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A Loser's Bankroll

By: jergul @ 06:24 (EST) / 457 / Comment ( 5 )




Most of us (in a generalized sense) lose money playing poker online. I do for sure and I am ok with that. Some must lose for others to win and we still have to pay the house for services provided even if we otherwise might squeek by with a marginal profit.

Here is how I look at it. First off, PokerSchool Online has created a lot of goodwill for Pokerstars. I really value the services and help I have access to here and that has led me to view the Pokerstar rake as my way of giving a friendly and dedicated waiter a nice tip after a good dinner (I cannot say live dealer alas as I have never played live). Which is nice, not only for Pokerstars, but also for myself. Begrudging the house its revenue is probably not conductive to the poker mindset I aspire to.

But I still need to face the fact that poker costs me money and that has to impact on my bankroll requirements somehow.

Standard bank roll recommendations are for winning players and are meant to provide cover for inevitable downswings cause by statistical variance. I rather suspect a winning player in this sense is amongst the top 20% of players in this or that price range. My  2-week spreadsheet results (don't laugh, I know there are tools out there. I am just not using them. I like my spreadsheets) tell me I am in the 35-45% range including the warping 100k and open league mtts I have played. So yah, I am losing money.

So how much can I lose? The answer here is bound to be individual, but is certainly worth thinking through. In my case I decided my poker money will always come from the joint account shared with my wife. This for reasons of transparency. I figure I am in trouble if I ever feel the need to hide what I am losing, so simply made this rule as a failsafe with wife as my warning whistle that blows at excessive transfer rates.

In truth she is going to start asking questions way before transfers are meaningful in an economic household budget sense. So I want to avoid that unpleasantness for sure. My gut feeling tells me a transfer a month is fine. A transfer more often than that is probably not fine (this simply because we are paid monthly in Norway, 1 poker bill a month is ok. Multiple will probably upset her, no matter how small the transfers are).

So I have two qualifiers:

1. The money cannot be meaningful (scared money I think its called)
2. I cannot lose a full bankroll more than once a month.

So for the numbers:

More than this or that amount of dollars starts to mean something. So bankroll is no bigger than so.
100% x 4.2 weeks a month = 23,8%, rounded down to 20%

Week 1 (playing standardbankroll recommendations) = 32% of bankroll loss
Week 2 (lowered playing limits significantly) = 12,5% of bankroll loss (adjusted to weekly rate)

The improvement in loss rate is likely due to my both playing a bit better relative to my opponents and of course by lower stakes lowering how much I lose relative to my bankroll. 12,5% is less than 20%, so I am happy at this level.

I don't like adjusting my playing limits more than once a week as there is bound to be a certain amount of variance impacting on my results.  At worst I lose my bankroll and have to wait until the end of month before playing again. I can live with that and the likelihood of that happening seems pretty small.

My  point is really that many of us need to accept that poker is a losing proposition. Our motivations for playing need to be different (learning and enjoyment are probably two healthy reasons) and we need to adapt our bankroll requirements to reflect what loss rate we are comfortable with.

To you winners out there: Enjoy the money. Cheers :)




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