When playing poker, it is crucial that you understand how to manage your bankroll and stick to sensible principles. This rule applies no matter what level you are playing the game at.
Clearly define your bankroll
Defining your bankroll must be a clear-cut decision. It should relate to the amount of money you are comfortably able to set aside in order to play poker. When calculating your bankroll keep in mind that this ‘pot’ should be exclusive of other financial commitments.
It’s a gamble!
No matter what size your bankroll is, there is always a chance you could lose it all. On a far more positive note, there is also a good chance you will increase the size of your wallet!
The point here is that whatever level of bankroll you decide upon it should not affect other financial obligations.
Setting a sensible limit will allow you to enjoy the cut and thrust of an intriguing game and remain within your comfort zone.
Self-made rules to work from
Consider living by the following self-made rules and your bankroll management will be one that works for you.
If you can’t afford to lose it don’t play or chase it
This should remain your mantra. It really is the most important rule. Don’t ever risk an amount that could cause your financial hardship. This is particularly the case when you are having a downswing in playing success.
NEVER put your entire bankroll on the line
You should never put your entire bankroll into a single tournament or hand. The wise move is to only ever enter a game with a small fraction of your total bankroll at any one time
What are your goals?
This is where you need to consider what type of poker player you class yourself as being.
As a broad definition there are 3 groups of players. Each has different expectations and goals. Defining which group you fit into will allow you to set your own personal goals.
- Recreational players: You will mainly be playing for fun and poker will be one of your pastimes. Any bankroll losses can easily be funded by additional cash from a regular source of income.
- Serious players: This type of player is experienced and expects to profit from poker. Losses will hurt their pride as well as their pocket, but poker is not the only source of income.
- Professional players: Yes, it sounds very glamourous, but the reality is that poker is their chosen employment. This means they cannot afford to lose all of their bankroll. If they do, they are in effect losing their job. Professional players are the ones who need to manage the strictest techniques of bankroll management.
Find and remain in your comfort zone
Don’t be forced into playing at limits you feel are too high. Be ready to stop when you start to feel uncomfortable about the risk.
This is regardless of whether you can afford to keep playing or not and most certainly do not feel that stopping in such a situation is a ‘loss of face’. What it should be viewed as is good, solid bankroll management
Those players who ignore feelings of unease at the limits being played can very easily get nervous. This more often than not leads to costly mistakes. If continued it can also lead you to question the enjoyment you are deriving from poker.
Remember: Competent players ONLY play within the limits at which they feel comfortable.