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Bankroll Management in Poker

Bankroll management in poker is crucial if you want to stay in the game for longer and eventually win a round. After all, no one wants to go broke.

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Not paying attention to your finances during a game of poker and acting on instinct instead of skill is a lethal combination that will get you in trouble pretty soon enough.

This is why experts recommend keeping a tight lid on your money and starting small before you go pro.

What’s Bankroll Management?

Bankroll management in poker is exactly what it sounds – organizing the money you have and dictating the stakes you play. However, putting it into practice is much harder than in theory. As there are many casino games, bankroll management can get pretty challenging for those who aren’t invested in one game only. With that being said, there’s still a way to manage your poker bankroll and get the most out of each round.

The objective of bankroll management in poker is to keep your losses at a minimum. Everyone loses sometimes. Even the best players can get stuck in a losing rut, and chasing those losses will only lead to losing money you might not have.

If you keep your bankroll tight, though, you’re less likely to play on instinct and possibly lose big amounts of money. Remember what’s important to you – if you love playing poker all the time, then losing money you simply don’t have means you’re not going to play it until you gather some funds again.

Just treat your bankroll with respect and like an investment, which it really is.

Bankroll Management in Poker
Guy showing his winnings to the world

Keep Your Poker Bankroll for Poker Only

First things first – you need to set your overall bankroll. This means knowing how much casino money you have in your pocket. Let’s say you have $1,000 – that’s the whole amount of money you can afford to spend in a casino this week or month. This is your ceiling – a win or two might make you want to raise the bankroll, but that’s a mistake you don’t want to make. It will lead to inevitable losses and possibly losing all the casino money you’ve set for this month.

Next, dedicate a portion of that amount for poker only. If you’re an avid poker fan, you can set up 50% of it or more if you like. If you also enjoy spinning slots or playing blackjack, it’s a good idea to have a small bankroll for it.

How Big Should Your Bankroll Be?

This depends on several factors. If you have a full-time job that pays nice, you can set your bankroll higher. Unless you’re a high-roller, you’ll need to limit your bankroll to some point or you’ll start losing money that should be spent on something else. The other factors that influence your bankroll include the tables you’re playing at, your tolerance of swings, and your playing style. If you’re an aggressive bettor, you’re going to need more money. If you’d like to stay in the game for longer, though, you’ll need to keep your bets small.

A good general rule for all poker players is to have a few dozens of buy-ins. Start by playing at a table with a minimum buy-in. If you lose them all, leave the table and call it a day. It’s also a good idea to set a goal for winnings – if you manage to double your winnings while not going over your bankroll, leave the table and don’t come back the same day.

Poker fans will find their comfort zone pretty fast. You just need to know what kind of game you’re playing and calculate the possibilities. Some players want to play at low stakes, while others are more suited to high-stakes games. It’s up to you to decide and set the bankroll higher or lower.

How Can I Manage My Expectations?

When it comes to poker or any casino game for that matter, you need to keep your expectations realistic. Many players sit on a poker table expecting to win thousands or millions on their first try. Although such a possibility exists, it’s very unrealistic to expect that you’ll win a lot. Instead of expecting such large wins, take baby steps forward.

If it’s your first day in a casino, you’d be happy to turn $20 into $22 or something like it. If you’ve set a monthly bankroll, you’d be happy to turn your $1,000 into $1,050. In the beginning, these tiny gains might not mean much to you, but you’ll eventually learn more about the game itself and possibly win bigger sums. Baby steps again, of course.

Bankroll Management Poker
Bankroll Management is important in every casino game

Of course, you’ll need to be aware that you’re going to lose sooner or later. Don’t get discouraged by it – losing is a part of the game. Just don’t chase your losses and stop playing when you’ve lost more than you can handle. This will ensure that your bankroll lives to see another day of action and keeps your losses in check. Poker is a game of skill, but winning requires a bit of luck as well, and sadly, most players don’t have bags of it.

Other Tips

When managing your bankroll, keep in mind that it dictates the game selection, not the other way around. If your bankroll is small, you can’t really afford to play at high-stakes tables. If it’s large enough, you can combine both low-stakes and high-stakes games.

Of course, playing within your limits is absolutely crucial. You can’t expect to win anything if you go over them frequently. You will only lose money and not be able to win it back. Poker isn’t a simple game and you can’t win as frequently as you think. Mastering the game takes time and even if you play with a seemingly bulletproof strategy, there’s no guarantee you’re going to win.

Once again, never chase your losses. It’s one of the biggest downfalls for any casino player. Once you start trying to recover your losses, you’re going to be tempted to bet big. This will burn through your bankroll in a minute and you’ll be left with nothing to play. So, if you want to prevent this, play smart and you’ll be able to stay in the game for a long time.

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