Poker is a game of skill, discipline and intelligence. Some people say it’s down to luck, grit or supreme acting skills, but it’s not. And the one thing you’ll see every single smart player doing is practising clever poker bankroll management.
We can just about hear everyone reading this thinking, “BORING” and itching to close the tab. But don’t! Because although this might not strike you as the most electrifying topic in the world, this is one thing that will improve everyone’s playing experience. It’ll make you a better player and it’ll make playing more fun. Trust us. If you play poker, you need to know this stuff.
This isn’t simply something pros need to use because it’s their bread and butter (although believe us, they really should!), it’s something every single poker player needs to take to heart.
Smarter poker bankroll management will save you money and help you improve your game. So read on and take this all in. It’ll be as useful now as it will be if and when you move up to high stakes games.
Scratching your head about what a bankroll is? We can sort that out for you in seconds. A bankroll can be made up of two things:
- The cash you’ve deposited
- The money you’ve won playing poker
Your bankroll should be the money you’re willing to lose playing poker. That doesn’t sound very good, does it? Obviously no one sits down at the table and decides to lose a game, that just doesn’t happen. But every poker player, no matter how disciplined, is going to lose sometime.
So your bankroll is simply the money that you could lose if it came to it. It’s never money you need for your day-to-day life. It shouldn’t be money you’ve set aside for your mortgage, loans or groceries. Your bankroll is purely your fun money.
And you need to make it last as long as possible with your poker bankroll management.
If you ever find yourself itching to use essential cash for poker, get help immediately. That’s just might be a sign of addiction.
Poker bankroll management
Poker bankroll management is all about making sure you don’t get yourself into a situation you can’t get out of. It’s all about finding the stake levels that suit your budget and your skillset.
Everyone can be buoyed by a string of good luck on the felt. But smart poker bankroll management teaches you to not get carried away too fast by the allure of higher stakes and tournament buy-ins before you’re really ready for them.
How do I know how much to spend per session?
You don’t want to burn through all your money too fast. So follow these simple guidelines and you’ll get the best out of your time at the tables:
- Cash game tables: Only spend a maximum of 10% of your bankroll per session
- Tournaments: Only spend between 5% and 10% of your bankroll on a single tournament entry
I’ve just had a big windfall or made a huge deposit. Should I change my stakes now because my bankroll is bigger?
There’s no reason to shoot up the stakes in cash games or enter super high value tournaments just because you have more money in your account.
Smart poker bankroll management is also about knowing how strong a player you are and not rushing things.
Professional poker players rarely spend more than 0.5% of their bankroll on any single poker game. So take a leaf out of their book. The more you have, the more conservative you should be.
Having said that, if your bankroll has grown from consistent wins at certain buy-in or stake levels, then maybe it is time to grind your way up to the next level to see if that challenges you more. But don’t exceed the 5-10% guideline.
Do I need to think about my bankroll if I don’t deposit a lot of money?
In a word, yes. Even if you only deposit say £10 a week, you’re going to be a much better player if you can learn to slowly win with that cash as opposed to blowing it all at once on one tournament.
And that’s how poker bankroll management can make you a boss at the tables.
Should I count bonus cash in my bankroll?
No, smart poker bankroll management shouldn’t take bonus cash into consideration. We recommend just adding withdrawable cash into your considerations when you’re deciding how much you should play with.
Do online poker rooms help with bankroll management?
Some of the better ones have mechanisms that will keep you informed for sure. For example, Coral Poker has a deposit limit tool, which means you can set a limit about how much you want to deposit in a specified period of time.
That means you can decide how much of your disposable income you want to spend playing poker. This makes it a lot easier to keep track of your expenditure and makes it less tempting to try higher stakes games before you’re ready.
Coral Poker also has a really simple layout in the Balance section of your Account. You can really clearly see what real cash and bonuses are in your Coral account, so you can quickly figure out how much you can comfortably spend on your poker session.