Tips for Poker Bankroll Management
If you’re into the poker scene, you’ve probably come across the term poker bankroll management. A bankroll is the amount of funds that you have to play with; in other words — your bankroll is your poker budget. All successful poker players have one thing in common — good poker bankroll management. Not only do poker players require solid skills and knowledge of the game to play, but they also require good money management abilities. Without proper poker bankroll management, even top poker players may be at a disadvantage. The bottom line is that learning how to have good bankroll management in poker goes a long way!
What is Poker Bankroll Management?
Poker bankroll management, or BRM, is how you manage the money set aside to play poker. BRM has little to do with how you play the game or the win rate — it is all about your buy-ins and stakes. Proper poker bankroll management is vital to successful play and is instrumental in ensuring that you can stay in the game without depleting your funds too quickly.
What should your poker bankroll be?
There are many strategies and useful tools for bankroll management; unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Different poker skill levels require different tactics — we are here to cover the basics! If you are a new player looking to manage your funds responsibly, this guide and the tips below may help you make better gambling decisions. Let’s have a look at the different player categories and the fundamentals of poker bankroll management.
In general, players fall into three categories:
- professional poker players
Recreational gamblers play for fun and have another source of income other than what they earn from poker, and treat the game purely as entertainment. Serious players are experienced poker gurus who can often make their gameplay profitable through a higher win rate, but rely on another income source nonetheless. Professional players, on the other hand, depend on poker as their only source of income and so cannot afford to deplete their bankroll. These players are always playing their A-game, follow strict bankroll management techniques and are masters of poker strategy.
Before you dive into the tips and set off on your poker journey, don’t forget that you can enjoy the game and hone your skills for free! Register at LV BET to gain access to free-to-play poker demos, which are online RNG tables where all stakes and wagers are virtual. Although you will not be able to enjoy live gameplay with other players and a live dealer, you can use this mode to gain the knowledge and familiarity that is absolutely essential in higher levels of play. To access the demos, search for ‘poker’ at the Casino lobby and locate the ‘DEMO’ button. In these games, bankroll management is not a priority — as you will not lose any real funds. That said, playing for free is an excellent way to practice various poker bankroll management strategies that you may come across
To play for real money, you must wager real money too. Since poker is a game of chance, the risk of losing money is inherent to every game. If you wish to give it a shot after practising in free demos, you can do so in several ways. One option is to play at a land-based casino local to you. Keep in mind that brick-and-mortar casinos often have a limited number of seats and strict rules (including table etiquette) which may not be intuitive to newcomers. Another option is to take your gameplay online, where you will have greater flexibility, nearly unlimited seating and plenty of games to choose from. To play at an online casino, you must have a registered account and sufficient funds to play with — your bankroll!
When playing poker online, you will have several choices. The first is RNG, or First-Person poker games. These games are the real-money alternatives to free demos, where you can wager against the algorithm. There are no live dealers in these games and no real players to share the table with. An advantage of playing RNG poker is the less strict time constraints and the option to play multiple hands at once (not available across all games, check the rules of the game to make sure).
The second option is to experience poker gameplay at its best — through a Live Casino. These bustling poker tables are packed with action and offer an authentic casino experience. Hosted by a live dealer, live poker tables bring the best of traditional casino gameplay to the convenience of online play. On top of easy access to game rules, hand rankings and betting history, you can enjoy the same dynamic gameplay alongside other poker enthusiasts. Live poker games may seem intimidating to newcomers, as they often have strict (and somewhat short) betting windows. Fortunately, taking a seat at an online poker table does not mean that you have to participate in every round! If you are feeling a little overwhelmed or simply need a break, just sit back and enjoy the game from the sidelines. There are no negative consequences to skipping a few rounds, and you can use this time to familiarise yourself with the game’s rules and bonus bets, if any are available. You can also pose questions directly to the live dealer or to other players through the Live Chat function.
That said, let’s have a look at a few bankroll management tips that will be useful to players of all skill levels.
Poker Bankroll Management Tips
Tip #1 — Establish your bankroll
To increase your poker bankroll, you must first establish your playing budget. Make sure to separate your bankroll from your personal finances; this is your entertainment budget, not an investment. Treat your poker bankroll like you would an outing to the cinema or the theatre, and do not expect to see a return of these funds. Never play cash games with money that you cannot afford to lose.
Tip #2 — Stick to your budget
Always play within your poker bankroll, especially if you’re a beginner. If you are doing well and see a handful of decent wins or a positive win rate, it may be tempting to increase your stakes. Be wary of upping the ante, as higher stakes can (and will) result in larger losses too. How will you know if your poker bankroll is ready for higher stakes? This really depends on the game, your playstyle and your established budget. Always play within your means!
Tip #3 — Be wary of variance and multiple bets
Variance (also referred to as “swings”) is the measure of uncertainty, which accounts for the wins and losses in poker. In other words, poker variance is the downswings and upswings you will experience when playing poker. It is expected that your poker bankroll will decrease and increase as you play more hands and games, especially since different poker games have varied betting markets.
Additionally, if you are playing Live Casino poker games, you will encounter a variety of bonus bets. Bonus bets often have higher payouts, but don’t forget that these additional bets may deplete your bankroll faster. Don’t underestimate the element of chance and avoid going broke by taking the variance into account.
Tip #4 — Avoid risky moves
Keep in mind that if you are on a losing streak, there is no guarantee that this streak will end. Do not make any desperate moves in an attempt to recuperate your losses and recover from a hit to your bankroll. This is especially important in competitive play, don’t let the game’s variance tilt you — stick to your financial means, your strategy and have fun. Never gamble in an attempt to win big! Poker is a game of skill AND chance; thus, losses are inevitable.
Tip #5 — Decrease your stakes when necessary
Don’t be afraid to lower your stakes! If you ever feel like your stakes are too high and you would like to slow down, there is no shame in lowering your betting limit until you feel comfortable to raise it again. Betting a smaller portion of your bankroll will result in smaller wins, but this means that your losses will be smaller too. While you may not fully recover from a losing streak, lowering your bets can help keep you in the game longer. Betting small and consistently can be a very advantageous strategy, as it allows for greater control of your bankroll and decreases the financial risk you take when gambling.
Tip #6 — Build your bankroll gradually
Slow and steady wins the race, and consistency is key. Playing aggressively can be a viable poker strategy, but starting out with smaller buy-ins and lower stakes may be more advantageous to you in the long run. While your wins will be relatively smaller, this is a cost-effective strategy to manage your bankroll and ensure that you are able to avoid substantial losses during your gameplay. If you are a new player, this approach may be the most appropriate for your skill level and will allow you to enjoy the game without feeling the burden of significant financial losses.
Tip #7 — Keep track of your gameplay
Regardless of which game you choose to play, it is important to keep track of your betting. One of the advantages of playing at an online casino is easy access to your comprehensive betting history, which can often be found directly on the user interface of the game. Looking over your betting patterns and gameplay choices will help you make better, more responsible decisions in the future. This way, you can easily review your previous moves and figure out what you did right (or wrong) to help you improve your gameplay in the next round.
Online casinos also offer a handful of Responsible Gaming tools for your convenience, which can help you manage session duration, wins/losses and deposit amounts. Making use of these tools will help you improve your win rate and manage your casino gameplay in all cash games, not just in poker!
Tip #8 — Do your research and utilise online tools
One of the most important factors in being a successful poker player is the knowledge of the game. Before trying out a new game, always research the rules of play, betting markets and strategy. If you are playing online, bookmark useful links and tools that can help you improve your gameplay. Some of the resources you may wish to consider are poker hand rankings, variance calculators, push/fold calculators, equity tables and bankroll management tools. You will also find gameplay strategies, training videos and live coaching sessions — use these to your advantage and see how you can improve your win rate!
Tip #9 — Be mindful of tournament buy-ins
If you are interested in playing in poker tournaments, online or offline, be mindful of buy-ins. Buying in is the process of entering a tournament by making a fixed payment. A portion of this payment is the rake (a fee paid to the house), and the rest is attributed to the prize pool. The more participants enrol in the tournament, the greater the prize pot will be. If you are a relatively inexperienced player or new to competitive play, then look for tournaments with lower buy-ins. Check out multi table tournaments (MTTs) if you are just starting out, these tournaments feature relatively low buy-ins, poker prize pots that are relatively large and a virtually unlimited number of seats with multi-table leaderboards. Like Sit and Go’s, multi table tournaments are a great way to take your competitive gameplay to the next level.
Tip #10 — Avoid unnecessary expenses
If you are playing cash games at a land-based casino or tournament venue, don’t overspend! The perks of playing at a brick-and-mortar establishment can be a disadvantage to your bankroll. The costs of snacks, drinks and massages (yes, there are casinos where you can get pampered while you play!) may bring you momentary satisfaction, but they will also eat away at your bankroll.
Tip #11 — Utilise a cash out strategy
When playing poker, it is important to have a cash out strategy — and sticking to it. This is especially imperative to experienced gamblers and those who enjoy poker on a professional level. Regardless of whether you are playing recreationally or not, knowing when to cash out will help you increase your bankroll and avoid unnecessary losses, even if you have an incredible win rate. We recommend researching a handful of strategies and giving them a go in free-to-play demos online. There are plenty of online tools at your disposal, so make sure that you cover all the bases before diving into gameplay with real stakes.
Tip #12 — Choose the right poker game for you
Are you looking to play poker recreationally with a group of friends or as a hobby? Or perhaps you want to build a solid foundation that will allow you to play poker competitively in the future? Regardless of your intentions, choosing the right game can make or break your poker experience. Don’t hesitate to try out a variety of games before you commit to real wagers, there are many variants of poker available and not all may be to your liking! Online casinos are perfectly suited for this task, as they offer you the option to play an extensive variety of poker games and other online cash games. At online casinos like LV BET, you will find popular poker games like Texas hold ‘em, Three Card Poker, Caribbean Stud and many others. On top of that, you can also give it a go in games with unique twists and turns, like Side Bet City or Texas hold ‘em Bonus, to experience all that poker has to offer.
Stick to games that you feel most comfortable participating in at your current skill level to keep the balance healthy. If you’re not enjoying a particular game, there’s no harm in trying out something new — you never know which poker game may catch your fancy! On top of that, your familiarity with different poker games will help you gain a better understanding of the inner workings of this entertaining card game and will, undoubtedly, improve your gameplay over time.
How many buy-ins should your bankroll be?
Always stay within your budget! If you are a recreational poker player, it is advised not to spend more than 10% of your bankroll at once. For example, if you have a bankroll of €200 (or currency equivalent), then you should not have a buy-in of more than €20. More experienced players employ different bankroll management strategies, since they either partially or fully rely on poker as their source of income. For competitive play, it is advised to have a bankroll of at least 30x to 50x the buy-in.
How do I manage my online poker bankroll?
When it comes to mastering the game of poker and managing your bankroll, knowledge is key. Before you get started on your poker journey, make sure to do your research and learn as much as you can about the game. There are plenty of articles and downloadable tools online that can help you gain a better understanding of the game’s rules and poker bankroll management strategies.
Don’t take unnecessary risks and get started on the right foot by reading more about poker hand rankings, gameplay strategies and other intricacies of the game. The good news is that you can do all of that at LV BET! Check out our blog for more comprehensive guides on poker, roulette, blackjack and other casino games. You will find informative articles and strategy guides, along with the option to practice your skills as you learn. Our Casino and Live Casino portfolios offer plenty of fantastic poker games for you to try, including the ever-popular Texas hold ‘em, Caribbean Stud and other poker cash games. Our games range from standard RNG tables to vibrant live studios, where you can enjoy unparalleled poker gameplay along with hundreds of poker players from all over the world. Our online poker demos are especially helpful for beginners, and accessing them is pretty simple too. All you need to do is hover over the thumbnail of one of our RNG poker games and press the ‘DEMO’ button. Keep in mind, though, demos are only available to registered LV BET players.
Stay tuned for even more poker tips and tricks and test them out in real play to improve your gameplay and to become the best poker player you can be!