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Bankroll Management

Bankroll Management

The critical importance of taking care of your bankroll, playing only with money you can afford to lose, at games inside your comfort zone and with clearly defined goals.

Managing a bankroll carefully is a vital skill for a successful player to learn, no matter at what level you play the game. Here are some pointers on bankroll management, which will help ensure poker is an enjoyable as well as profitable pastime.


The term "bankroll" refers to the amount of money you set aside exclusively to play poker - for example the money you have online at PokerStars. It is separate from all the other finances in your life.

No matter how big your bankroll may be, there is always a risk that you could lose it all and this should not impinge at all on any of your other day-to-day financial obligations. To keep this risk as low as possible, good bankroll management is required.


1. Never play for more money than you can afford to lose

This is the most important rule. It is always possible to lose money playing poker, even if you play every hand perfectly. Therefore you should NEVER risk an amount of money that could get you into financial trouble away from the poker table, especially if you are experiencing a downswing.

Similarly you should never put yourself in a position where your entire bankroll is on the table in a single tournament or hand. Only ever sit down with a small fraction of your bankroll at any one time.

2. Be aware of your goals

Broadly speaking, poker players fall into three groups, each with different expectations and goals in the game. It is very important that you decide what you want from poker and that you select the right level to achieve your aims.

  • Recreational players are playing mainly for fun and have other sources of income besides poker. If they lose their bankroll they can fund it with fresh money from their regular source of income.
  • Serious players are good and profitable players but do not depend only on poker for their income. It is not the end of the world if they lose their poker bankroll, but it will hurt.
  • Professional players depend on poker as their only source of income. They cannot afford to lose all their bankroll as this means they would lose their job. Therefore they must employ the strictest bankroll management techniques.

3. Do not play higher than your bankroll permits

The following information is intended to offer a good rule of thumb for bankroll requirements if you are playing sit and go tournaments and multi-table tournaments, or fixed limit Texas Hold'em . (The chart at the bottom of this page offers a general guide to bankroll requirements to play no limit Texas Hold'em cash games.)
 If you are a recreational player don't risk more than 10 per cent of your bankroll at once. If you have a bankroll of  $100, you should not be entering a tournament with a buy in of more than $10 or sitting at a cash table with more than that amount. For serious and professional players the bankroll restrictions are even tougher.
Sit and go tournaments (STTs): If you are a serious player, you should aim to have at least 30 times the tournament buy in in your bankroll before entering any STT. A professional player will need 100 buy-ins.
 For example, a serious player could play $20 STTs with a bankroll of $600 but a professional would need $2,000 in his bankroll in order to play $20 STTs.


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