Bankroll Management

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Anders | Poker Articles, Poker Bankroll Management

This article belongs to the Poker Bankroll Management series


Before going in depth with the skills required for good management of your bankroll I will start by giving my thoughts on what poker bankroll management is, why it is important and who needs it. First a clear definition of Bankroll management is needed:

………the continuous adjustment of your playing limit according to the size of your Bankroll while factoring in your poker skills and the level of risk you are willing to take.

This may sound simple, but there is more to it than meets the eye. The right bankroll or choice of table varies from poker player to poker player. Much of it depends on the type of player you would categorise yourself into. For example, aggressive and risk loving players will experience larger up- and downswings than passive and risk aversive players and therefore require a large bankroll to play with.

Why is it important?

In theory there is always a risk for going broke no matter how good a poker player you are or how well you are able to manage your bankroll. The chances though of going broke can be reduced significantly by either lifting your poker skills to a very high level or keeping tight management of your bankroll both in up and down periods.

Having said that, it is normal for a good players to experience down periods from time to time with 20-30 lost buy ins. It is part of the game and you need to come to terms with this and take it into you bankroll considerations. If you don’t you will risk going broke at some point in the future.

Who needs it?

It is often said that for bankroll management to have any positive effect you have to be a winning poker player in the long run, otherwise your bankroll will inevitably start decreasing at some point. This is obviously true, however a loosing poker player can still gain a lot of experience and development of his poker skills by keeping his/hers bankroll tight and thus maintaining funds to play with over a longer period of time. During this time he/she might turn into a winning player.

So…what is the right buy in

Basically it comes down to how much aversion to risk you have and in the worst case the risk of going broke. But there are several other factors you will have to take in to consideration.

The good poker player (the player who has a high rate of winnings) will need a smaller bankroll than an average or loosing player because his downswings will be smaller relative to his/her bankroll.

To keep developing yourself as a poker player you will have to set a level where you keep your motivation high – so it doesn’t feel like you are playing with play money. It is in this context your personal character comes into consideration. In my next posts I will go in depth with critical personal skills for bankroll management.

It is difficult to set a general size on a typical poker bankroll. But a rule of thumb would be 50-100 times the maximal table buy in at no limit depending on you willingness to move down in limits when you are on a loosing streak.



Game Type
No Limit Poker 50-100 times buy in
Limit Poker
300 times big blind
Sit and Go / Tournaments
100 times fee plus rake


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