Bankroll Management

Welly

Welly

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Well, I have responded to a few bankroll management type questions lately so I thought I’d write something a little more comprehensive and throw it out there.

My personal take on bankroll management :-


What level should I play at?

It very much depends on the game you play, the type of player you are, and the number of tables you play at once. A tight player, playing one table of limit holdem can get away with committing a higher percentage (of bankroll) than say a loose player playing 2 tables of NL holdem. Generally most people should fall in the range 1% up to 7%. What this means in English is that if your bankroll is $500, and you are say a NL Holdem player, then something like 3% of $500 is the correct buy-in level (ie $15). You obviously can get away with a higher % in limit because putting your buy-in on the line in just one hand is unlikely to happen.

A quick rough guide:-
1% Loose, NL, Multi-table
2-3% Loose, PL or NL, Multi-table
4% Tight, NL or PL, Multi-table
5% Tight, NL or PL, Single table, or Loose Limit player
5%-6% Tight, Limit, Multi-table
6-7% Tight, Limit, Single table


Why is this percentage so low?


1) The psychology of the bad beat. A badbeat for 3% of your bankroll is so much less painful than a bad beat for 30% of your bankroll. The bad beats will occur with equal likelihood at whatever level you play, so do not subject yourself to the torment. A bad beat for much more than say 10% of your bankroll will inevitably and understandably put you on tilt, so do not put yourself in this situation in the first place. Tilting is virtually never to do solely with how strong or weak minded someone is after a beat, it is all to do with the situations you put yourself in long before the beat occurs. Sometimes lessons take a long time to be learnt, and playing at the wrong level is very alluring, however if you want to make a success of poker this simply must be avoided. For some this means not touching a drop of alcohol whilst playing, for others it mean restricting access to high limit tables. The temptation will be there always. Avoid it.

2) Many situations will arise where you have positive equity for the call, but are not the favourite to win. (eg you are calling at a cost of 33%, your probable likely winning draws come in at more like 40%, but you are still a 60% chance to lose the pot). You should obviously be calling pretty much any circumstance where you feel you have positive equity. This also comes down to degrees of looseness/tightness. Joining a table for 25% of your bankroll and then as a consequence turning down a positive equity call is not good poker.

3) Exploiting others poor bankroll management. Many players will play above their bankroll (eg they have a bankroll of $300 and they seem to think playing at a table with a $100 buy (eg a $0.5/$1 NL table) is a good idea. This obviously tends to make players a little too tight. This edge can only be exploited only if you yourself are not playing above your level.

4) The swings. No matter how good you are, you will have swings. Good runs and Bad Runs will come and go. Some will last an eternity, some will be over in a flash. If someone sucks out some negative equity on you once, for your buy-in, hey-ho, twice, hey-ho. How about 5 times in a row? Man you’re not a happy bunny, but what has happened? A: nothing that defies the laws of gravity. It is simply a small cold streak.
What is important is how much has this bad luck has cost you. At 2%, then it has cost you 10%…well that’s OK. At 3%, then it had cost you 15%, well that’s OK too. Playing the $100 buy-ins with a $300 bankroll? Well, you didn’t even get past 3 hands and you’re wiped out completely. Anyone who thinks cold streaks are 3 or so bad beats in close succession hasn’t really been born yet, 1000 hands of poker data? Nothing, 5000 hands, nothing. 3 million hands, well now you have seen some natural swings, the good and the bad. If you have made a good profit over a few hours of poker in your life, this doesn’t constitute thinking a pro-poker playing lifestyle awaits. You need volumes of data/hands. After this you will see the importance of the low%.

Record Keeping

Record your data. All of it. Yes, all of it. No cheating. Don’t record 3 winning sessions, then when you lose your forth, suddenly decide not to do it. Record it all. Use software, use pens and notebooks, use whatever method. But do not cheat yourself by not recording. Hide the notebooks if wish, but don’t hide the reality from yourself. Are you winning enough? Do you need to change levels because of a cold streak?

Multi-tabling

Waiting for hands, or waiting for good boards, or good draws or whatever can be very tiresome. It is boring. (try playing a few million hands of strategic poker and tell me otherwise). The reason why players come and go in a few months so often is not because they are bad (OK, sometimes it is :) ), it is because of the boredom. They don’t even think about it like this, but it is true. The reason we play above our level is boredom. We seek thrills, we seek quick money. We don’t want to play for 3 hours to make a few bucks, we want to win the lottery. To avoid this, and lets be honest it is difficult, you may want to have an MTT ticking over in the background, or more to the point multi-table. Don’t do too many. Between 2 and 4 is fine.


Reassessing your level

How often should you reassess your level? Some might say after every hand (lol), some after every session, some after every day. For me I think once a week is appropriate. Moving up and down too quickly doesn’t really allow for much bedding in or natural swings. If you want a safety net then ‘Reassess once a week, except if 25% of my bankroll has been wiped out within the current weak, in which case reassess your level there and then’. It is important to do this, therefore if a long cold swing is in its infancy you will keep it at bay.

Cashing-Out

If you are not on a determined upward cycle of levels increase, then cashing out all of the amount above your starting bankroll for the week is not wrong. Eg start week = $1000, end week = $1100. How determined am I to get to the next level? If not bothered, then cash out $100 and play at same level by same rules. If you really want to move up quickly, then don’t cash out at all. Often the reality comes to finding a percentage somewhere in-between (eg cash out x% of any amount I am up for the week).

Anyway, I have probably gone on too long, and no-one will read it all, or if they do, they will grow old in the process :)

Good Luck,

Welly
 
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PreciousLor

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Sounds good to me. I think i'm always way too tempted to play for about 10% :) :(

BTW, Your fonts have gone a bit haywire in the middle though ??
 
Welly

Welly

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It looks normal to me. However I typed it in Word, then copied it over.

When I changed font to Vedana size 2, some of it appeared smaller than the rest, so I wacked up the smaller parts to Verdana size 7 or something. It all looks normal font and size to me now, unless some gremlins are at work.

Perhaps I need glasses. :)
 
Tammy

Tammy

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Yes, it was a little (OK a lot) wonky, but I fixed it. :) If it looks funky to anyone else let me know. (Nice post, btw. :))
 
Welly

Welly

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Thanks JQ,

Wierd, it looked sorted from this end. Maybe I need to upgarde my laptop to 2 hamsters instead of one.

Thanks for the help
 
Tammy

Tammy

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Welly said:
Thanks JQ,

Wierd, it looked sorted from this end. Maybe I need to upgarde my laptop to 2 hamsters instead of one.

Thanks for the help
I find that having a chimp working behind the scenes works best. Hamsters are just a rip-off. ;)
 
medeiros13

medeiros13

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Welly said:
Reassessing your level

How often should you reassess your level? Some might say after every hand (lol), some after every session, some after every day. For me I think once a week is appropriate. Moving up and down too quickly doesn’t really allow for much bedding in or natural swings. If you want a safety net then ‘Reassess once a week, except if 25% of my bankroll has been wiped out within the current weak, in which case reassess your level there and then’. It is important to do this, therefore if a long cold swing is in its infancy you will keep it at bay.

This is the portion of Welly's long post that I wanted to speak about. My question is does the CC community agree with 25% loss before retreating back to your prior success point? I just took the step up in competition and am having the expected results...so so. I seem to be bubbling quite a bit right now. That's not totally unexpected but I want to have a solid gameplan incase I'm not ready for the jump in competition. My thoughts were 10-15% loss of my BR before I retreat. Then get to my prior level and try to break through again.
 
Welly

Welly

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I am happy to expand on this further :-

Lets assume a player has decided their game falls into the 5% bankroll level.

The safety net for reassessment I recommend, as we have established, is a 25% loss within the current week.

Now if it were only 10 or 15% that would mean potentially reassessing after only a couple of badbeats, or a few positive equity calls which didnt work out. This IMO is too quick. I will highlight it below (5% bankroll, NL example) :-

Level.............Buy-In..........Bankroll needed (@5%)
0.05/0.1..........$10..............$200
0.1/0.25..........$25..............$500
0.25/0.5..........$50..............$1000
0.5/1..............$100.............$2000
1/2................$200..............$4000

Lets say in this example a player has a $500 bankroll and is playing 0.1/0.25 NL. He is having a bad week, things really arent going his way at all, despite some good play. He manages to lose 25% of his bankroll over several sessions. Where does this put him? A: $375. This is still just over half way between the $200 and $500 bankroll levels. However to be conservative we reassess and probably decide to drop down to 0.05/0.1 to be safe.

If he reassessed at say 10%, this would mean a bankroll drop from $500 to $450 and it is difficult to say that a retreat on levels (next one down being $200) is really required at this point.

Hope this helps :) Good luck on your upward spiral :)

Welly
 
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ruffcut68

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Great info looks like when I come back I will be playing just SNG for a while. Hopefully in a month or two will be able to play more often with more money. Looks like I will be relegated to the $1 SNG with a very limited budget for poker. Currently $30/month. Overplayed Got kicked in the but. Great info. I have learned so much from the CCcommunity. BTW is there an actual definition for a "professional poker player" ?
 
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showtime90

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hehe thanks for the write up, ill certainly try to bring this up when i get desperate and tilty. Too bad i had to learn the hard way in the beginning.
 
Rockbuster

Rockbuster

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Welly very good post on bankroll management......Many players don't take this in account when they play. Many players I talk to who want to play for a living have no clue on bankroll management. With the bad runs (cold spells) and Rushes (running good) they only remember the good runs........ I tell 'em to have a good starting bankroll and never over extend it or play in over your head limits cause if you loose your whole bankroll you are bankrupt...............Rock
 
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ruffcut68

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Finally found a site with a no deposit bonus. Playing SNG's if I place enough will eventually move to ring games. Bonus is $10. Entry to SNG is 1.25 so above percentage. Now playing super tight in 6 seat SNG Been crippled by a couple of real loose calls like 83 off hitting str8. But oh well that's poker. Will let you all know If i move up. Thanks again for great advice
 
shinedown.45

shinedown.45

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I usually start with a bankroll of $50, what % does that put me at?
When considering a cold streak, do I take into account those who beat me that obviously have no clue how to play poker, ie: betting, position etc, The ones who usually suck out with a 5-6os and such?
BTW, great post Welly.
 
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ruffcut68

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Is That open tables what about tournaments

Playin SNG's Single Talbe what Percentage of BR if your ITM 92% of the time?
 
Welly

Welly

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92% ITM isnt sustainable over any decent sized dataset, so essentially the answer is the same in terms of what BR% to opt for.

200 sngs minimum really to get a rough idea of where your stats stand....preferably over 1000 sngs though.

If your ROI looks v.good after that, you could stretch to 7% of BR, but not any higher. Think about it like this :- do you think it impossible for you to finish outside of the money say 7 times on the bounce? The answer should be 'no', because it is certainly very possible for any player. That alone would knock out half your bankroll (at 7%). So, certainly no higher than that as a percentage.
 
thelynx

thelynx

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Welly, thanks for all advice, It feels like you hit me where it hurts most (groin or whatever the name is in english, skrevet in Swedish =) ). My story goes like this. I start playing and lost , got advice from a friend that earn some playing NL (he has payed the house with the profit). Start playing at a new client with a lot of bad players. Earn some money and thought I was not so bad player. Then I start on levels that my BR couldnt cope with 5-7 bad beats. Now I am down where I started and decide to just enter with 3% of my BR. Note, I have four different BR, one for each game (Holdem NL, Holdem FL, Stud, Omaha). Do you think that is neccessary ? Thank for your advice, it certain my thought about BR.
 
Welly

Welly

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Nothing wrong with that at all. It may slow down an upward spiral though.

If total BR is say $1000, and you split it in four (ie $250 BR for each), then apply your 3% to $250 = $7.50.

So, this could be seen as 0.75% of total BR (7.5/1000).

If you mean a different BR% for each game (eg 3% for this, 4% for that etc), then great...thats good.

good luck
 
thelynx

thelynx

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I'm fed up with all bad beats that hurts my BR. I realized it will accure all the time frequently as long as you play at very low limits. I also would like to develop my skills in different games, I think it will helps me in the long run.
Funny is that I success better when I play live compared to on-line, it might worse player in my small town in sweden
 
MarlonMotors

MarlonMotors

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hey welly, you know of any good sites that offer a recording database of some sort? cuz i just started my new bankroll and im gonna only play MTTs that are 2% of my roll. I was gonna go to staples and pick up one of those nice 4 column books to start recording but if you can recommend something online that is free ill just do that.
 
MarlonMotors

MarlonMotors

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oh yea i forgot to say welly this is a great post by the way. Im new to this forum i think this is my 3rd post but this thread is great. :D
 
Bankroll Building - Bankroll Management
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