Bankroll Management – The Key to Poker Success

Bankroll Management – The Key to Poker Success

Becoming an excellent poker player involves sharpening numerous skills (such as discipline and focus) as well as your bankroll management plan.

You should work out how much you can afford to lose before even beginning to gamble, as this will help halt any mindless spending follies which could result in you being bad enough to really lose a lot of money.


It’s one of the fundamental skills of effective poker play – the skill of bankroll management is having separate money for your poker account, deciding how much you can win or lose in any session and setting your bankroll according to your life situation and skill so that a bad day doesn’t leave you penniless and unable to pay your bills, but you can still keep playing without affecting other parts of your financial life.

Ensuring that you reduce your stress and anxiety when playing poker by using a bankroll management policy; otherwise, you can quickly blow your money by chasing the big one in too many sessions, putting too much of your stack on the line each time. Any poker player can reduce his own and everyone else’s anxiety level using an approach such as this and that is why poker is indeed an enjoyable experience.


A cardroom’s ‘rake’ from a poker game is the fee it collects in return for bringing players together, covering overhead costs and expenses while being the only direct revenue generated by poker play.

Rake can be calculated in a number of different ways: contributed rake counts players’ contributions towards the pot proportionally to the amount of money they placed in the pot – looser players will therefore receive greater contributions than tighter players. An alternative, weighted contributed rake, counts contributions towards the pot proportionally to the number of hands in which players contribute money – again, looser players may have an edge as their contributions are more likely to be weighted more highly.

But they have a number of drawbacks; for example, by tempting winning players to deposit more and play more, they create an imbalance in the playing environment for everyone. Poker rooms have already begun tweaking their rake calculations to create a slightly more even playing field.

Table selection

Table selection forms the fundamental essence of any Bankroll Management strategy. All that separates a winning bankroll from a losing one might be where you decide to sit down each time you strap in. A seasoned live player, Doug Hull, tells me of the Drunkard’s Walk; the more steps you take that take you closer and closer to the gutter, the longer it is before your bankroll finally depletes and eventually sinks straight through to your own bankruptcy.

Second, a balanced bankroll that will let you play and allow you to ascend in limits is an absolute must for a successful poker career. Even a superstar can go on a downswing and, if your bankroll is too lean, a bad run could collapse your finances. A solid bankroll plan will help you avoid disastrous losses that threaten your family income or retirement savings and keeping your poker funds in a digital wallet for poker exclusively is a surefire way to keep your funds segregated and disciplined.


Mastering odds, risk-management and knowing how to calculate a big-bet level are universal skills, but essential ones in tournaments with their volatility and a one-bad-break-can-bust-you bankroll. And raising the level when you should, are all important, too. You should not ever play any level you can’t lose.

The easiest and most effective bankroll-management step is to keep accurate records of every session played (either through special apps designed to do the recording for you, or by just taking notes in a notebook) because the more accurate your records are, the greater your long-term financial gains will be.

Furthermore, you should keep your poker funds in a separate digital wallet, to steer clear of accidentally overdrawing against your bankroll, and potentially jeopardising your wellbeing.

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