Monday, January 31, 2011

How big should your bankroll be?

A common question on poker forums and in poker magazines is from players asking how large their bankroll should be for a specific stake. Like most questions about poker the correct answer is “it depends.” There are so many variables in poker that what is the correct answer for one person could be completely wrong for another, but below are some guidelines for various games and variants.

The most popular form of online poker, whether using the betfair promo or not, is short-handed no limit Hold'em so it only seems fair to start with this discipline first. When I first started playing poker a few years ago there were people who said 20 buying, that is the most you can buy in for which is usually 100 times the big blind, but in today's game you need a little more than that. As the aggression of player and skill levels have increased so has the variance and therefore your bankroll requirements. I would suggest at least 30 buy-ins for short handed games but you could probably get away with 20 at the full ring games.

Those looking ahead to Betfair Poker Live note that another popular form of Hold'em is sit 'n' go tournaments (SNG), another discipline that has become much more difficult to win at due to the increased skill levels of players and the information that is available on how to play them mathematically perfectly. They are still beatable but you should now have around 65 buying, including rake, as a SNG bankroll and even then you should be prepared to move down when the inevitable downswing hits.

Multi-table tournaments carry the highest variance of them all and the days of needing a 100 buyin, including rake, bankroll are long gone. Ideally you should have at least 200 buyins in your MTT bankroll if you want to ride out the extreme swings in results that tournaments produce!

Other factors that should influence your bankroll size include whether or not you can afford to reload should you lose or is this money the last available to play with. Obviously if you cannot afford to reload then you need to be more conservative with your bankroll than someone with an abundance of funds available. Another fact is how you handle the swings mentally. If you tilt easily then keeping a larger roll should help prevent this from happening regularly than a shorter roll would.

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