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How to Approach Poker Bankroll Management

At its core there are three main aspects to being good at poker:

(i) A Solid Poker Strategy
(ii) A Strong Mental Game
(iii) Bankroll management.

Good bankroll management would ensure that even after suffering multiple losses, one doesn’t go bust. Besides a good strategy, a positive mindset is essential in the long run. A strong mindset will enable you to make correct decisions based on strategy and not emotion.

Not having a consistent bankroll management strategy is one of the most common reasons why some players bust or give up.

Here are some key points to help you with building your own bankroll management strategy.

A. Keep 2 Different Roles

  • Poker Bank Roll
  • Life Roll

Poker is more like an investment, meaning you ‘buy-in’ to get a greater return in the future.

So, if you extract money from your poker bankroll for your personal needs, it’d be like taking cash out from a growing company. That said, if your only income is from poker you have to use good cash out strategy and stick to it.

B. Never Play out of your Bankroll

Understand your Bankroll as ammunition for the war. The more you have the better chances for you to succeed at Poker. We at PBCI would recommend our players to have anywhere from 75-125 Buy-ins at the stake you play

Example – Player ‘X’ has Bankroll 1.5L INR
Game limits to stick to
1. Upto Buy-ins 3750 INR (40 Buy-Ins)
a. Aggressive Approach
b. Skill level required to succeed = High
2. Upto Buy-ins 2000 INR (75 Buy-Ins) Decent
a. Fair Approach
b. Skill Level required to succeed = Mid
3. Upto Buy-ins 1200 INR (125 Buy-Ins) Solid
a. Solid Approach
b. Skill level required to success = Low to Mid

Mistakes New players can make

Many players after losing a couple of pots start playing higher stakes to recover quickly, This often ends up being the end of their poker journey. You must try to be process-oriented and not money-oriented.

C. Go Downstake if required

This comes naturally if you follow the above Buy-in rule, and maintain consistency at, for example, say 100 Buy-In rule.
If you lose a portion of your bankroll, by the 100 Buy-in rule you will automatically drop stakes to maintain a constant 100 Buy-ins at the level you play

Never hesitate to lower your stakes if your bankroll management rules say so. It may feel bad, embarrassing or time-wasting, but you should feel good about making this decision.
It may seem counterintuitive at first, but as mentioned before, you must always be process-oriented.

Understand that to build a bankroll, you must first sustain it.

D. Poker as a Business

Every business has a finite amount of capital. Treating poker as a business ensures that you always have the discipline to stick to your bankroll.
Even if you have the means to keep adding capital to your bankroll, doing so will result in going bust at some point.
To be successful you must be clear and thorough when it comes to deciding your poker investment. Always know and assess your risk and always stay within it.

E. Make goals and track your journey

Keeping a track of your goals and your progress can be rewarding in many ways. You will be able to hone in on your weaknesses as well as strengths.

Factors to assess on a daily basis
1. Breakdown of all events/cash tables you play
2. Number of tournaments/ Number of cash game hands
3. Cash in & Cash out (event wise + day wise)
4. Your leaks in the given day
5. How to improve on leaks going ahead
6. Study routine for the day

Identifying & fixing your leaks are important steps towards building a strong poker strategy.