Poker players concentrate on their cards and what their opponents might have. Unfortunately, losing on the tables is not what costs players a small fortune in chips. It is a lack of bankroll management. These are the supply lines and they need taking care of before anything else can happen. Play too low and there is no progress or play too high and there is the risk of losing everything in one bad run.
What You Can Lose
The initial tactic for any player is to determine what their bankroll is. To put it simply, it is the amount of money a gambler can lose comfortably without suffering. On the face of it, this means paying rent and all the other household expenses required to live. After these are out of the way, whatever is left is the money that can disappear without too many problems. But it also applies to being able to play at a certain limit comfortably without having the whole thing wiped out too quickly.
Dictate Your Play
Think of the bankroll as what dictates the limit. It should dictate which limit a player gambles at. To put it simply, a standard rule is to play at a limit only when having 300 big bets (BB) available. These are the bets that go around the table in a poker game to encourage players to avoid sitting out. An example in 5-10 Hold’em is to have $3000 before playing here. Of course, different people choose different limits, but they all fall roughly around this area.
Never underestimate how dangerous a downswing can be. These normal fluctuations happen to every player. The issue with playing too high, apart from the danger of losing everything, is to become too protective. When resources begin to dwindle this is a natural reaction. Do not let it hamstring a conventional aggressive style of the game. If there is a problem with the current limit, shift downwards.
Pride and Poker
Pride is the bane of every poker player. When someone moves up to a new limit they feel confident and they believe that they’ve achieved a great deal of success by doing so. However, if they realise they do not have the skill to win at this level, they won’t move down because they believe it is a sign of weakness. It is hard to admit that there is a problem and a specific level is too high to play at.
The bankroll only says so much about the player’s skill. When ready to move to the next level, do not forget the skill of the player could be in limbo between both limits. Swallow that pride and move down if the bankroll is taking a vicious beating or risk losing everything!
Bankrolls are not money to toss around. Only when someone hits the highest limits should they start using it to pay their bills each month. It is simply resources used within the game of poker. There is nothing wrong with taking some out for a reward, but do not let it become a regular habit. Avoid the following things that suck the life out of an otherwise healthy bankroll:
Buying new gadgets with the justification it helps enhance a player’s strategy
Lavish dinners to celebrate a particularly good session
EV gambling in the form of blackjack, craps, and slots
Of course, some players regularly reward themselves through playing poker. However, if this is the case make sure the standard rule moves from 300 BB to at least 500-600 BB.
Ultimately, proper bankroll management is about discipline and being able to show restraint. Throw away any pride and concentrate on the number of BB available. Being able to spend as little as possible on things outside of poker allows quicker progress and more lucrative rewards going forward.