Keep control of your finances and maximize your chances to become a winning poker player by following our best poker bankroll management tips.

How to build a poker bankroll in 2021?

What is a bankroll?

Let’s say you have a box. In it, you put a $1,000 starting deposit that will be your play money. This is the amount of money you plan to spend on poker. On Saturday night, you go to your friends’ house for a wild night of poker. You take $100 out of your box which will be your budget for your poker session. The evening is lucrative for you and you go home with $300 in your pocket, a profit of $200. You put the entire amount back in your box. Your bankroll now stands at $1,200.

Poker bankroll management

To understand the usefulness of an efficient poker bankroll management, it is necessary to take into account a phenomenon called variance. It will not always be the best player who wins a poker game, nor the worst player who loses all the time. There is of course a great deal of skill in poker, but there is also a luck factor that should not be overlooked. In the long run, skills will prevail over jinx. But in the short term, bad luck can wreak havoc.

It is not uncommon, even for more experienced players, to suffer a period of bad luck, sometimes losing 10 games in a row, sometimes 20 or more. This is called a downswing. The more you play, the more you will be confronted with this vicious variance.

The process of managing your bankroll is quite simple. Never play more than a certain percentage of your available money, so that you can bear your losses without damaging your finances. This percentage will also be defined according to the game you are going to play (cash game, sit n’ go, MTT tournament) or your ambition in poker (recreational, serious or professional player).

Is it a cash game with a few friends (roughly 1 out of 2 players will win again, which means a 50% chance of winning)? A Sit N’Go with 10 players or only the first 3 will be paid (3 players out of 10 leave winning, so 30%)? Or an MTT tournament with 300 players of which only 30 will win (10% of the players paid)?

Play within the limits you can afford

If you have decided to spend $100 playing online poker and you register directly for $20 tournaments, your bankroll will soon be at zero and you will need to reload your account.

What is the ideal size of your bankroll? A professional player will have a much more disciplined and careful poker bankroll management than an established amateur or a recreational player. The bankroll is the professional’s working tool. No matter what happens, he will never commit more than 1% of his bankroll.

The recreational poker player can afford a less cautious poker bankroll management in comparison and could commit up to 4% of his bankroll, i.e. have at his disposal 25 times the amount he intends to play.

You will sometimes hear one or two of your friends complaining “Last night I got so unlucky and I tilted. I lost half my bankroll online.” With a proper management of his bankroll, your friend would never have lost that much.

Stay in your comfort zone

By playing at the limits you are comfortable with and your poker bankroll management allows you to compete at, you will be able to play your A-game. In many situations, you will have to make decisions that will make your session either a winner or a loser. To make these decisions, you need to have a clear mind. The pressure of the game is strong enough, so there is no need to add financial pressure. stick to the plan dictated by your poker bankroll management.

Poker bankroll management by type of game

Poker bankroll management in cash game

You’re on your way to a cash game night. It’s important to set a limit, for example three buy-ins, to keep your losses under control… and stick to it. In the same way, it is also good to have a winning limit. The recreational player is recommended to have up to 25 times the amount of money he or she intends to play with during the game.

Let’s admit that the evening is nightmarish and that he loses his 3 buy-ins. He will still have 22/25th of his bankroll left, or 88%. Enough to spend other poker nights. The professional will have 100 times at his disposal the amount he intends to place on the table, i.e. 1%.

x25 buy-ins50 buy-ins100 buy-ins

Poker bankroll management for Sit & Go’s

With Sit & Go’s, you are getting into the world of poker tournaments. The 10 players pay the tournament entry fee which forms a prize pool. Only the first 3 players will win a part of this prize pool. They are said to be in the money (ITM, In The Money). The winner gets 50%, the second 30% and the third 20%. What about the others? All they have left are their eyes to cry. Same as in cash games, we recommend the recreational poker players to have 25 buy-ins available, 50 for the serious players and 100 for the professionals.

x25 buy-ins50 buy-ins100 buy-ins

Poker bankroll management for tournaments

MTT tournament prize pools is something to dream about. You can multiply your bid by 30, 50 or even 100, but MTT tournaments are also very hazardous, you can experience very long downswings. For this, even the recreational player will have to be careful with his bankroll. A bankroll of 100 buy-ins is recommended for the recreational player.

If you have a bankroll of $500, you should not enter MTT tournaments over $5, otherwise you will quickly be asked to reload your account. The serious player will have 200 buy-ins. The professional, who can’t afford big losses, will make sure to have 400 buy-ins available.

x100 buy-ins200 buy-ins400 buy-ins

Poker bankroll management for MTT tournaments with 2000 or more players

Some online poker rooms offer tournaments with fields of several thousand players. Winning one of these tournaments can clearly improve your daily life. However, there are many called players and extremely few chosen ones. The variance is massive. You have to play for hours just to reimburse your tournament, and we are not even talking about significant winnings yet.

In most cases, you’ll have to leave 99.5% of the players behind to start getting a really good payout. The road ahead is long and full of obstacles.To smooth out the variance, the recreational player will need to have 200 buy-ins in the bankroll, 400 for the serious poker player and 600 for the professional grinder.

x200 buy-ins400 buy-ins600 buy-ins

In summary

After reading this article, you know the basics of poker bankroll management and how to not be broke. Don’t get discouraged, accept variance is part of the life of a poker player. Bad luck is part of the game, as is luck. Even if you play perfectly, you will experience sequences of downswings. But on the other hand, you will also have lucky sequences. If you follow the above recommendations, you will be able to beat variance. Your bankroll will be grateful for this.

We suggest that you read our 15 best beginner poker tips and our 10 tips to become a better poker player in addition to this article.

Keep calm, continue taking the right decisions and you’ll make profits in the long run.

How about you?

Have you managed to build a great bankroll? How did you do it? Do you use a poker bankroll management tool? We invite you to mention it in the comments below.

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