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Poker Bankroll Management

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Article Summary: Bankroll management is where a large majority of poker players fail. Building a bankroll for Internet poker can be extremely challenging but there is proven strategic approaches to bankroll management.

Bankroll management is a term that is on the mind of every successful Internet poker player. The reality that most players have no idea what exactly bankroll management even means is alarming but sadly true. Bankroll management is a term used to explain the strategic concept of managing a bankroll to play within the bankroll and cover the inevitable poker variance. Variance is the ups and downs of poker that every single player, including professionals, endures. Even the best player in the world takes those bad beats where their opponent catches a miracle and outdraws them. Proper bankroll management ensures that the worst bad beat of all time does not deplete their bankroll. This keeps the player on the table with more opportunities to be profitable in the future.

Cash Game Tables

Cash tables are where Internet poker players get their bankroll way out of whack a lot of times. For instance, if I was to tell a player that they need $4,000 to technically be able to comfortably play $1/$2 no-limit Texas Holdem, there’s a high chance they would think I was crazy. This is because most Internet poker players don’t understand proper bankroll management. Limit games require that a player have at least 300 big blinds in their bankroll for the stakes they are playing. A $1/$2 limit game player should have at least $600 in their bankroll. Most Internet poker players are not even playing with $600 in their bankroll for $1/$2 no-limit.

No-limit bankroll management requires that player have at least 20 times the buy-in (max buy-in). For instance, a $1/$2 no-limit Texas Holdem game has a max buy-in of $200. The player should have $4,000 (20 x $200) to be comfortably playing $1/$2 no-limit. If a player gets around 200 big blinds in limit, they should be stepping down a stake level to be back to the 300 mark. No-limit players should be moving down a level when they have 15 or less max buy-ins remaining.

Tournaments & Sit n Go’s

Bankroll management for sit n go’s and tournaments is a little simpler in that there is not as much at risk on average in comparison to no-limit cash tables. Bankroll management strategy suggests that players should have at least 40 buy-ins for the level they wish to play. For instance, a player that plays $5 + $.50 sit n go’s, should have $220 ($5.50 x 40). When a player gets to around 30 buy-ins or below, they should consider moving down a level to be back to the suggested 40.

Online poker players will have to exercise bankroll management to be profitable in the long run. When players drop below a certain amount of reserves, they are suggested to lower the stake levels to bring the reserves back to the suggested amount. However, the same is true for when a player builds their bankroll and has enough to cover the suggested amount for the next stake level up. If players move up a stake level and find they cannot currently handle the competition or immediately begin to lose significantly, players should drop right back down to where they were.

Higher stake levels in most cases means more skilled players. However, just because the stakes may be high, don’t assume every player is a professional. There have been donks (horrible players) in games with buy-ins over a grand. The stake level is never concretely indicative of the quality of players, it is just a general notion that the bulk of the playing field improves as the stakes get higher.

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