Poker Bankroll Management
Professional poker players can make a lot of money playing poker online. A typical NL100 ($0.5/$1) low stakes player can make upwards of $30,000 per year depending on how often he plays. Mid-stakes players can make much more than this, even up to $1 million per year. Leading professional poker players like Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey easily surpass these figures, and they are used to being involved in single hands worth more than $500,000 unbelievably.
Even though you can make money playing poker however, it is not without its risks. Playing optimal poker strategy with +EV is very profitable in the long run, but you still have to be aware of the risks from playing, after all poker is a game based around luck and which card turns over next.
To prevent “luck” becoming an issue and risking your poker bankroll, every winning poker player will utilise something that is known as bankroll management. Bankroll management is a common term and strategic topic for sports betting, craps and other types of gambling too.
Poker bankroll management involves limiting the amount of your bankroll that you risk at any one time, in order to isolate yourself from the risks and bad beats of playing poker. Even when you make the correct “move” in poker, such as moving all-in with KK vs AJ, you are still susceptible to a string of bad beats. In situations like these where you are a 70% favourite to win the hand pre-flop, you will still be expected to lose once every three times. If you are unlucky, you might even lose 5 times in a row with a hand like this, hence you need to limit how much of your bankroll is exposed to these sort of risks.
When playing cash games, you should only be sitting at a table with a maximum of 5% of your roll at any one time. This means that if you have a total bankroll of $1,000 (the amount that you are prepared to lose and commit to the game) then you should only be playing with a maximum of $50 at each table. This allows you to lose a few buy-ins and get unlucky without going bankrupt or losing massive amounts of money. It is what you can afford to lose in the short-term without it ruining your finances.
Normally, when you sit down at a no limit holdem cash game, you should buy-in with 100xBBs. If the big blind is worth $2 than you should enter the game with $200. This size of stack allows you to play deep stack strategy and take a few hits and swings with hands that don’t connect to the board. You’re not going to win every hand or make top pair that you call the blinds with, so you have to allow for this sort of thing.
In MTTs, you need to be able to afford 100 buy-ins for a particular tournament. So, if you want to play a $5 buy-in MTT than you need to have at least $500 behind you. The figure is so big because MTTs are notoriously difficult to finish highly in and make money from – plus you only have one chip stack to lose since you cannot re-buy.