Bankroll Management 101
posted in Poker Psychology, Poker Strategy on 20 October 2009 by

Bankroll Management Calculator

Current Bankroll: Show Clear

Cash

100 BUY-INS

Conservative

40 BUY-INS

Recommended

20 BUY-INS

Risky

 

MTT

100 BUY-INS

Conservative

75 BUY-INS

Recommended

40 BUY-INS

Risky

 

SnG

75 BUY-INS

Conservative

50 BUY-INS

Recommended

25 BUY-INS

Risky


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Bankroll management seems to be an issue a lot of people struggle with and want to know more about. The thing is, it’s easy to learn the rules of bankroll management, but it’s hard to have the discipline to stay within the rules. So I’m going to lay out my simple rules for bankroll management for micro-stakes players, and I promise if you follow these rules you should never have to deposit money again! The rules are different for those who like cash games and those who play tournaments. Both sets of rules are easy to follow and are not too strict or conservative.

Some will even say they are not conservative enough! Also, as you move up in stakes you will likely find a level of play where you really struggle or where the play just gets much better. At those points I would highly recommend tightening your bankroll requirements even further to give yourself a little breathing room.

For cash game players, the recommended you should have in your bankroll is 40 buy-ins for the level you want to play.

If you get to 25-30 buy-ins or less, you need to move back down to the previous level until you get back over 40 buy-ins. One buy-in is considered 100 big blinds. For instance, at .01/.02, a buy-in is $2 (100 x .02 = $2) and that is why .01/.02 is called $2NL.

So, for a specific example, let’s say you deposit $50 and plan to use good bankroll management, moving up and moving down as needed. You must then start out playing $2NL until you can work your way up to $100. When you get to $100 you can then start playing $5NL. If things aren’t going well at $5NL and your bankroll gets back down to $75 (15 buy-ins), then you must drop back down to $2NL and grind your way back up. Moving back down is one of the hardest things to do, but for proper bankroll management it’s probably the most important thing. Just remember that even the best players need to move down occasionally and the only people that never move down are the ones that eventually go broke.

For Sit n Go players, the recommended you should have in your bankroll is 50 buy-ins for the level you want to play.

A lot of people start their poker careers playing Sit & Go tournaments (SNG). Most people have seen poker tournaments on television so that is where they start. I also think there is a misconception that SNGs are an easy way to grind up a bankroll. In fact, tournaments in general have more variance then cash games. Not that SNGs aren’t a good option for the micro player, but with the variance in mind, you should have a larger bankroll to absorb the swings. I think a minimum of 40 buy-ins is sufficient, so if you start with $50 again, you should be playing $1 buy-in SNGs until you get up to at least $80, then move up to the $2 tournies. Again, be sure to move back down if you are having trouble, but definitely if you get down to 30 buy-ins.

For Multi-Table Tournament players, the recommended you should have in your bankroll is 75 buy-ins for the level you want to play.

Multi Table Tournaments (MTTs) are going to be the hardest games to grind a bankroll with for a couple of reasons. First, the variance can be brutal, often going a very long time between big cashes. Second, there just aren’t that many MTTs at the micro level, so trying to grind up with a small bankroll can seem impossible. However, there are options. There are often satellite tournaments that the micro player can enter with very low buy-ins. These will pay out tournament tickets instead of cash, but the tickets can be just as good as a big cash score. One word of caution if you choose to play satellites though. You will sometimes be tempted to use your ticket to play in the big tournament. Proper bankroll management says no! Take the tournament money and use it to play more games within your bankroll.

Another tournament topic to touch on is re-buy tournaments. Keep in mind that you should price in a minimum of 1 re-buy and 1 add-on so the actual buy-in should be multiplied by 3. For instance, to play the $3 re-buy on stars you should have a minimum $900 bankroll ($3 x 3 x 100 = $900). In reality you will often use more than 3x your buy-in so, again, this is a minimum.

Proper bankroll management doesn’t have to be difficult or constrict your growth as a poker player. In fact, it will surely only help your game as you grind from one level to the next. All of these guidelines should be seen as minimums really, although I think they’re adequate for most micro-stakes players. However, once you start getting to more aggressive games and you begin to lose your edge, you should really become more conservative with your bankroll management. Although, by the time you get to those games, bankroll management will probably seem like second nature and you will likely naturally get tighter with your roll.

Three final things to keep in mind: don’t act on the temptation to move up too soon, don’t worry about what level other people are playing, and remember there’s no shame in moving down.

a500lbgorilla discusses questions new players have with bankroll management. Click Here to add your thoughts to the topic!

Well, we had some new visitors in the chat room today and they all had a few questions about bankroll managment. So I lined ‘em up and knocked ‘em down. Soupie asked me to post about bankroll managment so here it is! Now my numbers may be a bit on the high-ish side, but I always like to play it safe when we’re talking about poker.

Alot of new players make the mistake of depositing 50 bucks on Party Poker and taking their shot at greatness. This is one of the most fundemental mistakes for new players and I will explain why.

To understand why Bankroll Managment is so important, you have to understand how you should approach the game of poker.

Poker is a long term game, it is not AA v KK getting cracked on the river. It is a game of thousands of iterations of these hands. Throughout the carreer of a poker player, you will see aces more than your fare share and though you will lose with them from time to time, you will win a lot more. Everytime you play aces properly, it is a positive investment even though you may lose money on any given occurence. It’s not a game of, “Mah gaht dahm aces got cracked a-gaht-damn-gain! Gah!”

Poker is a horrible short term game, you can be ontop of the world one day and drowning in the depths of the river valley the next. It’s a game of swings. You WILL lose at some point, it’s a statistical certainty. It is the undefinable “luck” that people are so quick to blame. So you need to make sure you have enough money in your online bank so that the loses don’t phase you. You need a fat enough roll to never go bust becuase of a bad streak and to help prevent tilt. For me (I play 100-200NL cash games on Empire) 100 bucks just isn’t what it used to be from a poker perspective. Some days, I start out real slow and lose 2 buyins, but I don’t tilt becuase the money and results don’t get in the way towards playing great poker. My bankroll is too solid to be phased by a bad week, therefore my play is not phased by a bad week.

You can find the accurate numbers for a proper bankroll all over this great forum of ours. But I like 15-30 buyins for No Limit (Maybe even more for 6max), 300BB for limit and 15+ buyins for tournies (More for MTTs). If you play a little from column A (limit) and a little from columb B (Tournies or NL) a good rule of thumb for your bankroll size is never risk more than 5-10% of it on any given day.

The numbers might be a little off here or there but the idea is: If you’re never risking much of your bankroll from day to day, you allow yourself to play your game risk-free. Losing money won’t drive you to suicide *cough* And your back should never be against the wall.

Poker is a game of positive longterm investments, you want to make sure that you have enough money to stick around and reap the rewards of these investments.

-’rilla

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