Managing your Bankroll: The Basics

Written by Tavis Poker House. Posted in Strategies straight from Texas

Bankroll Management is a fundamental skill which should be adopted by anyone playing poker for money. By implementing a bankroll you can avoid completely depleting your funds and instead ensure your game is enjoyable as well as profitable.

In poker, the term ‘Bankroll’ simply refers to a certain amount of money which a player sets aside solely for the purpose of playing poker. Whether you're a novice or an experienced player, there is always the risk that you could suffer a number of bad hands and diminish your bankroll. For this reason, your bankroll should be limited to an amount you can afford to lose and it should be well managed.

There are three basic principles when it comes to successfully managing your bankroll. As we already mentioned, never stake more than you can afford to lose. This is the first and most important rule when it comes to profitable poker play. Even the best and most successful professionals in the world would find it impossible to play every hand perfectly, therefore you should account for bad hands and downswings and keep the financial risk as low as possible.

In addition, you should never find yourself in a position in which your whole bankroll is at stake on a single hand or in a single tournament; ensure you stake manageable chunks of your bankroll across the game.

Secondly you must always consider your goals; Why have you entered the game and what do you hope to achieve? Don’t bite off more than you can chew at the tables and always be aware of your skill level.

In general terms, poker players can be categorized into three groups. There are those recreational players who mainly play for fun and generally come to the table with smaller stakes. There are also serious players who are generally of a higher standard and play the game regularly. These players partake in poker in order to achieve a profit however the game is not their sole income. Finally, as we know, there are some players who are good enough to play the game for a living. For professional poker players, poker is usually their only source of income and their stakes are often huge. These players must adopt strict bankroll management.

Finally, successful bankroll management requires that players never play higher than their bankroll permits. As such, having the correct size bankroll for your stakes is key. PokerCheck have compiled a table identifying the stakes commonly offered by online cash games, and where you should place yourself dependent on your bankroll. Tools like this will ensure you are playing at the appropriate tables to ensure your bankroll is as profitable as possible.