Bankroll Management was mentioned as a basic poker skill set, but since, for many it is one of the top reasons for playing poker in the first place, it is important to have a separate section specifically about it.
First, what is a bankroll and why do I need to manage it?
A bankroll is the amount of money you set aside for playing poker. You do not have to cash in your entire bankroll when you sit down at a poker table, but it has to be available for you to use if you are having a bad session.
Bankroll management is crucial for meeting your poker goals – either winning money or being able to play another hand. If you do not manage your bankroll, you may find yourself playing too high of limits and losing your whole bankroll in a short amount of time.
Next, how much should you invest in your poker bankroll?
For anyone, the answer to this question is: only invest as much as you’re willing to lose.
If you are worried about losing money, then playing serious poker, is not the right game for you. Being scared of losing will cause you to make bad decisions or only wait for the very best hands. In the end, you will slowly whittle away your entire investment.
As a beginner, you may want to start with a bankroll of only $100 or so. This number may depend on the stakes of the poker tables you will want to play. Choose poker games with low or micro stakes games to start off and gain some experience. As you grow your bankroll, you can slowly move up to higher stake games.
If you are playing a limit poker game, the standard rule of thumb is 300 times the big blind. So for example, if you are playing a 2/4 game, the rule says you should bring in $1200 to cover any swings your chip stack may experience during your poker sessions. If playing no limit games, it is standard to have about 20 buy ins in your bankroll. If you are a tournament player, the standard is about 35 entry fees for a sit-and-go tournament and 70 entry fees for a multi-table tournament. In addition, if you are playing a different type of poker game such as Stud or Triple Draw, you would probably want a larger bankroll than for a typical Texas Hold Em game.
Discipline yourself to start slow to get a feel for the game and the differences between playing poker for play money and playing for real money. Once you feel comfortable playing and are winning, you still need to control your bankroll. You can use the standard rules, or even set floors and ceilings for your bankroll. For example, you may want to say that if you build your bankroll up to $1000, then you will move up to the next limit, but if it drops to $300, you will drop down to a lower limit to start building up your bankroll again. This will help protect your bankroll even if you have a long losing streak to allow you to once again increase your bankroll.
Bankroll management is also affected by the type of poker player you are. You need to know yourself and your style of play to know if you need a smaller or larger bankroll to play effective poker. If you are an aggressive poker player, you may need a more money in your bankroll to deal with the variance of your wins and losses while a tighter player would need less. If you keep track of the results of your poker sessions, you can efficiently manage your bankroll as it grows.