Building a poker bankroll-top 10 not to do

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Mark | Poker Articles, Poker Bankroll Building, Poker Top 10 Lists

This article belongs to the Poker Bankroll Building series.

I’ve tried to put together a list of my top 10 “not to do” when it comes to poker bankroll building. If you disagree or have anything to add (perhaps you have your own recipe for building a poker bankroll) please feel free to add a comment.

Do not start your poker bankroll building project without a plan

Planning is crucial in order for any project to become a success (I should know since I work as a project manager for a living). When it comes to poker bankroll building you need to lay out the foundation before you start. Are you aiming to copy Chris Ferguson, starting with 0$ and grinding it out in freerolls and micro limit SNGs or No limit Hold’em? Chris Ferguson succeeded in building a 10000$ bankroll this way. Are you going to build your bankroll through cash games, MTT tournaments or SNGs? What is your plan? You need to have this sorted out before you start.

Do not play out of your profit zone

Your profit zone is the limit where you can comfortably grind it out and make a regular profit (e.g. 5$ 10 max SNGs, 0,25$/0,50$ 6 max NL Hold’em etc…). If you’ve never played poker before you don’t know yet what your profit zone is and hopefully it will move up in limits as you get better. If you’ve played poker before you probably have a pretty good idea what your profit zone is. Here’s my point when it comes to poker bankroll building projects. If possible start up your poker bankroll building project in your profit zone as this will give you the best start. If you start out below your profit zone you run the risk of getting bored and if you start out above your profit zone you run a serious risk of loosing your bankroll.

Keep in mind that people play in games beyond their skill level, buy-in level and outside their profit zone because:

  • They are attracted to the potential of the one big pay off
  • They think they’re a better poker player than they really are
  • They think anyone can get lucky once
  • They figure the fastest way to re coop money lost at the lower levels is to win one big game
  • They think poker is a game of pure chance
  • They think they play better when up against better opponents (i.e. fewer donkeys)
  • They have more money than brains

Don’t be one of these people!

Do not start your poker bankroll building project without (realistic, but at the same time ambitious) goals.

Setting goals for your poker bankroll building project is equally as important as the initial planning. Without goals you’re destined for failure. They are what will keep your motivation up and give direction and meaning to your projects. Be ambitious but realistic when setting your goals. Building a large enough bankroll to pay for your dream holiday for example, is in my opinion an ambitious but realistic goal. Make sure that the goal is something you really want. Often this is not the actual money itself but the stuff we can buy from it.

Do not carry out your poker bankroll building project without motivation

If you take care with your planning and choice of goals you should not experience long periods with lack of motivation during your poker bankroll building project. Short spells of low motivation however are unavoidable. I have often found that blogging about my poker bankroll building projects has helped me keep my motivation high. Therefore consider starting your own blog about your project or find a forum with equal minded poker players to share your ups and downs with.

Do not carry out your poker bankroll building project without discipline

Here’s a great definition of the concept discipline:

…..persistently act in the direction of a goal regardless of external adversity or internal state.

Many associate discipline with pushing yourself hard to achieve a certain goal. But this is not the way to succeed in the long run with any challenge especially Bankroll Management. To succeed it is essential to maintain the joy of playing poker. Discipline in this context is the ability to persistently act in the direction of a goal regardless of adversity and the emotional state while keeping in mind that you are doing it because it’s fun.

Discipline is what will keep you on track in your poker bankroll building project with regards to bankroll managements and avoiding tilt. In my opinion you will never succeed in a poker bankroll building project if you do not have discipline.

Do not carry out your poker bankroll building project without proper bankroll management

Bankroll management can be defined as:

………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.

Obviously this is important. Without proper bankroll management you run a high risk of ruin. In addition if you do not use bankroll management you might not realize that your bankroll is large enough to move up in limits.

There are a few rules of thumb regarding bankroll management, but I recommend you do your own research here because there are a lot of different opinions on this subject.

  • For No limit cash games your bankroll should be 20-50 times the maximum table buyin on the limit you play.
  • For SNG’s I would say your bankroll should be 40-100 times the buyin you’re playing
  • For MTTs (multi table tournaments) you will need more than 100 times the buyin you’re playing (the reason for this, is that you due to the large playing fields in MTTs will not win them nearly as often as SNGs

Do not play at a poker room without a rakeback or bonus deal

Having a rakeback or bonus deal while you play will add $$ to your bankroll building project while you play. So there’s really no reason not to sign up through a rakeback site and get this added value. If you’re a break even player against the opponents on your limit, a rakeback or bonus deal will ensure that your bankroll continuously increases. Since anyone can become an affiliate of a poker site and start promoting rakeback and bonus deals, there is almost no end to the number of online poker rakeback pages available today.

Do not play poker outside your poker bankroll building project

This point on my list might sound strange to some of you, and I’m not even sure I agree with it :-) My thought was that if you lime me play poker with your friends once in a while, chances are the stakes will probably be higher compared to your poker bankroll building game. I have a poker buddy and during our poker weekends I usually spend more $ in tournament buyins than I would during two months, when I just play alone. If you’ve just paid 200$ to play in one of the large Sunday tournaments, won’t the transition back to 5$ SNGs be difficult? As I wrote earlier, I’m not sure about this one, so any input from you guys reading this article would be greatly appreciated.

Do not go on tilt

This is a no-brainer. You tilt, you loose. So don’t do it. There are thousands of online articles giving good advice on how to avoid tilt. I like to throw my water bottle through our living room, but I don’t know if that will work for everyone.

If you go broke do not start a new poker bankroll building project before you’ve analyzed what went wrong in you first attempt

Did you play outside your profit zone? Did you lack poker skills in the games you played? Did you lose motivation?

Find out what you did wrong and learn from it so your next poker bankroll building project has a higher chance of success.

Thanks to Anders and JGiles for providing some of the material for the list.

You could be posting your articles on the Poker Bankroll Blog. Read all about it here.

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3 Comments to Building a poker bankroll-top 10 not to do

January 29, 2010

Hi Mark :D What’s up mate ? Great article , congratulations ! You know what part I agree most ? That part with go on tilt.If you go on tilt you will lose your bankroll.This happened to me several times :( Some nice $ in a pretty short time.
Eah I think I build up a nice bankroll from freerolls :) My goal for 2010 is not a big one , lol…Just to play in a big Sunday Game.I think I will succed ! Wish me luck , lol :D
Your friend ,

January 29, 2010

Hi Alyn

I’m glad you liked the article. If you ever cash in a big Sunday Game…remember to give me half :-) LOL
.-= Mark´s last blog ..Building a poker bankroll-top 10 not to do =-.

John Smith
June 19, 2011

I think selling pieces from bigger tournaments make you feel you are in the comfort zone. Like you don’t lose “huge” if you lose and I play more comfortably while being staked.

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