Bankroll Management

PTN’s Poker Tip of the Week
Bankroll Management

In poker, your bankroll is the money you can afford to lose.  Some would say it is also your lifeblood because without it, you can’t play.

And yet, many players don’t see bankroll management as a skill that is important to develop.

But, at Poker Training Network we consider bankroll management to be just as important as being able to calculate pot odds, read the texture of the board, isolate opponents, or any other vital facet of the game.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few important guidelines for managing your bankroll.

First, it is critical for the size of your bankroll to dictate the stakes you play. Most poker pros encourage players who are just starting out, to never put more than 10%-15% of their bankroll at risk at ANY one-time.  A standard rule of thumb is that a good player should have about 300 Big Blinds at his or her regular level of play (e.g. $3000 for a 5-10 hold’em game).  If you drop under 300 Big Blinds, total, in your bankroll you’ll be endangering one of two things: your ability to keep playing good poker as you naturally become more protective of your money, or your ability to play poker at all if you continue to play an aggressive game and your bad run doesn’t end.

Second, if your bankroll is crippled, strongly consider playing lower stakes games. If your bankroll dips below 300 Big Blinds for the limit you’re playing after you finish a session, you need to be absolutely certain that your next session is at a limit your bankroll can support. Otherwise you’re leaving your ability to play poker to chance. One of the benefits of poker, as compared to other forms of wagering, is that you can minimize the effects of chance over the long run through the application of skill – so why sacrifice that advantage voluntarily?

Finally, use your poker bankroll for poker and poker only! Many people feel that their bankroll is money that can be tossed around, but if you don’t plan on playing low limit games for the rest of your life, you need to limit your bankroll to poker. That means no craps, blackjack, roulette, slots, etc.

Managing your bankroll boils down to discipline. There are many players who could play higher limits more often than they do if they were to place a few limits on themselves. If moving up in stakes is a goal of yours, you should take careful stock of how you treat your bankroll. Managing it wisely is the best insurance a poker player can have.

About Billy Brown

High School teacher and coach in Austin, TX.
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