Bankroll Management Strategies
The importance of bankroll management simply cannot be stressed enough. So many people get caught up in the excitement of gambling that they risk – and lose – their entire bankroll. But this ultimate consequence can easily be avoided by implementing some proven bankroll management strategies.
The key to managing your poker bankroll is budgeting. Following a set of rules for spending your bankroll will ensure that you never enter a tournament or cash game that you can’t afford to lose. While you should always sit down at the poker table with a positive attitude and the intention to win, a realistic approach to budgeting your bankroll will prevent you from having to start over from scratch when the cards don’t cooperate with your unwavering confidence.
A Proven Budget Rule
Professional poker player, Chris Ferguson, successfully demonstrated that one could build and maintain a bankroll from scratch by setting a strict spending cap on each online poker cash game and tournament he entered.
With patience and dedication, Ferguson eventually reached his goal of $10,000. Here are the rules Chris Ferguson used to determine what he could afford to play:
Poker Bankroll Management Strategy
• Never spend more than 5% of total bankroll on a Sit & Go or cash game buy-in (exception: lowest limits of $2.50 buy-ins or less).
• Never spend more than 2% of total bankroll on a multi-table tournament (MTT) buy-in (exception: $1 buy-ins).
• Leave a No Limit or Pot Limit ring game when the money on the table represents 10% or more of total bankroll.
To calculate 5% of your bankroll, multiply your total bankroll amount by 0.05; multiply by 0.02 to determine 2% of your bankroll. According to these guidelines, a fiscally responsible poker player will need a bankroll of $100 to comfortably buy into a Sit & Go or cash game for $5, or an MTT for $2. With $50 or less, $1 MTTs and $2.50 Sit & Gos would give you the opportunity to build up your bankroll with minimal risk of busting. A bankroll of $2,000 would be necessary to accommodate a $100 buy-in for a $0.50/$1 No Limit Texas Hold’em cash game.
Added Incentives for Bankroll Management
The obvious advantage of playing a small fraction of your bankroll is that you minimize the risk of busting as you slowly and steadily build up your poker funds. However there are several benefits inherent to this bankroll management strategy.
Moving up to the next stake level when your bankroll is ready can be very exciting, but often the skill level of your opposition rises along with the buy-ins. For this reason, you may find yourself having to drop back down to your previous level after a few losses. However, this will give you time to hone your poker skills at the lower limit in preparation for your next shot at the higher limit.
Also, when you play within your means, you are less likely to suffer the costly results of playing on tilt. One of the primary causes of poker players tilting is the loss of a huge pot depleting a significant portion of their bankroll.
What’s worse is they will keep playing at that same stake, desperately seeking a big win to recover their losses, typically losing more or even going broke. Playing games that you can afford to lose keeps the game light, with less emotional investment in your stake. Losing $25 in a Sit & Go is much less painful and easier to recover from than a $250 loss when you have a $500 bankroll.
With time and patience, strict adherence to the 2% and 5% bankroll management strategies will allow you to build up your bankroll stress-free, while sharpening your poker skills.