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Proper Bankroll Management in PokerProper Bankroll Management

Bankroll management is making choices to play games that protect your money in an effort to build up to bigger levels.

All poker players go through dry spells: bad beats, losing flips, going on tilt, being card dead. Having a proper bankroll strategy allows you to play your A game even on a downswing. Sticking to your strategy is key to making money playing online poker.

Sit & Go Bankroll Management

Sit & Gos (SNGs) are a great way to build a bankroll and gain experience.   When setting a guideline it is important to be honest with yourself about your skill level.  A better player can use a smaller bankroll than someone who is still trying to beat these limits. We'll define three different levels of bankroll management.

Level

20 buy-ins

40 buy-ins

50 buy-ins

$1.00+.10

$22.00

$44.00

$55.00

$2.00 +.20

$44.00

$88.00

$110.00

$5.00+.50

$110.00

$220.00

$275.00

$10+1

$220.00

$440.00

$550.00

$20+2

$440.00

$880.00

$1,100.00

$30+3

$660.00

$1,320.00

$1,650.00

$55+5

$1,200.00

$2,400.00

$3,000.00

$100+9

$2,180.00

$4,360.00

$5,450.00

$200+15

$4,300.00

$8,600.00

$10,750.00

  • 20 Buy-ins: This is for players who are highly consistent at the current level
  • 40 Buy-ins:  This is for players who have gotten past “the learning stages” of the current level
  • 50 Buy-ins:  This is for players who are still learning at the current level

Multi-Table Tournament Bankroll Management

MTT poker can be one of the most time consuming and bankroll consuming ways to play.  It is possible to go 20 or more events without as much as a min-cash.  Bankroll management skills are more important here than in any other form of poker.

Level

50 buy-ins

75 buy-ins

100 buy-ins

$1.00+.10

$55.00

$82.50

$110.00

$2.00 +.20

$110.00

$165.00

$220.00

$5.00+.50

$275.00

$412.50

$550.00

$10+1

$550.00

$825.00

$1,100.00

$20+2

$1,100.00

$1,650.00

$2,200.00

$30+3

$1,650.00

$2,475.00

$3,300.00

$55+5

$3,000.00

$4,500.00

$6,000.00

$100+9

$5,450.00

$8,175.00

$10,900.00

$200+15

$10,750.00

$16,125.00

$21,500.00

  • 50 Buy-ins:  This is for players who have become successful at the level they have chosen
  • 75 Buy-ins:  This is for players who have now become comfortable with the level
  • 100 Buy-ins:  For players who are experimenting with a new level and gaining experience

Bovada Poker has the highest traffic tournament schedule open to US players, with MTTs for all bankroll levels. 

Cash Game Bankroll Management

No Limit / Pot Limit

NL / PL cash games can bring a lot of variance but not as much as people may think.  With proper game selection and the right strategies a player can expect a rather steady win rate.  Bankrolls for cash game play still have to be managed as well as any other form of poker.  The table below assumes you buy in for 100bb. 

Level

Max buy-in

20 buy-ins

50 buy-ins

60 buy-ins

$0.01/$0.02

$2.00

$40.00

$100.00

$120.00

$0.02/$0.05

$5.00

$100.00

$250.00

$300.00

$0.05/$0.10

$10.00

$200.00

$500.00

$600.00

$0.10/$0.25

$25.00

$500.00

$1,250.00

$1,500.00

$0.25/$.50

$50.00

$1,000.00

$2,500.00

$3,000.00

$.50/$1

$100.00

$2,000.00

$5,000.00

$6,000.00

$1/$2

$200.00

$4,000.00

$10,000.00

$12,000.00

$2/$5

$500.00

$10,000.00

$25,000.00

$30,000.00

$5/$10

$1,000.00

$20,000.00

$50,000.00

$60,000.00

  • 20 Buy-ins :  For players who are well versed and have solid reads on the players at this level
  • 50 Buy-ins:   For players who have a little more variance in their game, but still understand the level
  • 60 Buy-ins:  For players who are either learning, or players who take high variances lines

 

Fixed Limit

Due to lower variance than the NL and PL games, Fixed Limit players can get away with a smaller bankroll.

Level

Typical Buy-in

300 Big Bets

500 Big Bets

600 Big Bets

$0.05/$0.10

$3.00

$30.00

$50.00

$60.00

$0.10/$0.20

$6.00

$60.00

$100.00

$120.00

$0.25/$0.50

$15.00

$150.00

$250.00

$300.00

$0.50/$1

$30.00

$300.00

$500.00

$600.00

$1/$2

$60.00

$600.00

$1,000.00

$1,200.00

$2/$4

$120.00

$1,200.00

$2,000.00

$2,400.00

$3/$6

$180.00

$1,800.00

$3,000.00

$3,600.00

$4/$8

$240.00

$2,400.00

$4,000.00

$4,800.00

$5/$10

$300.00

$3,000.00

$5,000.00

$6,000.00

  • 300 Big Bets:  A standard bankroll for the better players at this level
  • 500 Big Bets:  A larger bankroll for players who have some small leaks
  • 600 Big Bets:  A bankroll for those who need to build skill levels at the fixed limit games

Seven Card Stud players should keep a larger bankroll since there are four betting rounds instead of three.

Bankroll Management Software

There are free software, websites and articles available for players to help manage their bankroll.  As important as playing within your means is, it's also important to know where your profits come from.

The Fergulator is a tool based on Chris Ferguson’s Bankroll Challenge.  Enter the amount of money you have in your bankroll and the Fergulator will display how much to buy-in for and when you should quit the game.

Pokerdominator is a free website that will allow you to track all the ins and outs of your bankroll’s activity.  This site offers all the customization features you could ask for from custom labels to specific filters.

PokerStars allows players to self-exclude from certain stakes for 24 hours, useful for bankroll management.