Bankroll Management for Cash Game and Tournament Players

Bankroll management is a crucial tool that you can have away from the game itself. In the absence of the right management of the money that you are playing with, you’ll be leaving yourself vulnerable to going broke at almost any moment. Here are the right Bankroll Management for Cash Game and Tournament Players.

Unless you have the supply of money in spades, bankroll management is going to be something that you need to practice regularly. If you are a fun player, it’s not going to matter all that much. However, as a thumb rule, the less that you bother with bankroll management, the more likely you are to lose.

What is bankroll management?

What is bankroll management
What is bankroll management

It is going to vary from game to game. For a cash game player, an ideal bankroll is going to be different than that of a tournament player. You’ll be having a different mindset to gauge how much money is required; the variance is going to be different, and so on.

You need to not only understand bankroll management, but you also need to be able to cater to your own needs.

Your requirements and outlines for reasonable bankroll size are going to be largely determined by your ability to win. Small winners will need more money in the bank than players who are consistently winning big, month after month. While it would not hurt to understand and implement proper bankroll management if you aren’t a winning player, it’s only going to get you so far.

1. Bankroll management for cash game players

Bankroll Management for Cash Game Players
Bankroll Management for Cash Game Players

Cash game players should have a large bankroll or have a lot of money on hand not only for their long term bankrolls but also for day to day play. It’s not easy for a cash game player to lose a handful of buy-ins in a day. So if you don’t have enough cash on hand at all times, there’s a good chance that you’ll need to call it an early day.

The lower the limit cash game you are playing, the fewer buy-ins you will need to have available. The rule of thumb is that lower level games tend to have less variance because they are of a lesser skill level. If you are continually going broke when playing in small and mid limit cash games, you are only proving that you aren’t a winning player at all. So, better ensure that you are winning than it is to save money for an inevitable loss.

In cash games at the micro stakes, 25 buy-ins is a good foundation. This is a number that offers you decent backing while not going overboard. If you are going broke with this type of start at the micro or small limit games, you need to redefine your strategy. For mid limit games, adding 5 or so more buy-ins is going to work for the majority of players. As you trend upwards into high limit games, 35-50 buy-ins becomes the norm. For deep-stacked play, make adjustments accordingly. You might need more buy-ins when you are playing in more competitive games, and this is the reason why each progressive limit is tougher and to reach in cash game poker.

2. Bankroll management for tournament players

Bankroll management for tournament players
Bankroll management for tournament players

Tournament players need to pay less attention to bankroll management than anyone else. Lack of management is like tournaments. One of the big reasons why tournaments are so profitable is found in the average player pool. Unlike cash games, amateurs are spotted left and right and make up the bulk of the field. Such players just want to play poker for one fixed cost with the chance at a huge win.

You must need a lot of buy-ins for tournament play this is the reason you will so many amateurs. The high volatility of tournaments allows for the less skilled to win from time to time. Since your edge is going to be eliminated in the short run, you’ll need to have an ample amount of buy-ins on hand to help compensate for the inevitable streaks of non-cashes. Even when you cash you are frequently going to make pretty small amounts. While cash games are a long term proposition, tournaments are going to take even longer to balance out, and they may never balance out at all.

It’s not easy to set a number for the number of buy-ins that tournament players should have because there are just so many types of events. You might play online, offline, turbos, re-buys, deep stacked, etc. The most experienced, winning tournament players will advise a bankroll of at least 100 buy-ins.

It all goes back to how seriously you take poker. If you are here for the money and want to increase your chances of success, you’ll play events that are only within your bankroll. If you are playing for fun, having a significant amount of buy-ins available won’t be as relevant.