Hey, I'm currently working on a $2 9-seat SNG guide. Here is a snippet from the guide explaining Bankroll Management. Hope it helps you in deciding what stakes to play.
Part 1: Bankroll (BR) and Bankroll Management (BRM), the BR cushion, and the 10% multi-tabling BR rule
Your poker bankroll is the amount of money you have available at anytime. Your BR will determine what stakes you could/should play. In order to maintain a healthy BR, you would have to practice a healthy BRM plan. Since bad variance and downswings are a part of poker, following a BRM plan to ensure you're not risking too much of your money at one time.
My BR plan for SNGs is to have have at 30 buy-ins for a level with a 5 buy-in cushion. Some may say that 30 buy-ins is too much and 20 buy-ins are enough for SNG, some say it's too low and you need at least 40-50 buy-ins. So, it's entirely up too you. You just want to make sure that it's not too low. I personally think anything below 20 buy-ins is too low. Allowing myself 30 buy-ins at a given level allows me to play comfortably with little risk of going broke. For example, I'm currently playing at the $2 + .25 tables. I have a bankroll $71, which is 31 buy-ins. The next level is $5 + .50 buy-in, so in order to play that limit, I'll need a BR of $165. So, I'll need to continue to play the $2 tables until my BR reaches the $165 mark. Even if I have a BR of $160 or 71 buy-ins, I cannot move up to the $5.5 levels until I have 30 buy-ins.
My only exception to my BRM plan is that since $1 SNG tables are so weak, but the rake is so high, I advice people to move up to $2 tables when they have over 20 buy-ins at the $1 limit. The play at $1 and $2 tables is exactly the same. From there, it's 30 buy-ins.
Following BRM, there are two other rules that I like to follow. They're not necessary, but I find them pretty helpful when building a BR and moving up in stakes. They are The BR Cushion and The 10% multi-tabling BR rule.
The BR Cushion
is an additional number of buy-ins added to your BRM plan used when you are planning moving up in stakes. . For example if you're BRM plan is 30 buy-ins, you might have a cushion of 3-5 buy-ins. This cushion allows you to move up stakes and play without running the risk of yo-yo'ing between the stakes. For example, if you have a BR of $165 and you're following the 30 buy-in BR rule, you can play the $5.5 SNGs. Now if you lose a game, you're BR drops to $159.5 and you're no longer BR for the $5.5 games and have to drop back down to the $2. If you play a $2 game and win, you're back up to playing the $5 games. This yo-yo effect can continue until you get a solid upswing and continue playing $5.5 or you're forced back down to lower stakes. Having a cushion of extra buy-ins allows you to play a certain number of games at the new stake without the yo-yo effect. Lets say your cushion is 3 buy-ins. At the $5.5 stakes, your BR should be $165 + $16.5 = $181.5. Your cushion allows you to play 3 games at the $5.5 level before you hit the BR balance between $2 and $5 games. If you win, you're just building your BR more and if you lose the 3 buy-in cushion, you can reevaluate your game. You can either stick with the same stakes or possibly move back down and build another cushion. The cushion is to reduce the risk of yo-yo swings between stakes.
The 10% multi-tabling BR rule
is something I started doing recently. I like multi-tabling SNGs a lot because it allows me to get more games per hour in. However, if I play too many at one time, I can be risking a large percent of my BR at one time. So, in order to reduce the risk, I follow a 10% buy-in rule. This means that the total buy-in for all tables combined cannot be more than 10% of my total BR. So, I have a bankroll of $71, 10% of that is $7.1 and I play the $2.25 SNGs. Following the rule, I can multi-table up to 3 tables or less at $2.25 at time, but no more. Not only does this keep me from risking too much of my BR at one time, it keeps my total BR in check in case I do hit a downswing. Another rule is that I have to finish all of the tables first before opening any more. So, if I am only allowed to play 3 $2.25 tables at a time, I must complete these tables first before openning any more. This allows me to reevaluate my BR and the number of tables I can open at given time. I may be able to play 3 now, but i I lose all 3 games, I'll have to drop down to 2 tables. Or if I beat all 3 tables, I might be able to move up to 4 tables. Also, if I allow myself to play one set up multi-tables at a time, I can determine if I want to continue playing or not. So, if I downswing 3 games, I can decided to take a break for a bit before I continued. This is extremely helpful if I'm getting a bit too emotional or I may be tilting. I don't have this option if I'm playing a high number of tables at once or I'm constantly starting new games after I bust out.
Originally Posted by BattlePope
Cool, thanks. One final question, which do you think would be better for ME (again, I'm only playing for some cash on the side, this is not my only source of income and just want a little spending money): DoN ($5) or .5/.10nl?
If your BR is currently $50, then playing $5 DONs/10nl cash games is way above your bankroll. Unless you have no problems redeposting if you happen to bust out. I think DONs are great for slowly building a BR, but they're ridiculously boring (IMO). If you can beat $2 SNGs (where you should be playing with your BR), then there is no reason not to play the 9 seat, 3 places paid structure. There may be more variance, but if you can beat it you should be fine. I don't like DONs because it seems likes you're playing just to make slightly better than 3rd place in a regular SNG. Your win rate may be higher, though. So, it all depends on what your overall goal is. For profit, play the regular SNGs. Easy monies at the lower stakes.