Bigger poker bankrolls change how you play the game
There are more reasons behind why you need to be theoretically bankrolled for a certain level than riding variance. This is the most heavily talked about reason but yet the bigger players and the players who are making better decisions are prepared for wider variance by being bankrolled to the hilt. Let us say that you are taking a shot at a new level and you have two buy-ins. Your normal level is $10-$20 but you decide to put $10,000 into Texas Holdem $25-$50 with $5000 buy-ins. You have never played this high before and in fact you haven’t been a regular at $10-$20 all that long either after moving up from $5-$10.
You decide to sit down and see if variance can smack you firmly in the face and you can maybe spin up a few buy-ins. This is fine but you are suffering from one serious handicap when you have this mindset. Firstly this player has set himself a self imposed $10k limit for this level. So in effect he basically has a $10,000 bankroll to play NL5000. This means that the knock on effect from this is that he will more than likely play defensively. The regulars at this level will already know him as a $10-$20 player who has only just moved up from $5-$10.
They may even suspect that he hasn’t got the bankroll for this level and in this instance then they would be right. So the following hand comes up and it has been folded around to our hero in the cut-off and he makes the standard raise to $150 with A-J. The loose-aggressive regular on the button calls him with 8c-6c and we see a two way flop with $375 in the middle and both stacks are deep. The flop comes Qh-Jc-4c and our hero would ideally like to take the pot down now and he certainly doesn’t want any free cards and so he bets $275.
Meanwhile the pro calls on the button with the flush draw and suddenly the pot swells to $925. The turn card is the 2h and now our hero is in something of a quandary. If he bets and gets called then the pot is becoming quite large and he still only has second pair. If he checks and his opponent makes a fair sized bet then he will have another difficult decision. He has already invested $425 in the pot already and he knows that players at these levels often float and so he decides to fire another barrel with what is probably the best hand and he makes it $550. Instead of calling or folding, the pro raises to $1600 really putting the question to our hero! With over $3k in the pot then he is essentially asking him if he wants to play for stacks.
Our hero folds and loses almost a thousand dollars in the hand and he had the best hand all along. His own fear cost him the pot and his opponent smelt that fear. But his small relative bankroll also cost him the pot and being under bankrolled costs you in poker in so many different ways.