Building a Poker Bankroll is perhaps the most important aspect of a successful poker carrer. If you take poker seriously at all, then you need to have a poker bankroll. Building your poker bankroll is the first step to being able to become a winning poker player. If you are already a winning poker player and you never built a bankroll, then you have the power to become even better.
Why Build a Poker Bankroll?
The obvious reason to build a bankroll is so you can manage your money. A bankroll tells you what limits to play, and how much to play with. Playing poker can be a very dangerous game if you are not careful. A bankroll allows you to set aside your personal finances from your poker finances. You should always be very careful not to combine the two together. With a proper bankroll, you will never have to worry about what you lose. It is the smartest way to play poker consistently is by having a good bankroll.
What is a Good Bankroll?
A good bankroll to have is anywhere between 20-40 times the maximum buy in that you are playing in. Example: If you play at a $500.00 max buy in no limit hold’em cash game, then a good bankroll would be a minimum of $10,000.00. Somewhere in between $10,000.00 and $20,000.00 is a legitimate bankroll. That means that you have at least $10,000.00 to play poker with. That is money made just for poker, and poker only.
Building a Bankroll
Now that you understand the idea of building a bankroll, you need to figure out how you’re going to do it. There are several ways of building a bankroll and none of them are right or wrong. One way to build a bankroll is with poker. Of course, what better way to build your bankroll than with the game you are building it for? The hard part is that it takes a tremendous amount of discipline. Playing poker in general takes a tremendous amount of discipline itself, so that shouldn’t be a huge problem. The idea is to start off setting a goal to turn your bankroll into whatever amount you want it at. Whatever amount you can come up with now (just for poker) is your bankroll right now (which is what you will use to build it into what your goal is).
So if your goal is to get a $5,000.00 bankroll because that is what you need to play in your desired limits of poker, then that is what you keep in mind. The hard part is to understand that you only have what you have to work with. So if you have $500.00 for a bankroll, then you do not belong playing in a game that calls for a $5,000.00 bankroll. You just can’t play poker like that. You won’t be able to play your game if you are trying to build a bankroll this way.
If you have $500.00 then you start playing in a $25.00 max buy in game, (which makes your current bankroll of $500.00 a good bankroll). It will take time, but this is by far the best way to build your bankroll into the bankroll you are trying to get up to, which would be $5,000.00 with this example.
Let’s break it down
We have a bankroll of $500.00 and our goal is to increase that to $5,000.00. That will definitely take some time and discipline. The hard part is that you are going to want to move up to higher limits naturally because you can build your bankroll faster. The problem with that is you can lose your whole bankroll faster than you can say “I just lost my whole bankroll”.
So back to what we want to do...
At this point we are going to play in a $25 cash game (blinds are .10/.25). With our desired bankroll we will be up to $200 cash games with (blinds of $1/$2). Our goal is to slowly build up to that point, going from $25 - $50 - $100 - $200. If we do this the right way, it will happen, no problem. Playing NL25 will make you an average of around $12.00/hour over a long period of time. Assuming you can do the same and you play 20 hours per week – you will be profiting $240.00 per week. If you keep everything in your poker account, you will have your bankroll doubled in about two weeks (maybe much sooner if you have a good streak during those two weeks, maybe longer if you have a bad one). Within 2 weeks, you will beat $1000.00 for a bankroll, which will let you play in the $50.00 games. If the same pattern occurs, then you should have your bankroll built in about 6 weeks. Now if you think about it, building your poker bankroll in 6 weeks is not that long. Just remember that if you try to hurry it and go to higher limits before you are ready, then you will screw it up for yourself.
Learn from mistakes.
It only takes one hand to cripple your bankroll and waste all the work you have done. If you stick with the strategy outlined above, you can never lose your bankroll in one hand. Building your poker bankroll takes focus and discipline.