BANKROLL MANAGEMENT

Discuss the basics, psychology, probability, table selection etc.

BANKROLL MANAGEMENT

Postby friskygambit » Sat Apr 19, 2008 7:48 pm

I am surprised that no-one has started a thread on this topic. I consider bankroll management the most important concept for any serious poker player who hopes to make a profit from this game in the long run.

Too many players I know play above their bankroll. They play in a game where the other players can afford to lose more money than they can, and this puts them at a severe disadvantage. If you are a struggling student/NSF with $700 in your bank account trying to use poker to augment your income, it is suicide to play at a $2/4 game with max buy-in of $500, alongside working professionals who can afford to lose that money. You are going to be playing scared because the money really matters to you and makes a difference to your life. You are also not going to be able to take the variance (swings) and will be more likely to be psychologically affected by a bad beat. You will be alot less aggressive in situations where you need to be. Whatever the case is, even if you are a fundamentally sound player, you will not be able to function at an optimal level when you play above your bankroll.

I learnt this lesson the hard way - when I was just starting out in the game and had a bankroll of 1,100 British Pounds, I took a shot at a 600 pound game. As it is, technically I was much better than the other players at the table, who were mainly crazy gamblers who could afford to put 4,000 pounds on a single spin of roulette. They would go all-in with bottom pair, gutshot draws, any draw basically. While its fun taking their money when you win, variance dictates that you can't win all the time, and there will be times when you experience a downswing and lose more times than you are expected to (i.e. you are experiencing negative standard deviation from the expected mean). When this happened, I was psychologically affected, and started to go on tilt. This caused me to lose my entire bankroll, which I took weeks to build up, in one single night!

It is generally sound advice (from the experts) to have at least the equivalent of 20 buy-ins in your bankroll. I recommend that for small and intermediate stakes you should have at least 15 buy-ins. That means that if you are playing in a $200 game, you should have at least $3,000 in your bankroll.

By the way, your bankroll refers to the money that you have set aside for poker only, not the money that you need for your daily expenses such as rent, mortgage payments, bills and transport!

In the States and Europe, most young beginner players start out with no proper bankroll at all, which is why they start off playing online at the micro-stakes tables ($0.01/$0.02) blinds. These tables are extremely soft, and if you maintain your discipline, you should be able to gradually build up a bankroll from these games. Move up only when you have a comfortable bankroll that is capable of withstanding some serious and sustained downswings.

Remember poker is a game of luck in the short run, but in the long run, there is no such thing as luck! If you play fundamentally sound poker, you will make a profit eventually no matter what stakes you play at. Do not get greedy and start off by playing above your bankroll, or you will seriously regret it. This is one of the most common mistakes that beginners make.
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Re: BANKROLL MANAGEMENT

Postby mudspot » Sun May 04, 2008 1:31 pm

Hi friskygambit/fellow kakis,

I would like to share an alternative BR strategy (something I adopted). friskygambit's post is typical and very good advice. In fact, it's the advice that students and players without a good and stable income should adopt. However, for working folks, you may want to consider the following.

This advice is from Mike Caro. In summary, a small bankroll can easily be replaced. So, if the 300 USD that you have in Pokerstars is negligible, rather than follow the standard 20-30x buyin rule and play 10NL, Caro suggests that you can play 50 or 100NL instead. Yes, 2-4 buyins. Of course, you have to play at your skill level.

Furthermore, the 30x buyin rule is only for low-medium stake poker. The more BR you acquire, the more you need to protect it. Losing a $30K BR and losing a $300 BR are two different beasts altogether. At the highest stakes of 20,000NL ($100/$200 blinds), a 200x buyin buffer is required. That translates to a $4M BR. (So, Leslie, you are not overrolled for your stakes).

The following is suggested as a guide. (Adapted from Caro's BR guide)

Bankroll No-Limit #Buy-ins Limit #Big Blinds
$300 .25/.5 6 1/2 150
$600 .5/1 6 2/4 150
$1080 .75/1.5 7.2 3/6 180
$3000 1.25/2.5 12 5/10 300
$10000 2.5/5 20 10/20 500
..
..
$1.8M 250/500 360 1000/2000 9000

This alternative BR guide came about because Mike Caro, as a psychologist, found that people who can easily replace their small BR, they then not to play well at the lower limits. (What's 0.10 to them?). We have to find a limit where we are 'very slightly uncomfortable with' - then the limit 1 lower should be our profitable limit.

I must strongly emphasize that this is a guide. If you feel that a 3K BR is not sufficient for 1.25/2.5 NL, by all means, go for a 20x buy in or even 30x. Play at a limit you feel safe in.

Happy Hunting to all...
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Re: BANKROLL MANAGEMENT

Postby vaevictis » Sun May 04, 2008 2:16 pm

treating a 300-400 dollar bankroll as negligible and playing with just 3-4 buyins is not something i would do.

I rather play with 6-8 tables and treat the money in play as negligible with a huge bankroll in poker account.

Trust me psychologically it helps. When you know you can make a play and lose a stack because its a correct play and not be worried about it, instead of, "oh i lost a stack and i have 2 buyins left to play". This will affect your style of play in some manner.

For online players, can't really emphasize on the need for large bankrolls due to multitabling, and increasing difficulty in levels. More is always merrier.



For newer players, take advice at your own discretion. Always good to listen to diff perspective. Friskygambits and terrys advice are all viable for different types of games. Cater your bankroll management to your needs and risk appetite.
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Re: BANKROLL MANAGEMENT

Postby mudspot » Sun May 04, 2008 3:31 pm

Hi hi,

the guide is for 1 table plays only. So online-wise, multiply the guide by the number of tables you play.

me, I play only 2 tables max at any 1 time.

Ultimately, I only have 2 main conditions for proper BR management.
1. It's not food money
2. It is at a level that allows me play proper poker at the limits I want.
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Re: BANKROLL MANAGEMENT

Postby chenghao » Wed May 27, 2009 9:44 am

i think tight players generally need smaller bankrolls ( 20 - 30 ?) then aggressive players(100 + )
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Re: BANKROLL MANAGEMENT

Postby Sleepy Hippo » Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:54 pm

You should also tailor your bankroll management strategy to the skill level of the games you are playing in.

If you are playing in soft live games with lots of fish, and know that you have a huge edge over them, it is probably OK to play with 4-5 buy ins (e.g. $2000 bankroll for a 2/4 game).

If you are playing 2/4 or 3/6 online (i.e. some of the toughest games out there) good luck to you if you're trying to "spin it up".. you are probably heading on a one-way ticket to busto-land.
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Re: BANKROLL MANAGEMENT

Postby Mydral » Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:45 am

BRM is simple online if you multitable:

Nl10 20BI (can go lower if your skilled since it is just so easy)
NL20 20BI (can go a bit lower if skilled)
NL30 20BI
NL50 30BI
Nl100 30BI
etc.


Life games... I think its enough to have like 15BI or 10 for a limit since the game is just so slow, there are fish hehe, and you need to play bigger stakes to make it worth your while.
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