The history of cash poker has a long list of people who finished in the money and those who got broke trying. For those who’ve gone bust and bankrupt, one of the reasons for their downfall is usually a lack of proper poker bankroll management.
Online poker bankroll is a crucial skill that separates successful players from the rest. When you consider that making and losing money in this game go hand in hand, it becomes clear why managing your finances is so vital.
What is a bankroll in poker?
In simple terms, a bankroll in poker refers to the amount of money that the player designates for the game. If you were to view poker as a business, then a bankroll would be your starting capital. This is the amount of money that you’re willing to risk losing. It’s also the money that you’ll use to grow your bankroll.
Proper Poker Bankroll Management Explained
Setting a poker bankroll is one thing, but managing it is another. Poker bankroll management refers to strategies that govern the way you spend your bankroll. Being an excellent bankroll manager is all about making wise decisions on how much money you should invest every month and in each game.
On the surface, the significant importance of poker BRM is to ensure that you have enough money to stay in the game and withstand common variances. In other words, it prevents you from going broke. Adhering to a strict poker bankroll management strategy is a sure way of ensuring that even if you went broke on your poker bankroll, you would still afford your usual bills at home without a struggle.
As it turns out, your bankroll poker should be separate from your personal finances. So, let’s talk about how to make a bankroll for poker since this is where everything begins.
Starting a Bankroll for Poker
Step 1: Establishing a Budget
The first step when making an online poker bankroll is deciding on the budget. This is the money you set aside from your day to day finances and devote it to poker only.
Most people come to us, asking, “How much money is a good amount for poker bankroll?” The truth is there’s not a single answer to this question. Your bankroll is determined by how much money you have in your personal finances and how much of it you can afford to lose without pressure.
As you can imagine, this will vary between players. Some will laugh off a $1000 loss like it’s nothing. On the other hand, there are some who’ll prefer to take a break after losing, let’s, $200. So, your ideal starting bankroll when beginning to play poker can be anything from $10 to several thousand bucks as long as it’s affordable.
When playing cash games, the general advice is to have at least 20 buy-ins in your bankroll. If you want to play a .05/.10NL game with a buy-in limit range of $5 (min) and $10 (max), then you’d need to have $100-$200 in your online poker account.
If you’re playing multi-table tournaments, it’s usually recommendable to limit each buy-in to 2% of your available bankroll.
Step 2: Setting Up Rules
After setting up a monthly budget for your poker funds, the next step is to establish a set of rules that will guide you on how to utilize your bankroll. These rules should be based on your budget, experience, and goals.
The rules should include setting limits for your daily poker sessions. For instance, you may decide to discontinue a session until the following day after losing 2 consecutive buy-ins.
Importantly, the decision on when to quit applies not only when you’re on a losing streak but when you’re winning too.
Poker is very attractive, especially when you’re on a winning session. While we don’t suggest quitting a table with several recreational players who are clearly on tilt, never confuse a winning streak with excellent gameplay.
A common mistake that most people make is moving up in stakes when on a winning session. Often this is caused by being overconfident, and it’s as bad as chasing losses. If you’re not careful, you risk giving back most, if not all, of your winnings by the time the winning streak comes to its end.
The only way to keep most of your winnings is by leaving while you can. Therefore, it’s also a good poker strategy to set your desired profit. For instance, you may plan to leave or take a break whenever you win 2x-4x your buy-in.
Step 3: Applying the Rules Above
The final stage of a poker bankroll management strategy involves adhering to the rules above. This will be the hardest step, especially if you’re not disciplined when playing cash poker games. To help you out, we have 6 tips that we believe will help with your poker bankroll management strategy.
6 Poker Bankroll Management Tips
1. View Poker as an Investment
One verifiable way of adhering to a strict poker BRM strategy is treating poker as an investment. Similar to running a business, no one ventures into cash poker online with the intention of losing some money. Besides the fun part, we all have our eyes on winning the pot and growing our funds. Now that’s one critical reason why you should treat poker as a business.
When you play poker with this mindset, your bankroll management strategies become your commandments. You’re able to restrict yourself on how much you should invest without straining your personal finances. Secondly, when you learn to adhere strictly to your predetermined limits, you become conscious of every decision that you make on the table.
2. Always Stay Within Your Bankroll Limits
Closely related to the tip above is the need to stay within your preset monthly and session-to-session bankroll limits. This is usually very hard for all poker players regardless of their experience level, and it’s the number one reason why most players bust.
Tournaments with millions of cash to be won can be very tempting. However, no matter how promising the reward is, if your bankroll can’t afford the high buy-in, be wise and stick to the stakes you can afford.
On this note, always avoid the temptation of reloading your monthly bankroll mid-cycle. This is a sign of poor bankroll management and only prepares you for failure.
3. Never Chase Your Losses
There’s always a winner and a loser at the end of each hand in poker. If you happen to be in the latter category, there is that small voice in your mind that tells you to play one more time in a bid to recover your losses. The term for this thinking is the Gambler’s fallacy. This is an erroneous belief that an event is less likely to occur in the future if it has occurred more than usual in the past. Vice versa is true.
Players who are deeply obsessed with this strategy often resort to doubling their buy-ins after every loss in an attempt to make up for their losses. Sure, there are times when you’ll hit a big win that might get you out of the hole.
Unfortunately, there’s also a very high risk of making wrong and hasty decisions that will get you in much more problems than you were in before. Gambler’s fallacy is an endless cycle that involves losing, chasing, and losing more. To avoid doubling your regrets, always drag yourself out of this idea.
4. Don’t Bet Your Rent Check
We always say, “separate your poker funds from your personal funds.” Proper poker bankroll management is all about playing for money that you can afford to live without.
One of the reasons why poker players go bankrupt is the failure to create and separate their gambling fund from their personal finances. If you aren’t budgeting enough money for your poker bankroll, then don’t act surprised when you start struggling not only in the game but with your household bills too.
A popular recommendation for people who struggle with dividing their finances is to have a separate bank account or online wallet for their poker funds. While this is a brilliant idea, we like to emphasize that poker bankroll management is more of a mindset, not where the funds are. Unless you’re disciplined, we bet there’s nothing that will stop you from transferring funds from your personal account to poker account.
5. Moving Down is Part of Moving Up Stakes
A crucial strategy when learning how to build a bankroll poker is knowing when to move up stakes. Climbing up the stakes rewards you with more money, which can significantly skyrocket your bankroll. However, beware that when you decide to move up stakes your losses will be double fold because you’ll be risking twice the amount of money than usual.
As with everything else in poker, there’s never the best time to start playing higher stakes. The general advice is to move up as your bankroll increases and down when the bankroll grows smaller.
6. Track Down Your Performance
The other crucial Texas Hold’em strategy tip that we can’t fail to mention here is the need to keep track of your poker journey. Are you winning or losing? Whether you’re playing live or online poker, you should learn to track your actions down to the dollar. Poker tracking software and applications, such as Holdem Manager 2, PokerTracker 4, and Poker Charts, will keep a history of your winnings and losses. When you evaluate your performance against your goals, it becomes easy to identify your overall strengths and weaknesses in the game. These records will also help make vital decisions, such as the types of games to play and the appropriate time to move to the next level.
When playing poker for real money, your success heavily depends on your experience and excellent bankroll management. Break the barriers and crush the competition by learning these vital strategies at Poker Academy.