We all know that bankroll management is incredibly important. You need to have enough money in your poker account to avoid going bust when you inevitably experience some bad variance and go on a downswing.
However, there is a fine line between being two overollled and stunting your growth by playing two low stakes and leaving yourself over exposed and potentially going broke on a downswing. Hopefully in the next article I will outline what I think is the mandatory and optimal levels of bankroll you need to keep.
In cash games I cant think that I have ever had a downswing where I have lost more than 30 buyins in a row. Ive had 20 buyin downswings and long breakeven stretches but I have never experienced massive huge downswings. The reason for this is partly because I am awesome but also because the variance in cash games is less.
In MTT’s its quite easy to go on a 30 buyin downswing. The reason for this is for a variety of reasons, but most of all its because all the money in tournaments is weighted towards the top few places. If your playing tournaments with large fields its quite easy to go 30 tournaments without getting a final table cash, so you need to make sure you have an adequate bankroll to absorb this swings.
I would say the minimum number of buyins you need is around 100 times the average buyin size of a tournament. Notice I said average size, the reason for this is if you routinely play $20 to $50 tournaments and have a $5000 bankroll I don’t want to tell you cant take a shot every now and then at a $100 or $215 tournament. Taking shots is great because it gives you the opportunity to hit a big score which will infinitely increase your bankroll or just generally make your life better. However, it would be stupid of you to only play these $200 tournaments because you will likely go bust. The guideline I would give you when taking shots at higher buyin tournaments is never spend more than 4-5% of your entire bankroll on a single tournament. Chances are if you have a large portion of your bankroll invested in one tournament you wont play your best because that one buyin is so important to you. Remember, its important to try and remain as emotionally detached as possible so that you make the best poker decisions to your ability, gambling with a large portion of your bankroll on one tournament is a sure fire way to become emotionally involved!
Something else worth noting is the average size of the field effects the variance. If you have a $10 tournament that on a weekday gets 150 entrants and on a Sunday gets 1500 entrants it effects the variance. How should this effect your decision to play it? Well, it shouldn’t matter too much if you constantly playing mixed sized fields but if your playing large field tournaments only, you will need a larger bankroll because chances are you will go longer without getting a large score.
There is nothing wrong with playing overrolled when it comes to tournaments, if you have a $50’000 bankroll like a balla there’s nothing that says you cant play $20 tournaments. Some of these huge field tournaments have large scores in $20 tournaments so its always worth a shot playing them. You will also find that most poker sites wont run large buyin tournaments all the time so you will need to play smaller buyin tournaments if you want some action. Also, when you get to this stage it becomes mandatory for you to split your bankroll up and play multiple sites. I know most online tournament pros have bankrolls on PokerStars, Full Tilt and UB. That way they can play more higher buyin tournaments than if they played on PokerStars only.
Hopefully that helped you somewhat, remember dont over expose yourself, keep improving your game by learning new poker strategy and chances are your well on your way to making consistent profits playing online poker tournaments.
Return to the Poker Strategy Articles Contents page.