Poker Bankroll management
There are many ways to handle a poker bankroll but the overriding factor is that if you want to make poker a serious income source then you have to manage it properly. There are no fixed rules for managing your bankroll as long as you minimise risk at all times. I have heard people ask, how many buy-ins do you at one level in order to avoid going broke?
Well with regards to most things in poker then the answer is really not straight forward. Much depends on how much of an edge you have and also how aggressive your style is and the game in general. In tighter games then you may get away with as little as twenty buy-ins! In fact I have spoken to numerous players whose worse downswing has been ten buy-ins at no-limit hold‘em.
If for example you are playing in a low-stakes weak-tight no limit Holdem game with blinds at $0,25/$0,50 then you may never need more than ten buy-ins! But this once again depends on your skill, how that correlates with that of your opponents and how aggressive and risky your style is. The more variance that is attached to your style then the bigger bankroll you will need.
For example, if you are constantly check-raise bluffing on drawing hands then you are going to find yourself incurring bigger swings simply because you are escalating the pots when your opponents will not always back down to pressure. But the general guidelines for playing poker at the same level indefinitely is usually around the 20 buy-in mark at the low levels.
However this rises as you move up through the levels as the poker games naturally become more aggressive anyway. In the past I have used a strict money management system to move up and down the levels depending on how much I either won or lost. Let me explain how this basically worked.
Let us say that I started at NL50 with $500 which is ten buy-ins! If I lost $250 (5 buy-ins) then I would drop down to NL25 where I would have the same ten buy-ins again. This would prevent me from playing chronically under bankrolled by remaining at NL50.
Also this would prevent you from also losing all your money playing at a level that was too tough for you. Likewise if my $500 grows to $1000 then I would move up a level to NL100 where I would have ten buy-ins again. Then if it proved too tough and I lost $500 and then went back down to $500 again then I would drop back down to NL50.
Doing this will ensure that you will almost never go broke while giving yourself a great chance to move up through the levels! I have known some players who went from playing NL50 to NL600 within the same month. This is probably too quick as there is more to moving up levels than merely having a decent sized bankroll.
You will be encountering far better players and better techniques, better mindsets and all round better poker philosophies. Many will be hardened by playing tens of thousands of hands at these levels. They will use tracking software like Poker Office or some other equivalent of its type. So you will need to get your education as well and that takes time.
But moving up and down the levels is your best defence against going broke if going broke is your ultimate objective. As usual bankroll management or the lack of it can be the making or breaking of a player.