Micro Stakes Bankroll Management

Proper bankroll management is the foundation of online poker play and should be one of your main concerns, when just starting out. It's not only poker, where managing money is of first importance. Without doing so in life or just about any business, you have a high risk of ruin and the very same also applies to poker. You should treat poker like a business, as if you work hard enough it can be exactly that world class money making business.
You are probably expecting that one golden rule changing the world and the way you view poker, but that's just not going to happen. So what is a proper bankroll management? The answer will almost always be that it depends. It highly depends on yourself as a player and what poker is to you. It also depends on the games you're looking to play. Finally, it depends on how much of a ''life roll'' you have and what happens in the even of you busting your poker bankroll. Lets take a step by step guide through all these aspects.

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What's Poker to You?

So what's poker to you? Is it just a way to have fun or are you viewing it as a chance to earn some extra money? Both of these are somewhat similar and who said that you can't have fun by following some rules? Though, as a player who plays once or twice a month, there's no need for a serious bankroll. You can just deposit what you can afford to spend so you wouldn't have any negative emotions. If poker is a way to make some extra money, you should be looking at it way differently, though.

Games You Are Looking to Play

Bankroll guidelines also change depending on the poker type that you will be playing. You see, some poker variations feature more of the statistical variance and deviation than others. Thus, you also have to adjust the size of your bankroll to them. No Limit Cash Games might be a game with the lowest variance. Especially if you're up for playing the full-ring tables. On the other hand, omaha is known for having really wild swings, thus you have to be prepared and use a more conservative bankroll approach.

Aspects to determine the optimal bankroll size

If you're looking at poker as a full time profession, basically a job, then there are a couple of aspects that will help you to determine how you should manage your bankroll.
  • Are you well experienced? Do you have years of experience and a real poker background or do you just feel that you can beat the games?
  • What's your win-rate? The higher your win rate is, the less swings you'll experience. If you are a break even player and all of your money comes from rakeback or bonuses, it's worth considering taking a safer approach.
  • What games will you be playing? Cash Game players will need less money in terms of buy-ins, when compared to multi table tournament players. The latter is especially true, if you play tournaments with thousands of entrants.
  • Do you have a backup plan? If you bust what's in your account, can you make another deposit? Do you have money for living expenses? All of these questions have to be answered with positive answers, if you are looking to try and take up a carer as a professional poker player.

The Rules

Even though I said that there aren't any rules set in stone and it always depends, there actually are some very basic guidelines. Don't use these as something that applies to everyone, but instead as a foundation for a solid bankroll management.
  • No Limit Hold'em cash game players should have at least 50 buy-ins for the stakes they desire to play, given that they are willing to take poker up professionally or semi-professionally.
  • Pot Limit Omaha cash game players should have at least 100 buy-ins for their limits, also given that they are serious about the game.
  • Multi Table Tournament players should have at least 150 buy-ins for the limits they desire to play. If you play a variety of stakes, calculate the average buy-in and 150 times that is what your bankroll should be like.
Some people might see these rules as nitty, but from my experience, there isn't much of a worse feeling than when you go broke. I'd rather be careful, than broke and you should think the same way.