Did you know that it is entirely probable that a winning poker player can be broke almost all the time? How can this be, you may ask. Well the answer is a simple one. Those who do not practice good bankroll management are usually destined to be broke poker players, regardless of how good they may play. It is estimated that only about ten percent of poker players world wide are winning poker players. Don’t let all your studying and hard work go to waste by practicing poor bankroll management. So what is a bankroll, and how should you go about maintaining one? Don’t worry, it is actually a pretty easy thing to understand, and much harder to follow, but if you learn bankroll management and have the discipline to practice it, you will be setting yourself up for success.


A bankroll is the money you have set aside to play poker. It is not your daily paycheck, your life savings, your grocery money, or money that you use for everyday living. It is a specific amount of money set aside for the sole purpose to play poker. Your poker bankroll is not something you should bring to one session of poker. This rule is extremely important, because no matter how good you play, an unlucky card or two can have you beat and suddenly you no longer have a poker bankroll. You can think of your poker bankroll as made up of multiple session bankrolls, or several buy ins to various games of a certain limit. Many beginners make the mistake of depositing a few hundred dollars into an online poker game and using all of that money for one game, when in reality they should be playing smaller games and making that initial deposit last so that combined with good poker play, they can make their bankroll grow and move up in limits. So how much money do you need for a bankroll? Well it all depends. Let us say as a beginning poker player you have saved up three hundred dollars with the specific purpose of playing poker with it. While three hundred dollars may not be a whole lot of money for a live poker player, it is plenty of money for the beginning online player, and we will use the amount of three hundred dollars in our examples for bankroll management.


A good rule of thumb passed on to serious poker players throughout the years is to have at least three hundred times the big blind for any limit hold em game. So if you are playing limit hold em and have three hundred dollars set aside as your bankroll, you would want to play no higher than 50cent/one dollar hold em. The big blind in that game is one dollar, so the three hundred dollars you have set aside is precisely three hundred times that game’s big blind. Limit games usually let you bring an unlimited amount to the table, but do not ever bring your entire bankroll to the game. Besides the fact you will look like an amateur or jerk bringing three hundred dollars to one session of fifty cent one dollar hold em, it can also cause you to play too loose, and to keep you playing a losing session longer than you should. Anywhere from fifteen to thirty times the big blind should be fine for a limit session depending on how aggressive or tight you play. This will allow you to have a few losing sessions and still have enough money in the bankroll to be able to keep playing during a bad streak until you start winning again, with no fear that your last dollar is at stake. There is nothing worse in the world of poker than knowing that your entire bankroll is at risk in one game on the turn of one card. If you follow this beginner’s guide on bankroll management, you won’t ever have to worry about that feeling.


The most popular poker games out today seem to be the big bet games like no limit hold em, pot limit omaha, and in some cases pot limit hold em. These games often have situations arise where a player’s entire stack is at risk on any given hand. This is why it is extremely important to never enter a big bet game with your entire bankroll. Losing your entire stack in a no limit hold em game because of a miracle two outer is frustrating enough, but when that two outer not only takes your stack, but your entire bankroll, you will never feel more sick as a poker player. If you practice good bankroll management, then losing a stack in a game will never be the end of your poker career. So what kind of bankroll is needed for these popular big bet games? For a winning player, thirty buy ins should be adequate for big bet poker. For example, using the three hundred dollar bankroll as an example would let you play the ten dollar maximum buy in games online. These would be the two cent five cent games which allow for a maximum of a ten dollar buy in. As a winning player, thirty buy ins should be plenty to cushion you from a few bad sessions while building your bankroll. However as the limits go up in online poker, the maximum buy ins usually decrease. For example, in the next buy in level of play, ten cent/ twenty five cent, the maximum buy in is twenty five dollars, or one hundred times the big blind. The ups and downs and short term luck involved in games like pot limit omaha and no limit hold em can be very dramatic and stressful when you are on a losing streak, but if you are properly bankrolled and know you are playing good poker, you should have much more confidence to help ride through the tough times.


Sit n gos are quite popular online and many people specialize specifically in those. Because the sit n go is a relatively new poker phenomenon, there have been several ideas on what a winning player should have as their bankroll. Some people say as low as twelve buy ins, with some others going as high as fifty. The fact is that the more buy ins you have, the safer you will be from short term bad luck and losing streaks, but at the same time if you are a winning poker player and you have too many buy ins set aside for the sit n gos, there is a good chance you can be safely be playing a higher level and making more money, which is what every poker player’s number one goal should be. A good bankroll for a beginner playing sit n gos is about thirty buy ins. A winning poker player should be pretty safe with thirty sit n go buy ins as a bankroll, and should be able to ride out a losing streak.

Multi table tournaments are a huge and worldwide popular poker format, and being a successful multi table tournament player can bring not only great riches, but also popularity and poker celebrity. Unfortunately, because of the large fields in tournaments and the nature of their play, these games have extremely high variance, and it can be very hard to even know if you are a winning player until you play countless tournaments unless you hit a hot streak right off the bat. The swings of multi table poker tournament play is so great that several of the famous poker players that you see on television, who play multi table tournaments exclusively, are often broke and or have a backer who pays their buy ins for a percentage of their winnings plus collects the buy ins from the past tournaments they staked the players in. Some players will win a huge tournament only to have to give almost all of it to their backer in the form of half the score plus previous tournament buy ins where they did not cash. If you plan on playing multi table tournaments exclusively, with your own bankroll, you are going to need about a hundred buy ins to stay safe. With the three hundred dollar bankroll we used as an example earlier, this would have you playing three dollar tournaments. My advice to players who just want to occasionally play a multi table tournament is to either try to satellite in or to set a small portion of your winnings aside and consider the buy in as a present to yourself. Again, for the beginner who wants to play multi table tournaments exclusively, you are going to need a hundred buy ins at the minimum and a little good luck on your side.


As stated previously, bad bankroll management is such a huge weakness, that it can make the best poker player in the world a broke poker player. Following the guidelines above in regards to bankroll management, and staying disciplined about it will put you head and shoulders above players who have no regard for bankroll. You will know during a losing streak that it is simply part of the game, and be confident to know that you have the bankroll to ride it out. And the combination of winning poker play and good bankroll management will have your bankroll growing in no time.