Sunday, April 26, 2009

Poker Bankroll Management For The Recreational Player

Time to carry on my theme about poker strategy not really gelling with the perspective of the majority of poker players... the idea is that a recreational player looks at an article on Bankroll Management (for todays example) and can not fathom how it applies to them. So, instead of thinking about the subject they just assume that this is something for the pros (or geeks or whatever) and miss out on valuable adjustments to their play.

Lets be honest here, a player who works hard and enjoys a game of poker now and again putting $200 into their favorite poker site is not going to think... 'Hmmm, due to the effects of variance on this game of skill I'd better stick to an average MTT buy-in of $2...'

Of course not, they want to play, take a shot at some big prizes, have a little fun.

Cash is the same, someone parting with $100 on a Friday night is not thinking to themselves.... "so, I'll play 20,000 hands of 2c / 5c no limit to ensure I'm a winner and then move up to 5c / 10c after that.." - of course they are not, they want to have a good time, not set-mine the micros!

So, having established the background I'm going to ask the question of what a bankroll management article which would be useful to recreational players might look like?

It is not as easy as you'd think.

Make it to strict and the counter will be 'does not apply to me, governor' - make it too loose and it will not really have any value as far as our objective is concerned (to provide thought-provoking information on preventing yourself going broke for those who would prefer not to lose all their money - if someone does not actually care then all of this is irrelevant anyway!)

Here is what I'd suggest:

SNGs: Start at 10 buy-ins, move down a level at 5 and up a level when you have 20 buy-ins for the next level up. When you win 5 more buy-ins (same as your original roll), put this aside as a reserve for those times variance bites. From here you should try and build a nice buffer before moving up too much further.

So, with $55 , you can start at the $5.50s (on Stars in this example), if you lose $25 then you go down to the $3.30cs if you get to $220 then you can move up to the $11's... from here you build to $275 before putting $55 aside as your 'fall back' and enjoying the rest...

Cash: Starting with 6 buy-ins, move down when you get to 3 and up when you get to 8 for the next level. After moving up you should aim to keep the 8 + grind enough to put an amount equal to your original deposit to one side... after this you try and get 12 to 15 buy-ins for the next level before moving up again - going back down any time you get < 8.

So, starting with $150 you have 6 buy-ins for NL25, if you go down to $75 then move down to NL10 to regroup. If you manage to get to $400 then it is time to go up to the NL50, with the idea that the next $150 won gets put aside for a backup. You are then aiming to get that $400 up to $1200 before hitting the NL 100... any slips back to $150 then move back to NL25.

My guess is that 'seasoned pros' will be tearing their hair out at the thought of such 'dangerous' bankroll management. I'm going to suggest that even the guidelines above will seem 'very strict' to many recreational players reasonably new to the game... that having a guideline which gells with the reality of the common man (or woman!) player there is a bigger chance that the subject being raised will at least be considered.

Well, long post - hopefully one that has fullfilled the Plan3t Gong objective of giving readers something to think about though.

Will continue this theme intermittently... maybe Table Selection for the common man next!?!?

Gl at the tables, Mark

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