Money management is the most important ”tool” in just about any industry as well as in life, if you don’t manage your money well, you’ll go broke. Same applies to poker players and you should really treat your bankroll seriously, if you’re looking to be in the game longterm. In case you’re just looking for some fun and adrenaline once in a while, don’t bother reading further – you are doing just fine! On the other hand, if poker might be a side income or even more important for you, this is the place you should start at. Understanding the basics of money management in poker is the first step towards a successful poker carer.
So is there one golden rule that applies? No, not even close. Most of the time the answer to a question ”how much money do I need to play xxx?” will be that it depends. There are a couple of factors on whom the answer will be depending:
- Are you playing for a living? Is poker your main source of income or are there any side income streams that will allow you to redeposit and top up your bankroll in case you loose what you have in your poker account.
- Do you have any savings? Sometimes people go ”pro” with only a reasonable amount of buy-ins for the stakes they desire to play. This is quite dangerous as you’ll often be stressed and wont have a feeling of safety that is very important.
- Is Poker a hobby to you? If poker is just a hobby to you, there aren’t all that many rules that you have to follow. You can simply deposit a couple of buy ins or just enough to play, if you’re looking to play tournaments.
Bankroll Management for serious players
If you’re looking at poker as an either extra income or main source of income, you have to be very careful and approach money seriously. Lets go through various poker variations and advisable size of bankroll for playing them.
- No Limit Hold’em Cash Games – Have at least 50 buy ins for the stakes you’re looking to play. If you plan to play nl100 ($0.50/$1) have at least $5000 in your poker account.
- Pot Limit Omaha Cash Games – Have at least 100 buy ins for the stakes you’re looking to play. If you plan to play plo100 ($0.50/$1) you should have at least $10,000 in your poker bankroll. This might sound like a lot, but this game features WAY more variance and having 20-30 buy in downswings is a common scenario.
- Multi Table Tournaments (MTT’s) – Have at least 200 buy ins for the stakes you’re willing to play. If you play a wide range of stakes, have at least 200 average buy ins. If your average entry fee is $100, have at least $20,000. There are factors that can change this, such as if you play tournaments that feature a large amount of entrants, this might even be short of a roll. Vice versa, if you play games with between 200-400 entrants, this might be too much.
Always remember that playing poker professionally is no different than running a business, if you go broke, you’re dead. It’s exactly that simple and you should try to avoid a chance like that as much as possible. Be careful and always have more money than advises, as the saying goes – you can never be to careful, when it comes to money. Having that said, you should also be willing to take some aggressive shots at higher stakes once in a while, but we’ll keep that for another article.