Poker Bankroll Management - How To Properly - with isnortbooze

Anyone who has considered the notion of professional poker should already be well aware that proper bankroll management is one of the biggest keys to success.

Anyone who has considered the notion of professional poker should already be well aware that proper bankroll management is one of the biggest keys to success. That's because luck plays such a huge role in the game. You can be the best player in the world, playing completely mistake-free and you will go on downswings.

If you are a tournament player, those downswings can last several months. In order to be prepared to handle those losses, you need to have a system in place to avoid going broke. I am going to talk a little bit about my system, as well as share some of my experiences from 13 years of professional poker. My system isn't going to work for everyone and you may need to tweak it slightly based on your personality and playing style, but it is a good general guideline and if you follow it, you will never go broke.


The number of buy-ins you need for each type of game depends highly on the amount of variance that exists in that game. I will give a description of each type of game and the number of recommended buy-ins to have.

Multi-Table Tournaments: The general rule of thumb is that you want to have 100-200 buy-ins in your bankroll for your average tournament buy-in. So if your average buy-in is $10, you need to have a bankroll of at least $1000. However, these rules were written for people who are playing on sites with 50,000+ active players playing in tournaments with at least 500 people in them. Betcoin and the Winning Poker Network tournaments it hosts are still growing and while some of the tournaments get that many players, the majority have 100-500 players. Because of this, I recommend having at least 75 buyins in your bankroll. A great tournament player will cash 20% of multi-table tournaments and any gambler knows that you can lose a 20% shot many, many times in a row. Another variable in this is based on your style of play. My style of play is to not worry so much about getting in the money, compared to winning the whole thing. Because of this, I have more straight up losses and more deep runs. If you are the type of player who goes for the cash first, then worries about a deep run, you may have more min-cashes. Min cashes net you very little and even at a 20% cash rate, you are waiting longer for that big score that will get your graph pointing up. You can see how either one of these styles can lead to a downswing. Basically, there is a bunch of heartbreak and then the occasional big score. Make sure you have enough buy-ins to outlast that heartbreak.

Cash Games: Cash games have much less variance and if you are patient and play correctly, it is very easy to string together a nice streak of winning sessions. Since you aren't moving tables, it is pretty easy to remain profitable at cash games, because you can find the fish and pounce on them. I recommend having at least 20-30 buy-ins in your roll for cash games. This gives you the opportunity to move up in levels fairly quickly, but keep in mind that the higher you go the less fish you will find, so be prepared to move back down just as easily.

Sit and Go: Sit and Gos are the most solved game in poker. There is a specific strategy that if you follow, you should be profitable in the long run. Of course, like with everything else, luck is a big factor and there are also many other regs who are aware of this same strategy so the big money here is to be made based on small edges and plenty of volume. In order to get that volume in, I recommend having 40-50 buyins available at any time.

Heads Up Sit and Go: This is my favorite game, especially hyper turbos. Due to the fast structure, they have the highest variance and you are going to be forced to play cards you wouldn't normally play. I recommend having at least 200 buyins at any time for hyper HUSNG. For regular turbo and non-turbo, I would say 100 is a good amount.

Taking Shots:

I am not a big fan of taking shots. The idea increasing your buy-in once in a while to go for the big score is okay, in theory. But the problem many people have is once they get a taste of higher stakes it is hard to go back. If you lose a larger amount than normal, you may want to stay at that level and try and get your money back. Or perhaps someone will take a shot at a higher level, get sucked out on horribly but decide that the higher level is beatable and keep playing it. Remember that due to variance, the buy-in level you play is not necessarily about what you can beat, but what you can afford to lose. Exceptions that I think are okay are things like playing in the World Series of Poker. Obviously most people who play the main event don't have the $1 million bankroll that would be required by management guidelines. However, since this is a once a year (maybe once in a lifetime) experience, I think it is okay to take this kind of shot because when you get home you will no longer have the opportunity to play such large events and likely cannot succumb to any bad gambling habits from doing so.


When you are winning at poker, you get a feeling like you are invincible. The cards are falling in your favor and the extra confidence you gain from winning helps you make intelligent, clear-headed decisions. Sometimes you feel like you will never go on a downswing again and this will lead you to throw bankroll management out the window because you know you can get back whatever you lost. This is gambling fucking with your brain. Don't let it. 4 years ago I had the best year of my life. I was a winning reg at $1200 heads up sit and gos and even with the huge variance, having a 1% roi was making me $75-100/hr. Besides this, I played a couple hours of 10/20 every day on a very soft site that is no longer around. I remember in April, I had 23 straight winning days at 10/20. I was living like a king. I had no budget. Everything I wanted, I would buy. Everywhere I went, I would fly first class. I thought I had found the magic formula and it would be like that for the rest of my life. I didn't bother saving my bankroll because I figured whenever I needed more money, I could just win some. Then I went on a downswing at 10/20 and lost everything I had on that site. I had no savings. But at least I had my online bankroll. Then I got in a heated match with a $1200 HUSNG reg. He played well. So did I. But he also got super lucky! And the luckier he got, the more it made me want to keep playing him and get it back. I have never ran so far below EV in my life. I kept losing. And I wouldn't quit until it was all gone. Minus $40,000 in one day. In just a few weeks I went from on top of the world to having to borrow money to play $30 mtts. It took me over a year to get out of the borrowing cycle and back on my feet where I could sustain myself. That was the moment I needed, to change my life. Hopefully you will not have to have a moment like that and will take a lesson from my mistakes.

Dropping Down:

There isn't much, in poker, that feels worse than going down a buy-in level. If you have been playing at a certain level for a long time and know you deserve to be there, why should you have to go back down and play in the bush leagues? Because you don't want to go broke! Of course, this all changes depending on how much you rely on your poker income. If you are a full time pro, you have no choice. If you go bust, you have no way of earning a living. Dropping down is your only option. If you are a semi-pro who relies on the extra income from poker, it is still important to go down when needed, but at least you know that if you bust your roll, you can always put a little aside from your day job and rebuild. And if you are purely recreational, you know you have that check coming in every week so you can fund your poker account when it disappears. And maybe that's all poker is for you, a fun way to blow off steam or hang out with your friends. But even if you are just in it for fun, you will have more fun if you are winning and not losing and playing above your bankroll is the easiest way for a good player to lose.

After having a great summer last year, I went on a $25k tournament downswing. It wasn't enough to devastate me financially, but I had to make a conscious decision to drop down and build my roll back up. Considering the smallest buy-in I would bother with at that point was $100, it was tough for me to go back to playing $30 and $50 buy-ins. This was for two reasons. When you are used to playing for a certain amount of money then all of a sudden you are playing for much less money, the new money you are playing for seems trivial. If I am used to playing for a top prize of $10,000 it is tough to put in the same amount of effort for a $2,000 top prize. The second reason was ego. I felt like I was above those levels. Plus I was gaining some notoriety at that time for being a higher stakes player and was embarrassed to have people see me at the lower level games. But I cannot afford to go broke and have learned from my past mistakes. Thankfully, I was able to make the commitment and drop back down and have slowly worked my way up to the bigger games, but now I still play the $30s and $50s too.


It seems simple enough. Play a percentage of your bankroll and never go broke. But gambling does something to people's brains and causes us to think irrationally at times. The best thing you can do is take a good look at yourself. Think about what triggers you to go on tilt and make bankroll mistakes. Sometimes it's as easy to fix as taking a 5 minute break after a bad beat to collect your thoughts. One thing that has helped me tremendously is that Betcoin makes deposits and withdrawls so fast and with no fee. This gives me the ability to keep most of my bankroll off-site. I like to have a tournament schedule for the day and keep enough money on here for that schedule, including a couple reentries, if needed. If I have a bad day and lose it all, I deposit the next day for that day's schedule. But I never lose more than I planned or more than I can afford to lose. And after a win, Betcoin makes it so easy to withdraw, even a small amount, to keep me from doing something I might regret. This is what I have to do for myself. You may not have to do this, but management is all about learning about yourself and your tendencies and doing what it takes for you to keep that healthy bankroll alive!

250 Guaranteed Freeroll Ticket Giveaway

I will be giving away three 250 Guaranteed Freeroll tickets to people who respond below. What is your best bankroll management method? Entries must be received by Wednesday at 10AM EST to Qualify.

Good luck!


 Filed under: Poker, Bankroll Management, Tipsy Tips


StareYouDown: Best BR method is beat all
Fri, 06/16/2017 - 15:34

Best BR method is beat all micros :) satty into bigger events and sell action to them :D

menolikeyou: Best BR Management is to
Fri, 06/16/2017 - 16:11

Have a real job and play with money you can afford to lose on here.
That's all I have.

player10: but then I'd have to pants on
Sun, 06/18/2017 - 20:22

but then I'd have to pants on.. and I don't like wearing pants....

winawyna: i use 10 buy ins and u have a
Fri, 06/16/2017 - 16:12

i use 10 buy ins and u have a about taking shots..once you play bigger its hard to drop down..nice write up

14thankshun: are you capable of typying a
Fri, 06/16/2017 - 19:03

are you capable of typying a coherant sentence?

u have a about?

u have a about?

im sorry but what the fuck is that supposed to mean.

you are an incoherant retard.

Thank you.

abdou: We benefit from you
Fri, 06/16/2017 - 21:50

معلومات قيمة خبرا من 13 عاما نشكر على معلومات

menolikeyou: Abdou
Fri, 06/16/2017 - 22:03

You know the next part... It's time... Much too long...

evilEV: Bankroll management
Fri, 06/16/2017 - 22:43

I play mostly heads up sngs. like to roll myself with 60 buyins, move up if i get to 55 of the next level and drop down if i get down to 35. This strikes the right balance for me between staying in the game and moving up at a less sluggish rate.

Oldstuff: give me ticket. I win good.
Fri, 06/16/2017 - 23:57

and then I don't lose. Tiger Blood.

EyeWonBTC: Tiger Woods blood?
Sat, 06/17/2017 - 00:46

Tiger Woods blood? If so, then please report to rehab ASAP.

1endgamer3: b_roll management
Sat, 06/17/2017 - 02:17

Thanks for the info, this is my my major leak. I win and then before i know it Im playing hands of bj and sending btc to slotocash n fortune jack. I've taken my lumps along the way but im glad u told the number of 40k in one day so i can keep in perspective my loses could be worse way worse, So i must be better with my bankroll or its all for not. shoot me 250 ticket im 1 for 1 in that tournament. thx

DaA2P: Realistic bankroll approach
Sat, 06/17/2017 - 03:29

Dedicate 10% of your paycheck from your day-time job to poker. Build it up to where you can start off with 20 buy-ins at the lowest stake. Test your skills and keep grinding until you make it.

YOLOx2: Kelly Criterion and Emotions
Sat, 06/17/2017 - 06:28

It has been worked out mathematically that reducing your position sizing aka stakes by 50% from your maximum profit bet size will barely decrease your ROI. That is called half Kelly and it is an amazing free ride in profitable gambling. 50% less risk is barely lower returns!

My other free money hard earned wisdom is that when anything emotional occurs in your life, even if it is great, do not play poker! Take a break and calm down. You won't be the same and anything will trigger you. Emotional highs and lows are detrimental. The middle stoic path is the golden ticket.

YOLOx2: clarification
Sat, 06/17/2017 - 06:31

1/2 kelly generates 2/3 the return

Marukh666: Marukh666
Sat, 06/17/2017 - 09:46

i cant use pocket money in sandwich,chips,ice cream etc etc, Cos on which i make micro bankroll for Tough competition in poker thats why success follow me..

grogger86: Psychologically I've always
Sat, 06/17/2017 - 10:10

Psychologically I've always found picturing myself several months into the future during a downswing, has helped the most. Losing a bunch of suckout hands during a session really stings, but if I'm a winning player then 5 months from now the money I lost won't matter at all. If I go on tilt however, move up several levels to get it back, and go broke, then 5 months from now I might still be broke and pissed at myself for going bust.

Tribet: Bankroll management can be as
Sat, 06/17/2017 - 17:21

Bankroll management can be as hard as quitting smoking. I will try to stick with small mtt's buys from 1 to 5 dollars, with a $100 br. R/A games $1-$2 max 5 bullets. Freeze out up to $5 and reentries $3 max 2 bullets. WPN has smaller micro buys which I will play and does help. It might be a mistake but I like being in top half of field and mtm. Then tackle making final table. Sounds stupid but, I can't help but think I jinx myself thinking of the win first.

plo8monster: Excellent article Scot
Sat, 06/17/2017 - 22:08

This article is spot on...
I will be starting a staking thread to replace the old Zero2Hero thread.
Discussing how to stretch a bankroll, using Betcoin's staking platform to help with the swings all poker players are effected by at times...

Basically: "Partial staking" to reduce cost of play on daily basis, and increase purchasing power.

Thanks Scot, your threads are something i look forward to each week:)


player10: bankroll (un)management
Sun, 06/18/2017 - 20:19

funny u post this.. I just threw my whole bankroll away in one day on ACR... played bad on smaller stakes so I jumped up to the $3/6 table...

U know me I'm hyper agro .. so I rr the button w 48o the first time he had the chance to steal the blinds.. the 2nd time I had KK.. I rr pre again.. and he tanked before calling me.. flop comes J high and I get him to put all his money in on the turn with QJ / 1 pair... pretty sure it was nearly a $500 pot. and I'm 89% to win it for those counting....... and of course.. like clock work he hits a Q for 2 pair on the river....

I may not be good at bankroll management.. but I've lost faith in WPN as a whole..last time I jumped up in stakes like that I went in 75%-80% 3 times and lost all 3.. it was a good run I guess.. won a free roll into the Daily coin to get my bankroll started... had a week I profited over $1000... I'm just glad I cashed some money off the site before this "run of bad luck"

Guess I will have to bankroll manage like SYD from now on and find people to stake me in tournaments.. lol

michigan1: Brm
Mon, 06/19/2017 - 01:50

Best Brm is never buying into a game over 10 percent ofyour roll. Its something i always wanna implement but never do. :( part of the game i need to work on.

ItsBelth: Bankroll management is
Mon, 06/19/2017 - 07:46

Bankroll management is literally the biggest thing in poker. You can lose all your money at once if you play with it, but you aren't going to win enough with your money out there when you win to never have to play again.

The standard (as discussed) is 200 BI's for tourneys. Like you said that's mainly written for bigger sites where you cash less often. You also have to be realistic with your skill. I think people that are actually beating the stakes they are in can get away with as little as 50 or lower if crushing it. But variance is gonna happen regardless so more is better.

Cash games, you should definitely keep 20 buy ins. If you're good enough to beat the stakes, you can have a little as 10, we've seen professionals do their "challenges" and succeed with small amounts, I myself have done things like that before.

This post is very spot on with bankroll management, and I think that's because for the most part it's "solved". People have run the math with how often to expect beats when playing well and that helps figure out how many buy ins the average player needs.

Realistically most people will go broke eventually because not many beat the game of poker, so never have more than you can lose and don't get discouraged. Poker takes a long time, start low and build up. Don't be afraid to move down. All of these things are crucial to being successful at poker.

I don't like all these replies of "just win" or "sell actions" If you're good enough to sell action you should be moving up at some point or beating the stake below and taking the entire payout for a bigger overall score since you have 100% of yourself.

Honestly you can talk about bankroll management forever since it does go by player and what they can beat to a point and all the game types differ, but like I said for almost anyone the basic rules in this post are great.

The final note is to be honest with your poker skill. Do not simply think you're good and beating the game and can get away with lower overall buy ins. Poker has variance, and if you were beating the game chances are you would move up, so be strict. Give yourself time to learn, then move up. It's the easiest rule to break in poker and the one that matters the most to not go broke.

wishiswish: my style for BR
Mon, 06/19/2017 - 11:27

i manage my bankroll from my parttime jobs and playing with pro cos i wanna learn something from them even if i lost my parttime income there which does,nt hurt me.

OneTime: For me, I can't risk more
Mon, 06/19/2017 - 15:58

For me, I can't risk more than 1/100 of my bankroll at a time because I get tilted way too easely. If you're emotional stable then I think you can play with 20 buy in strategy for cash games, but you have to be prepapred to move down in limits if you get unlucky streak. I think Isiildur had something like 10 buy in strategy and it worked for him very well, at least for a while. I used to have 1 buy in strategy for a long time when I started playing lol, good times.

xiyanxook: Xiyan brm
Tue, 06/20/2017 - 09:00

My BRM is that how much my financial position is strong and according to that i set my planning day to day mean amedment in stacking rate is the best BRM of poker.

HOLYACES93: 25 or more buyins for a cash
Tue, 06/20/2017 - 09:37

25 or more buyins for a cash game is ideal. Don't go on tilt, huge bankroll killer

Akmaho: bankroll management
Tue, 06/20/2017 - 14:17

For me creating a proper bankroll I must establish a few thing..
Set a hourly rate is an important cos we establish how mush we expect to swing on daily,weekly,monthly basis..
What buy in allowed in regular game,it is usually varies from 100 to 200 BB in live game but I wish to play 100 BB game and expect fewer swing...
Handle emotion..the BR fluctuations comes with an emotional price,I give myself to short bankroll and gain wild experience...
Also maintain a drop down in stack,,

PhillKrills: BRM strat
Wed, 06/21/2017 - 00:02

My brm strat is to not lose and play well above my means

Mentat: this thread
Wed, 06/21/2017 - 00:36

cardschat: My best bankroll management
Wed, 06/21/2017 - 04:54

My best bankroll management method is to have none. I play poker for fun and risk only as much as I can afford to lose. If I made y living playing poker then sure, but otherwise it doesn't matter.

Sardarazkhan: my BRM
Wed, 06/21/2017 - 11:12

poker BRM is a key factor in the game, A player manage his BR in poker according to his ability and my ability is changing planing again and again in a single table game.with keep few thing in mind which is as under..
set hourly rate.
set timing and buy in according to stacking.
handle emotions.
studying opposite attacking.etc etc

twirlspin: BRM even in small ways can help so much
Wed, 06/21/2017 - 11:31

On days I feel like I am on tilt I stick with Freerolls. And until I build to a decent enough BR I stick with low stakes in daily play. This has helped me to slowly build a small BR on the site and the nice thing about betcoin is that the swings of bitcoin have helped increase my BR even if I didnt play :)

shandefoye: best Bankroll management
Wed, 06/21/2017 - 12:21

Best BRM is playing independently but in low buy in.
and learn how to handle situation in tough time there from pro.

isnortbooze: Congrats Sardarazkhan, HOLYACES93 and Belth!
Wed, 06/21/2017 - 14:14

You guys win this round!
I am really enjoying reading all these responses. Keep 'em coming!

jamyr: Having the discipline to
Fri, 06/23/2017 - 22:09

Having the discipline to always keep our feet on the ground is one way how I manage my br. I always prioritize in being able to keep up on next days/plays. And yes, if you are able to fight the tendency of thinking irrational, it'll be almost never that you go broke.

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