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10 Tips to Improve your Poker Bankroll

October 25, 2019
by PokerStarsSchool

Poker Bankroll Management (BM) – what is it? It is simply one of the most powerful skills (if not the most important) to succeed and become a good poker player, though lots of  beginner players underestimate it. Here are some tips to ensure that you make a correct poker bankroll management since the first day.

Bankroll is the amount of money which you decide to allocate to play poker (e.g. in your cashier on PokerStars). Bankroll Management allows you to decide how you use (manage) your bankroll. It is a very important skill but a lot of players ignore it. In this article you will find some tips how to do it well or better than before. Remember: Bankroll is not the amount of chips you have at the poker table. This is called your poker stack.

1. Do not invest all your money in one tournament or cash game

When you play poker you should remember about variance and even though you might play well, you can lose the game. If you go all-in preflop with AA and someone calls with KK, in the long run you win in about 80% times, but in 20% you lose. So if you invest all your bankroll during this situation you will lose all your money every five times. To avoid this, try to invest only a small part of your bankroll in any one game.

2. Set your own target

Try to decide what do you want from poker. If you play just for fun from time to time you do not need a very big bankroll. But if you want to play more regularly you should decide to be more conservative, especially if you want to be a professional. Bankroll is your “tool” to work. If you lose all of it, you won’t be able to earn money.

3. Separate your bankroll from your other finance

When you set aside an amount that you have decided to play poker with it will be easier (you now know how much money you spend (on poker), and feel safer and more comfortable playing with it.

Remember: Do not spend money on poker that can get you into financial trouble!

4. Decide what kind of game do you want to play

Cash games require different  bankroll rules than Sit & Go’s or MTT’s. The same situation applies to “no limit”, “pot limit” or “fixed limit” games and also with “regular”, “turbo” or “hyper-turbo” tournaments.

5. Define your poker style

There’s no such thing as a ‘proper’ poker style and your strategy should depend on the situation on the poker table at the time. But probably you are able to define if you prefer tight or loose style and how aggressive you are. The looser and the more aggressive you are, the bigger bankroll you should have (because the variance is bigger).

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6. Multi-tabling needs more buy-ins

You cannot play 10 tables if you have only 8 buy-ins. It is pretty obvious, but 10 buy-ins is also not enough. Why? Because you invest all your money at the same time. It’s like using all of your bankroll in one cash game. The risk is too big.

7. Get to know your opponents

Try to define the average level of your opponents and also how is your return on investment (ROI) on the limit. If your opponents are weak and you have high ROI you need smaller bankroll than in opposite situation.

8. Be ready to go down when something goes wrong

If you are on downswing or not ready to play on the limit, try to leave the stakes (there is no shame in leveling down, so don’t worry. It is not a failure but a quite common thing) and rebuild your bankroll. After doing it you can try to attack the higher limit again. Do not play higher stakes than your bankroll permits. If you stay too long with not enough bankroll, you might  lose all your money.

9. Set the rules how you want to attack the higher stakes

There are some different systems:

Example 1:  You play NL10 with 30BI=$300 and decide to attack a new limit (NL16) when you get 30BI on new one =$480.

Example 2: You play NL10 with 30BI=$300 and decide to attack a new limit (NL16) when you have $380. $80 is the amount which you spend on a new limit (5BI). If you lose it ($80) you come back to lower stakes and try to earn new $80 and then attack higher again.

Example 3: You play NL10 and add some tables form NL16.

Example 4: When you decide to play NL16 you reduce a number of tables and thanks to it you need fewer BI than you play the same number of tables on NL10.

10. Be aware of your skills

If you win a lot of money in one tournament or promotion don’t go to high stakes immediately. The size of your bankroll doesn’t define your skill level. Try to climb stakes step by step and get proper knowledge and the rest of your big winning invest in different way.

You have just read 10 Tips to Improve your Poker Bankroll. This subject is very individual. Some players need 20BI but others on the same stakes will need 40BI. Remember about your comfort zone. Do not play when you do not feel comfortable. “Playing scary money” does not optimize your poker decision. But if you want to go on higher stakes sometimes you must exit the comfort zone.


There isn’t ultimate Bankroll. You must decide which would be the best for you. It is important to set your own rules how to manage poker money and how to move up or down through the stakes. Remember that poker is connected with variation and suitable BM will help you to survive during a downswing.

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