The Importance of Bankroll Management
From the time we start our education in grade school, all through high school and college, we learn the necessary skills to earn money. However, there are very few courses on how to manage money. Unfortunately, this is why so many people have financial problems and bad credit. The same mentality is present with many poker players.
Solid bankroll management is one of the most important elements of poker. When it comes to gambling, itís probably the toughest lesson of all. Bankroll management requires discipline and knowing your limits. Itís a skill in poker that very few have mastered. It involves knowing when to take a risk and knowing when to quit.
Everyone wants to learn how to take down more pots, but very few are searching for ways to improve their bankroll management skills. All the skills you can wield in poker donít mean anything, if you blow all the money as soon as you win it. Mastering bankroll management is as important, if not more important, then being able to calculate pot odds or read your opponents.
We can always do a better job of managing our bankroll. For a player who wants to move up in limits or play poker for a living, itís one of the most important skills you can have. Below are 5 tips for better bankroll management.
1. Play With ďFun MoneyĒ
Start your bankroll with money you can afford to lose. Never gamble with money set aside for lifeís necessities, i.e. rent, food, car payment, college tuition, etc. I would argue that poker is a game of skill as much as anyone else, but bad luck, bad beats and bad runs are a part of the game.
Gambling more than you can afford to lose will eventually, if not immediately, lead to disaster. When you sit down at the poker table, you are gambling with money you may never see again. Lifeís necessities should always come before poker. This should be common sense to most. If itís not, you are most likely a problem gambler and this article is not for you. You should contact Gamblers Anonymous and/or seek help as soon as possible.
2. Donít Play Short Stacked
When playing No Limit Holdíem ring games, always buy in for the maximum amount. If you canít afford the maximum amount, go down in stakes. Most people advise buying in with at least 100 times the big blind. I have heard as much as 300 times the BB. I like to buy in with the absolute maximum amount for many reasonsÖ
In no limit, more than likely, you will experience swings. Buying in for 300 times the BB should cover any downswings. Also, when you buy in for this much you will be able to play aggressive poker.
The most common mistake I see at the tables is people sitting down with when everyone else has 0 or more. The person busts out 5 times and consequentially rebuys 5 times. This lack of understanding is what leads players to lose their bankroll in a hurry. It just doesnít make sense to sit down at a cash game short stacked. Youíre much more likely to get bullied as the short stack. At an aggressive table, you wonít get to see many flops. You may also have to make your move much earlier just to keep from being blinded out. Furthermore, you wonít have much time to get a read on the other players at the table.
Look for players who buy in with much less than everyone else at the table. Itís one of the best ways to ďspot the suckerĒ. Donít be the sucker.
3. Have Discipline
When you are on a bad run, never go on tilt and never be too arrogant to move down in limits. The best feeling in the world is getting your money back from the donk who hit his miracle card on the river against you, but if your bankroll is hurting, itís probably best to move down in stakes.
4. Donít Get Reckless
Donít make the mistake of playing recklessly with money that youíve won. Yes, itís ok to get a little more aggressive as youíre hitting the cards and taking down pots, but donít get reckless. The money you have earned is now YOUR money. Treat it as such.
5. Know When To Quit
ďWhen is the right time to quit?Ē The most irritating answer to that question is ďQuit while youíre ahead.Ē Why would you want to do that? I donít like to quit when Iím on a good run, do you? Itís really the last thing any poker player wants to hear.
My advice is to quit when you are no longer having fun. If you are having a bad night at the tables and continue to lose over and over youíre liable to reach the point of no return. You can become so unaffected by the losses that subsequent losses will no longer hurt you, and that can be catastrophic.
I understand itís easy to say and hard to do, but as time goes on you will eventually need to learn when itís just not your night and enough is enough. After all, poker really has no beginning and no end. Itís here today and itíll be here tomorrow.
About the Author: Chane Steiner is an avid online poker player and owner of the following websites:
Chane Steinerís Blog
Poker Bonus Guide