Bankroll management is a very important skill to learn for a Texas Hold'em player. After all, your bankroll is your stake; it is what keeps you in the game and able to play. If your bankroll is gone you no longer have the means by which to play! By learning bankroll management techniques and the standards that most good players use, you will be able to minimize your risk of going broke, more commonly referred to as your risk of ruin.
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Game selection and bankroll requirements
Choosing a game that fits your bankroll is the first step to protecting your stake and minimizing your risk of ruin. Too many times, new players will jump into a game that is way over their ability and their bankroll. The basic rule of thumb for game choice in Limit Hold 'em is that your bankroll should be 300 times the large bet. Now remember, your bankroll is all the money you have that can be used for playing poker. It is not to be confused with your buy in, which is how much you bring to an individual session of play. Here are some examples of a proper bankroll:
Game Bankroll Required
$0.25/$0.50 Limit Hold'em $150
$0.50/$1.00 Limit Hold'em $300
$1/$2 Limit Hold'em $600
$3/$6 Limit Hold'em $1,800
This information usually comes as a shock to most new players. Most have no idea about how much money is truly required to set themselves up for success. The reason most good players choose a bankroll of at least 300 big bets is because it is enough money to withstand the inevitable swings that happen in poker. Remember, no matter how skilled you are there will always be short term bouts of bad luck and lousy cards.
You need to have enough money to withstand these times and still stay in the game. Set a goal of only playing at a level that is within your bankroll (300 big bets) and only move up when you are regularly beating that game! A special note about no limit poker is that the swings can be much worse and because of this you will need a much bigger bankroll. It is not uncommon to lose ten to twenty buy ins before you come across a winning session! Make sure you are prepared for these kinds of swings if you play no limit poker.
We briefly touched on the subject of buy in. In limit Texas hold'em, it is always a good idea to sit down for a session with about 25 times the large blind. This is a good number for many reasons in that it allows you enough money to handle most situations and it gives you some longevity. Keep in mind though for overly loose and aggressive games you may want to beef up your buy in a tad. Buying in for 25 times the big blind is also a good idea because it provides you with a manageable loss in the event the session doesn't go well.
Here are some caveats and other bankroll management tips
- These are general guidelines, adapt them to your style of play and to the game you most commonly play, they are not rigid must-follow rules.
- The best way to stop a losing session or a run of awful luck is to take a break from the game and get your mind off it.
- No bankroll is sufficient if you are a losing player. If you are not yet winning, be sure to set a comfortable budget for your gambling, as you would with any other form of entertainment.
- Moving up in limits too fast or playing at a limit that your bankroll cannot handle is a great way to ensure that you will end up broke. Don't chase your losses!