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Bankroll strategy for zero to hero threads

By: Ovalman @ 09:03 (EST) / 191 / Comment ( 6 )

I was at loggerheads with JWK over a point on another Blog about bankroll strategy. JWK recommended winning 100 buy ins before taking the money to real money tables. This is a good strategy but it's also not the best  in my eyes.

When I first joined Pokerstars back in 2004 I deposited £20 and duly lost the lot playing $5 Sit and Go's (around 6 buy ins back then). This was horrible bankroll management. I didn't touch the software again for over a year until someone needed £20 on another site so I swapped funds on Pokerstars to reciprocate. I played $1 SnG's (around 25 buy ins) and have never deposited again. (That is not a true statement as I've deposited to get free goodies from Stars but I've always withdrawn plus a little profit again once I met the requirements.)

100 buy ins is a very good and liberal amount to start with but only if you deposit with your own money. I'll tell you why it's a bad decision if you want to build a bankroll from zero.

I've been a freeroller most of my poker "career". When I first started, I quickly discovered that all sites gave free money and prizes games to entice you in. I once spoke to a poker site's rep who told me there was a big correlation from running freerolls and deposits on sites so they definitely do the job for the poker site. For the average player this is fine but for players like me they are a way to build a bankroll from absolute nothing.

I'll admit I've never done the zero to hero challenge on Stars but as JWK proved it is possible. I've never been low enough to need to play freerolls on Stars but on other sites I have done it. In 2016 I started with zero on several sites and with good play and a decent startegy I've turned absolutely nothing into $1,000 withdrawals. One thing I didn't do was wait until I had 100 buy ins to play real money games.


And I won't, as I don't need to

Any money won would be brought straight to real money tables. I've said in a past blog that no amount of bankroll will stop you going broke if you play losing poker. 100 buy ins will never be enough as you will have to deposit again. You will never know where you stand until you try out real money tables and building up 100 buy ins will never stop you going broke.

Similarly if you're a winning player then your missing out on value by keeping your funds away from the tables. You're also missing out on player points and other promotions like the Premier League by not generating player points.

There is one ocassion however where I would consider not playing. If I deposited before and lost the funds (like I did originally) then I would claw my deposit back and withdraw until I was net zero again.

When I did bring my funds to real money tables I'd also be VERY aggressive with my bankroll management. I said in that past blog that bankroll management should only mean something when the stakes do not matter or games become difficult. Remember this is free money you are playing with, if you lose it you are net zero, don't worry if you go broke. Just open up another freeroll and start again.

Getting away from freerolls is so important. You want to do it as quickly as possible. In freerolls the numbers are huge, prizes are small and player treat these games like bingo. Get away from them ASAP.

I'd by-pass games like the 2c 990 games. These are rake free which is good but they only pay 1 in 20 places and the bingo aspect makes it more suited to the unskilled player.

As I'm an OK SnG player, I'd take a shot with only 1 buy in at a 50c Sit and Go. If I lost so be it, I'd wait until I had another shot and another and another, somewhere down the line I know I'd win. I'd keep playing until I got established at these. I'd take a shot at $1.50 with 10 buy ins and keep playing until I had 20 or so buy ins to take a shot at $3.50. Taking shots with a limited bankroll is so important.

Using the 100 buy in strategy for this would take months if not years to achieve.

One player who I know has used the bankroll I suggest (and I admire very much) is Mantelo on Pokerstars;


He started on absolute zero and paid his way into the WSOP this year. Unfortunately for PSO he blogs elsewhere but it goes to show what is possible if you put your mind to it.

Remember do what works for you. It has worked this year for me.


I joined what I thought was a Premier League game last week only to discover near the final table it was a Qualifier Doh! I've only played one Premier league game so far as my time has been limited and finished top half so a promising start. I'll have to knuckle down in these and meet my quota but there's still time left. I'm not bothered about cashing as I only qualify for a 20VPP prize but staying in the PL is vital.

I also played my local live pub game last night and chopped first place. I was disappointed with calling a flush draw and hitting as I didn't have odds. My live game sucks at times but it also shows that my experience playing online helped me a lot as my opponents made a lot more mistakes than I did. That's my first live game in a long time, I prefer it online as it doesn't cost you drinks ect and you can just open another table when you lose.




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