate stakes and buy-in level relative to your total bankroll. Poker is about skill but there is also alot of luck and short-term variance in the game. This means that even if you play poker perfectly you can still end up losing your big pots and hands, however by regulating the amount of money you play with in each game (bankroll management) you can stop short-term variance and “luck” negatively affecting your bankroll.
Rules of Bankroll Management:
Cash Games: In Texas Holdem cash games, a general rule if thumb is that you should not sit at a table with more than 5% of your total bankroll. For example if you have a $100 bankroll you shouldn’t take more than $5 to a table. This ensures you don’t risk all your cash in a single table sitting.
When selecting which cash table is right for you you should generally buy-in with a chip stack covering 100 Big Blinds. In total this means if you want to play $1/$2 cash games you need at least $200 at the table and a total bankroll of $4,000 elsewhere. Most online poker sites have a variety of cash tables and range of blinds to choose from so even the tiniest bankrolls will be catered for.
Tournaments: In Poker Tournaments you should have a total bankroll to cover at least 100 buy-ins for a tournament. For example, If the tournament buy-in is $5 you need a total bankroll of at least $200. This figure is higher than cash games because individual tournaments have way more short-term variance than cash games. This doesn’t make them less profitable, indeed I actually beleive there is more money to be made in online tournament than cash games, it just means that you need to play more games to see a stable rate of investment (ROI) in tournaments in comparison to cash games.
SNGs: Sit and Go’s are becoming increasingly popular in online poker, these are similar to tournaments but they are much smaller and are much quicker to finish (your average Sng might have 20 players for example compared to 400+ players in a tournament). For Sngs you should only play games with a buy-in of 1/30 – 1/40th of your total bankroll.
Conclusion on Using Bankroll Management
Bankroll management isn’t a guarantee for success in online poker but it is the first and most important step to becoming a profitable poker player. It takes the common “risks” and reliance on “luck” out of the game and isolates your bankroll from short-term variance.
Importantly bankroll management is also not just some “beginners” concept for poker. It is used by every single winning online poker player I can think of including professionals like Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey who play hands worth literally hundreds of thousands of dollars online.