The Importance of Prudent Bankroll Management
Mastering the art of disciplined poker bankroll management is not an easy task and it's something the best players in the world can struggle with at times. It's a very important skill for one simple reason, without it, you run a much higher risk of ruin. Nobody is immune to statistical variance and if you don't have the bankroll to withstand the swings associated with variance, you're putting your bankroll in jeopardy. Mismanagement of your bankroll can also trigger a host of negative responses which in some cases, can lead to tilt.
Losing to a two outer for a sizeable chunk of your roll is far more likely to irritate you than if you were playing within your limits. That's why I discourage people from taking shots at higher limits. You open the door to potential triggers which are likely to have a negative impact on your playing abilities and your decision making process. As far as I'm concerned, 'taking a shot', is just another term for poor bankroll management.
All too often, players are obsessed with moving up levels. I recognise that it's important to be ambitious in poker, but it's equally important to be realistic about your expectations and goals, not everyone is cut out for the next level up. Focus on your current levels and once you're comfortably beating them, and you have the profits to justify it, then you can set your sights on higher stakes. If you're having difficulty winning at certain levels, you should consider hiring a personal coach.
No Limt Holdem 6 Max & Full Ring Cash Games
For micro and small stakes, 30 buyins should be ample. Each time I move up levels I like to add 5 buyins to my bankroll requirements, so if I went from $.50/$1 – $1/$2 I would require 35 buyins to play $200NL and 40 for 400NL, and so on. This gives you a necessary cushion when familiarising yourself with your new surroundings, moving up levels is always a learning curve.
No Limit Holdem Sit and Go and Multi Table Tournaments
100 buyins is my minimum recommendation for tournament play. As blinds go up, stacks get shallow, and your skill edge is reduced. You're very unlikely to win a tournament without winning a few coin flips, or getting lucky in one or two spots along the way. That's the nature of tournament poker and that's why you need a larger bankroll to withstand the swings. For turbo and super turbo formats I would double and triple these figures respectively, I usually avoid turbo and super turbo games due to the high variance associated with them.
Pot Limit Omaha 6 Max & Full Ring
My minimum requirement for playing PLO is 50 buyins. In NLH it's not uncommon to get it in as an 80/20 favourite pre or post flop, but this doesn't happen as often in Pot Limit Omaha, hands win or lose percentages tend to be more closely aligned to each other. With more coin flips and more 60/40 scenarios, played out over and over, a comfortable bankroll is imperative for Omaha.
When To Move Down Levels
Failing to move down levels is often the achilles heel for a lot of successful and talented poker players who go bust, when experiencing very bad runs of luck, moving down levels is the best possible thing you can do to maintain bankroll longevity and growth. Many players move up levels off the back of a bad down swing and the vast majority who follow this practice normally end up incurring further losses. If you lose 25% of your bankroll at any particular level, you should move down stakes immediately until you're comfortably rolled for the next level. Master the art of recognising when to move down and your bankroll will naturally flourish.