Bankroll Management Poker Strategy

No poker player will remain in business if they lack the discipline to manage their bankroll. You might hear different players preaching that you need to maintain a solid bankroll, but do you really understand the dynamics of proper bankroll management? It is really simple to construct a sufficient bankroll, the challenge lies in the proper management of it.

Look at it this way, would you feel more comfortable driving a car that is almost out of gas or one that was just filled to the top?

One of the main reasons that bankroll management is so important is the reassurance that it provides. Confidence is vital to any poker player’s success, and confidence stems from the ability to play comfortably. When your entire bankroll is on the brink of disaster you will often find yourself playing with scared money. As the saying goes, “Scared money doesn’t make money.” Be proactive and take control of your poker career by practicing proper bankroll management.

Proper Bankroll Management in Cash Games

Cash games are the least volatile of all forms of poker as far as variance is concerned. A solid cash game player will be able to consistently establish an edge in every game that they play. This edge will allow a player to play relatively carefree. No matter how good you are, though, you will still need to practice bankroll management if you want to sustain the inevitable downswings. No one is immune to bad runs; the proper protective measure is to protect your roll through bankroll management.

Micro stakes players do not need to worry about carrying massive bankrolls as the skill level is relatively weak. If you are playing any limit up to .25/.50 you will be safe with 20 buy ins. Some players would even say that 15 buy ins are OK at the micro stakes, but this would be considered aggressive bankroll management.

Small stakes players really need to protect their roll by padding it to around 30 buy ins. The swings at .50/1 through 2/4 can be quite severe. 30 buy ins will allow players to adequately handle the occasional 8 buy in downer.

High stakes players are susceptible to the most extreme swings of all cash game players. The general recommendation is that high stakes players maintain a bankroll of 40 or more buy ins. This may seem a bit excessive but the reasons will become obvious after you encounter your first downswing.

Proper Bankroll Management in Online Poker Tournaments and SNGs

Tournaments and SNGs are much higher variance than cash games. The best tournament players will frequently go on streaks of 10 tournaments without a single cash. The simple fact is that tournament players require many things to go their way, when things turn sour a bankroll can be devastated.

Tournament and SNG players should always keep at least 40 buy ins for the limits they are playing. For example, if you are playing $20 tournaments it would be a good idea to maintain a bankroll of at least $800. Some tournament players carry 50-100 buy ins just to be safe. If you want to practice aggressive bankroll management you can take shots with just 20 buy ins, but be aware that you will have an increased risk of ruin.