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Bankroll Management

Bankroll Management
by K. Swope of

Bankroll management is a vital part of the poker body and in most cases can be considered the heart of the beast. Money is the one aspect that any player needs to compete. So, without the proper bankroll management most of the competition is left without a place to play. It may have happened to you once before, may be more than once, or perhaps you were part of the fortunate group that withstood busting out. In any case much can be learned of the benefits that come with managing your money correctly.

Like any business venture, there must be clear and underlining rules that need to be established, and cohered to throughout all aspects and avenues of said business. For the majority of people; poker is a hobby and not a money making proprietorship. You will come across the occasional player that claims to win more than they lose but in all honesty no one could be certain without making logs or journals of all their play.

Therefore, to begin, a file must be created to track every game, session, and tournament you partake.

There are many ways to document how your earnings and loses can be organized. Typically for cash games or ring games your profit divided by your time at the table can give you an hourly rate made each session. You can choose to track only your profit or lose for the whole day to give yourself a weekly or monthly average as well.


For tournaments, by taking your win or lose amount and dividing it by all your buy in amounts, rebuys and add ons made; you will receive a percentage number that stands as the “Return on investment” or ROI for your overall play. ($14,890 in wins / $1820 in buy ins = 8.1813186_ or 818% roi)

Once you have determined how you will track your play it is most important that you set guidelines for yourself that you cannot falter from when deciding how much of your money you should use for each session or tournament.

On average a player will reach a paid spot in a given tournament 10% of the time. If using this as a sample guide you may determine that you will not buy in to a tournament for more then 1/10 of your bankroll. You could also use this as a guide for buying into a cash game. The object here is to keep from spreading your money out too thin and risking the chance of busting out. By setting more strict standards you allow for more variance in results and less risk. You must keep in mind however that once you buy in and have only 9/10 units available that the potential hazard of busting out increases 10 fold. You may want to set a standard at which you drop the buy-in amounts of your games when you reach, say, 5/10 units remaining. Dropping by 50% of your original buy in amount(s) you again will have a new 10/10 units to work with.

Whatever method you choose the most important factor is not to deviate from your plan. Try to set reasonable goals that can be achieved in a realistic amount of time. Doing so will help build your confidence and your bankroll.

Always remember, your overall objective in this plan is to refrain from depleting your supply of ammunition since you will need money to keep your heart alive.


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