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Bankroll Management


Poor money management. If you are a good player and can manage your money well, it is virtually impossible to go broke. If you want to make a living out of playing poker or minimize your risk of going broke, it is essential that you have a good grasp of money management. A good player understands that the winnings he collects at the poker table are operating capital. This capital is not to be used for anything other than playing poker. The bankroll is the lifeline of a poker player. Without it, it is impossible to make a profit. If you win enough money at a certain limit, you either pocket the winnings or use it to step yourself up to higher limits.

If you only play as a hobby, you must be aware of how much you are comfortable losing and, equally as important, you must expect to lose it sooner or later. However, if you get lucky and play well you might gradually be able to build up a large bankroll from a small investment.

Earn rate

A good Limit Texas Hold'em player in a full-ring game usually makes about one big bet per hour. This means $40 an hour in a $20-$40 game. To comfortably play at a certain limit you should have a bankroll around 300 times the big bet. This means $12,000 for playing $20 - $40 Limit poker.

In order to provide you with an understanding of the volatility involved, let us look at some statistics: The range of earnings for a player expected to make $40 an hour playing Limit Hold'em can vary from -$11,000 to $19,000 only after hundred hours of play. This same player can only be sure of breaking even after 1400 hours of play. This shows how much the "luck factor" affects your earnings in the short run.

The rules

1. Never play with scared money. Play at a level where you are motivated to play but do not risk going broke.
2. If you are playing Limit poker you should have a bankroll approximately 300 times the big bet.
3. If you are playing well and it is a good game, stay in the game even if you are losing at the moment.
4. If you are playing in a bad game, leave even though you are winning. Go and find a better game.
5. Never go on "tilt". Know the signs of when you are about to go on "tilt" and leave before it happens.
6. If you lose too much at a certain limit make sure to step down a limit or two until you can afford to play at the higher limits again.
7. Keep a book of your winnings, losses, number of hours played and the games you play in.
8. Only play when you feel like playing and when you are mentally prepared.