Building a Poker Bankroll

The beginning of 2007 saw poker professional Chris Ferguson setting himself a challenge of earning $10,000 with no bankroll. It took him a few months to manage it, but in September of the same year he reached his goal.

While the money was promptly donated to the Save the Children foundation, the challenge left many poker players around the world questioning how they could maximize their bank roll to see similar value.

When looking through various online poker room ratings, make sure you pay attention to the various deposit bonuses that are on offer.

With several poker rooms offering hundreds of dollars free, it’s certainly possible for all new poker players to build a substantial amount of cash from a fairly average starting point.

To do this though, takes time and perseverance. Patience is also incredibly important, especially at the beginning when you’re playing for small stakes and any wins you make are only small amounts. One of the biggest mistakes that players make when attempting to grow their bankroll is that they try to rush things by moving on to bigger games too quickly. There, your bank roll can be hugely depleted by one small mistake or a bit of bad luck.

Instead, you need to choose your games carefully. Find a table where you can maximize your performance and play to your strengths. As a guide, I’d suggest avoiding buy-ins of over one dollar until your bankroll has grown to at least $50. Only then should you think of then making the step up to the $5 games.

Setting boundaries like this is a very good idea when it comes to building a bankroll. Once you have progressed from the $1 games, it’s important to keep an eye on your winnings. As a rough rule of thumb, you should probably keep playing at the same level until you have trebled or perhaps even quadrupled your original amount before moving up another level. That way, you minimize your risk a lot more and ensure that, when you do make the next step up, you’re playing with enough skill and confidence to maximize your earnings.

Of course, you will go through times when your bankroll shrinks slightly. During these periods, it’s just as important (if not more so!) to remember your boundaries. If your bankroll was to dip below the $50 mark in the example above, you need to accept that you will have to drop down a level until things start to go your way again.

What needs to be stressed at this point is that you should never use money that you can’t afford to lose when following a plan such as this. Learn to recognize and manage the risks involved by implementing a play or quit strategy whereby you stop playing when you start to go through a run of bad luck. It’s imperative that during these times you’re not tempted to increase your bets to try and win back money that you have lost.

Equally, when things are going your way set aside some of your winnings so that when you aren’t doing quite so well, you still have something positive to fall back on.