Building from a baby bankroll

OzExorcist

OzExorcist

Broomcorn's uncle
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Total posts
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We get a lot of discussion on here around what to do when you're trying to build a bankroll from a small amount. Maybe you've just had a freeroll cash, maybe a friend's been kind enough to transfer you a small amount or maybe you've deposited in the past and you've only got a few bucks left. How do we take that amount and turn it into a real bankroll?

There are tips everywhere including here: Building a Bankroll from Nothing

What I've tried to do below is dump the bulk of my experience on the subject into one post. For those wondering about my credentials, I've been playing for the past couple of years on a roll built from freeroll cashes. I'll warn readers from the outset, I don't have any easy answers or shortcuts. But I think what's written here might be helpful in at least dispelling some of the myths and crazy ideas people have about undertaking this task and hopefully keep them on track while they're attempting it.

THERE IS NO MAGIC BULLET

There's loads of discussion on this point - time after time people have asked "What's the BEST game to play with a bankroll of (insert tiny amount here)?"

The truth is there IS no answer to that question. Everybody's different and we all have different strengths and weaknesses as players. I might have built a roll playing nothing but small stakes limit mixed games. Does that mean it's going to work for you? Dear gawd no! That'd be suicide for most people, since most people don't have the first clue how to play mixed games.

That's an extreme example, I know. It should be obvious to most people that if they suck at mixed games then they shouldn't be putting any of their baby bankroll on a mixed game table.

But there's other advice that sounds more reasonable but can be just as dangerous. How often have we heard, for example, that limit hold 'em is a great way to build a bankroll because it doesn't carry the risk of losing your whole stack in one hand like NLHE does? I know there's more than one lesson in the Full Tilt Academy that suggests it and it sounds perfectly reasonable, but guess what? If you suck at LHE, slowly but surely (and maybe not even that slowly) you're still going to lose your roll.

My point is, there is no magic bullet. There's no one game where everybody who plays it surely but steadily builds a roll. Far and away the best game to play is the one that YOU are best at. That might be LHE, it might be STTs, it might be $2NL 6-max. It doesn't matter. What matters is that YOU play YOUR best game, not someone else's.

I have an exeption to this rule regarding certain games NOT to play, BTW, which I'll discuss in a minute. But for the moment, let's move on to...

PICK A GAME AND STICK TO IT

Once you've settled on your best game, I'm recommending that you stick to it and play nothing else. A lot of people talk about how they played STTs for a little while and had some small wins, then they tried LHE for a while then lost the rest of their bankroll playing HU cash games.

There's a couple of reasons I think you should play just one game. The first is that we want to leverage our skill as best we can. It makes sense that our skill advantage will be biggest when we're playing our best game. The second reason is that we'll learn more when we concentrate on just one game. If we skip from game to game to game we won't be improving much at any of them because we won't be playing them for long enough. If we stick to one game not only are we maximising our skill edge, we're also maximising our chances to get better at the game, increase our skill edge and build our roll.

There'll be time for dabbling in mixed games and learning new things later, after we've built a stable roll.

YOU HAVE TO GET LUCKY

This is the bit that's going to hurt for some people. Even when we stick to just playing our best game, we're STILL going to need to get lucky in order to build our roll. By definition we've probably got less than good BRM dictates we should have to play in the lowest stakes games. If you're starting off with enough for just one buy in obviously you'll need to get very lucky - you'll need to win in the first game you play in and then keep winning in quite a number after that so that you've got some breathing room.

Even if you start off with, say, 10 or more buy ins though you'll still need a bit of luck to avoid a downswing that wipes out your roll. They happen all the time to players with full size rolls and there's nothing that says it can't happen to us either.

What I'm saying is remember that luck plays a part. Pick your best game and play your best. If you still wind up busto, don't dwell on it or let it get you down. Just pick yourself up, start over and hope for a little more luck next time.

FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, STOP PLAYING MTTs!

Here's the bit where I'm going to contradict myself.

If I were to tell you I'd just made $10 from a freeroll and I was going to take it straight to a PLO cash game table to start trying to build a roll from it, how many people would think I was mad?

I think it might be more than a few. A select few of them will have prior knowledge of how much I suck at PLO. But others, even without that knowledge, would likely point out that the variance in PLO can be a killer and I'd be better off playing something with a more stable return. They'd probably be right too.

But here's the thing - a lot of those same people probably wouldn't bat an eyelid if I said I was going to take that $10 and play the Daily Dollar or something with it. Which is a funny thing, because as far as variance goes things don't really get much more swingy than multi-table tournaments. You certainly want a lot more than 20-30 buy ins to be rolled for them.

As discussed above, we already need to get very lucky to build a roll from nothing. We don't need to compound our problems by stacking variance against us - instead, we need to concentrate on games that offer us at least some chance of grinding a slow but steady path upwards. That usually means ring games or single-table SnGs and I'm recommending that, at least for the initial stages, you steer clear of MTTs and the horrible swings they bring. Even if you think they're your best game.

BE MILITANT AND CONSERVATIVE ABOUT BRM

In the beginning we're already going to be playing with bad BRM. There's not a lot we can do about it if we're not even rolled for the lowest stakes other than play our best and hope we run our roll up to a point where we ARE properly rolled for the level we're playing.

For that to happen though we have to be militant about the stakes we play. No playing in some random MTT or forum game or whatever, even as a one-off, unless we're rolled for it. Things like that are luxuries that we'll have later when we've built a stable roll.

We also need to be conservative with our bankroll. Most systems will tell you that if you've got 20-30 buy-ins for a given level you're rolled for it. I'm going to suggest you consider yourself "rolled" for a level when you've got 50 or more, that you don't move up in levels until you've got that much or more for the new level and that you move straight back down if you run bad at the new level. We worked hard to build that roll, we have to protect it as best we can from variance. Don't be ashamed of being a bankroll nit.

DON'T GET HUNG UP ON BONUSES

Free money is a beautiful thing. We all love it, and it's especially attractive when you don't have very much of it to start with.

Free money in the form of bonuses, however, usually comes with strings attached and those strings are almost always having to grind out x amount of frequent player points in real money games. Unlocked right, bonuses can be a fantastic way to pad your earnings and move your bankroll along faster. But done wrong they can send you hurtling backwards.

Take the recent Rush Week promo at Full Tilt. Anybody could participate, and to unlock the bronze level $10 bonus you had to grind out 10 FTPs a day on the Rush tables for seven days straight. Pretty sweet deal, right? Maybe, maybe not. If you're not rolled for the minimum $5NL that you'd need to play to earn the points, or if you're not any good at Rush, then taking this bonus on would be a terrible idea - chances are you'll end up losing more than you stood to win in bonuses and you might jeopardise your whole bankroll in the process.

The same goes for other things people consider doing to unlock other bonuses, like adding more tables than they're comfortable with to run points up faster or playing at higher stakes than they're rolled for. It's a slippery slope, I'm suggesting you just avoid it altogether.

As long as there's competition between online poker sites there'll be bonuses, so there's always another one somewhere around the corner. Stick with the plan, work through the bonuses that you can get safely by just and just playing your normal game at your normal limits and ignore the ones you can't get.

STOP TALKING AND START DOING
(OR "NOBODY ACTUALLY READS YOUR BLOG ANYWAY SO WHY STRESS YOURSELF")

Sometimes I don't know whether to laugh or cry. We've all seen it - someone comes along on a board or starts a blog talking a whole lot about how they're going to build a roll from nothing or how they've got this freeroll cash and they're going to run it up and make loads of money. Some of the dedicated ones even give us day by day or game by game updates for a short period... until the inevitable post where they tell us they're busto either because they played bad, they didn't follow BRM, they had to withdraw all their money for some inane reason or, my personal favourite, the donks ate their bankroll.

Save yourself the time and embarassment by talking less and DOING more. Use the time to actually review your games, rather than telling the world about every single bad beat you ever get. Post actual problem hands for analysis and ask meaningful questions that might help you improve your game, rather than telling everyone about every tiny fluctuation in your bankroll.

You're also putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. Chances are somewhere in the back of your mind there's a though along the lines of "What will I be telling my readers after this session?" and that can have an adverse effect on your game. So stop talking and start doing instead.

That's it, for the moment at least. Run good y'all.
 
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farhanshah

farhanshah

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Joined
Jul 2, 2010
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But a donkey really ate my bankroll! ;)

On a more serious note, great post and one I would enjoy reading over and over again even if I have reached the upper echelons of poker; which would probably be never.
 
M

MaxiRodriguez

Rock Star
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Total posts
403
I have managed to build a couple of BRs on a few sites without depositing. My current FT roll was started from winning freerolls and using that money to play STTs until I moved to cash and started to actually make money lol.

Helped out a lot by the take 2 bonus, which was so easy to get, I think it was probably one that was exempt from Oz's rules. But all in all I pretty much followed the same guidelines, got a bit lucky and it worked a treat. My roll is currently 200-300 depending on whether I decide to play good or not.

Great guide Oz anyone in a similar situation should read this daily :).
 
WVHillbilly

WVHillbilly

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Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Total posts
22,973
Ok, I finally conceded and read the post. The text was as good or better than the bullet points! Really good post.

Now how do I turn $3.67 into $1mirron???
 
BelgoSuisse

BelgoSuisse

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Nov 26, 2007
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OP obviously trying to jump start a bankroll with a POTM award... :)
 
L

lobsterbud12

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Joined
Mar 28, 2007
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10
good post. I always have trouble building a bankroll of my own
 
Arjonius

Arjonius

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Jun 8, 2005
Total posts
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I hope at least some people who can benefit from advice like this will pay attention because there's lots of good stuff consolidated here, more than they're likely to find most of the time.

One thing I'll add is to consider your win rate. As an artificial example, if you're playing NL5 and grind your roll up to $500, applying the conservative 50 buyin guideline indicates you're sufficiently funded to move up to NL10. You are, but if you got there by winning an average of 10 cents an hour, your game probably isn't ready.
 
M

Mr Whatever

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Joined
Jul 23, 2010
Total posts
232
Pick a game and stick to it - disagree.

Ive recently read dusty schmidts book and he advises to stick to 1 game also but ive never ever liked this advice.

If ur not a holdem player like I am (I like stud 8), its hard to find games running online or even harder finding them live. And if the game is running there are a lot of situations where the table is just not made for optimum profit so u still cant play although 1 is running.

So I have to play Omaha, holdem, stud, or whatever I can find besides the game im best at.

I can see ur point of telling some1 to become a savant in 1 rather than a jack of all trades- ull get better faster at that 1 game so u should make more money faster. But at the low levels ur talking about for building a bankroll it doesn’t take a lot to become good enough to turn a profit at those tables so id tell ppl to play various games rather than just 1.

and even if u are a holdem player-forget tilt and variance of playing 1 game, after playing thousands of hands of micro holdem I would get bored of playing the same ol game with the same ppl. Boredom would start to cut into my profits, id start to get “adventurous” with certain hands. Lololol.

Besides just plain boredom, if u stick to 1 game at the same level -ur gonna end up playing the same ppl and that’s bad. unless theyre really silly, theyre gonna smarten up to ur ways and again its gonna be harder to make a profit off them. If u just play different games at similar levels ull play different players that might not be used to u and u can make more off em.

Love the posting
A lot of effort went into it


But I got a few more disagreements with ur posting, bbl for em loololololol
 
TheOne2Watch

TheOne2Watch

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Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Total posts
49
Great post, I do alot you talk about. I won a couple of freerolls over a 2 week period (55.00). I deciced to use patience and play the cash tables, but only .02/.04 blinds until I was able to build to 100.00, then I moved to the .05/.10 cash tables and so on. I do not play MTT tournaments unless the buy-in is 2% or less of my bankroll. It is a slow climb, but I have been able to make withdrawls without ever depositing. Here is some of my rules when playing,
1. Wife can not be around (she will bug the crap out of me)
2. T.V. must be turned off
3. Dog must be taken out prior to playing so I dont have to do it later
4. Cell phone turned to silence

With all these distractions out of the way, I have been able to play alot better and consistant.
 
OzExorcist

OzExorcist

Broomcorn's uncle
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Aug 6, 2007
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Thanks for the comments guys - and to c9 and Belgo for introducing me to a meme I'd somehow missed :p

Helped out a lot by the take 2 bonus, which was so easy to get, I think it was probably one that was exempt from Oz's rules.

That's a good example - don't get me wrong, BTW, I'm not saying don't go for bonuses. I'm just saying don't do stupid things to chase them like add more tables than you can profitably play or move up in stakes before you're rolled for it.

Something like Take 2 was perfect because you could unlock it pretty easily playing your regular game at the lowest stakes.

Mr Whatever said:
I can see ur point of telling some1 to become a savant in 1 rather than a jack of all trades- ull get better faster at that 1 game so u should make more money faster. But at the low levels ur talking about for building a bankroll it doesn’t take a lot to become good enough to turn a profit at those tables so id tell ppl to play various games rather than just 1.

Besides just plain boredom, if u stick to 1 game at the same level -ur gonna end up playing the same ppl and that’s bad. unless theyre really silly, theyre gonna smarten up to ur ways and again its gonna be harder to make a profit off them. If u just play different games at similar levels ull play different players that might not be used to u and u can make more off em.

Obviously if you're already good enough to win in multiple games then you don't need to be taking advice from me :)

We can agree to disagree on this point, but a few thoughts on your post with the "average" player in mind:

Even if it doesn't take that long to get "good" at a new game, in the time we're learning it we'll still be jeopardising a big chunk of our tiny bankroll. And we're likely to take a big pounding during that learning period because, as you allude to above, the fish:reg ratio in a lot of the alternative games is unfavourable.

I'm all for people learning multiple games - I know I won't be happy myself as a player until I can at least hold my own in most forms of the game. I'm just saying that we should wait until we've got a stable bankroll before we go risking any of it at games that we suck at.

As for boredom, I found getting good enough at a game to beat it consistently went a long way to relieving it :p

In my experience if you're playing a game with a large player pool (like no limit STTs or ring games) then you won't be running across the same opponents all that often and even when you do they'll rarely be adjusting well enough to your style of play for it to make any real dent in your profitability.

I'll concede that it may be a problem if your best game is something like 5/10c Stud where there's rarely more than a couple of tables running and at least half the players on them are regs. But for the majority, who are likely to be playing micro stakes NLHE in one form or another, I'll stick by my suggestion.
 
B

bigbigbucs

Rock Star
Joined
Aug 3, 2010
Total posts
151
Thank you for posting this.

We get a lot of discussion on here around what to do when you're trying to build a bankroll from a small amount. Maybe you've just had a freeroll cash, maybe a friend's been kind enough to transfer you a small amount or maybe you've deposited in the past and you've only got a few bucks left. How do we take that amount and turn it into a real bankroll?

What I've tried to do below is dump the bulk of my experience on the subject into one post. For those wondering about my credentials, I've been playing for the past couple of years on a roll built from freeroll cashes. I'll warn readers from the outset, I don't have any easy answers or shortcuts. But I think what's written here might be helpful in at least dispelling some of the myths and crazy ideas people have about undertaking this task and hopefully keep them on track while they're attempting it.

THERE IS NO MAGIC BULLET

There's loads of discussion on this point - time after time people have asked "What's the BEST game to play with a bankroll of (insert tiny amount here)?"

The truth is there IS no answer to that question. Everybody's different and we all have different strengths and weaknesses as players. I might have built a roll playing nothing but small stakes limit mixed games. Does that mean it's going to work for you? Dear gawd no! That'd be suicide for most people, since most people don't have the first clue how to play mixed games.

That's an extreme example, I know. It should be obvious to most people that if they suck at mixed games then they shouldn't be putting any of their baby bankroll on a mixed game table.

But there's other advice that sounds more reasonable but can be just as dangerous. How often have we heard, for example, that limit hold 'em is a great way to build a bankroll because it doesn't carry the risk of losing your whole stack in one hand like NLHE does? I know there's more than one lesson in the Full Tilt Academy that suggests it and it sounds perfectly reasonable, but guess what? If you suck at LHE, slowly but surely (and maybe not even that slowly) you're still going to lose your roll.

My point is, there is no magic bullet. There's no one game where everybody who plays it surely but steadily builds a roll. Far and away the best game to play is the one that YOU are best at. That might be LHE, it might be STTs, it might be $2NL 6-max. It doesn't matter. What matters is that YOU play YOUR best game, not someone else's.

I have an exeption to this rule regarding certain games NOT to play, BTW, which I'll discuss in a minute. But for the moment, let's move on to...

PICK A GAME AND STICK TO IT

Once you've settled on your best game, I'm recommending that you stick to it and play nothing else. A lot of people talk about how they played STTs for a little while and had some small wins, then they tried LHE for a while then lost the rest of their bankroll playing HU cash games.

There's a couple of reasons I think you should play just one game. The first is that we want to leverage our skill as best we can. It makes sense that our skill advantage will be biggest when we're playing our best game. The second reason is that we'll learn more when we concentrate on just one game. If we skip from game to game to game we won't be improving much at any of them because we won't be playing them for long enough. If we stick to one game not only are we maximising our skill edge, we're also maximising our chances to get better at the game, increase our skill edge and build our roll.

There'll be time for dabbling in mixed games and learning new things later, after we've built a stable roll.

YOU HAVE TO GET LUCKY

This is the bit that's going to hurt for some people. Even when we stick to just playing our best game, we're STILL going to need to get lucky in order to build our roll. By definition we've probably got less than good BRM dictates we should have to play in the lowest stakes games. If you're starting off with enough for just one buy in obviously you'll need to get very lucky - you'll need to win in the first game you play in and then keep winning in quite a number after that so that you've got some breathing room.

Even if you start off with, say, 10 or more buy ins though you'll still need a bit of luck to avoid a downswing that wipes out your roll. They happen all the time to players with full size rolls and there's nothing that says it can't happen to us either.

What I'm saying is remember that luck plays a part. Pick your best game and play your best. If you still wind up busto, don't dwell on it or let it get you down. Just pick yourself up, start over and hope for a little more luck next time.

FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, STOP PLAYING MTTs!

Here's the bit where I'm going to contradict myself.

If I were to tell you I'd just made $10 from a freeroll and I was going to take it straight to a PLO cash game table to start trying to build a roll from it, how many people would think I was mad?

I think it might be more than a few. A select few of them will have prior knowledge of how much I suck at PLO. But others, even without that knowledge, would likely point out that the variance in PLO can be a killer and I'd be better off playing something with a more stable return. They'd probably be right too.

But here's the thing - a lot of those same people probably wouldn't bat an eyelid if I said I was going to take that $10 and play the Daily Dollar or something with it. Which is a funny thing, because as far as variance goes things don't really get much more swingy than multi-table tournaments. You certainly want a lot more than 20-30 buy ins to be rolled for them.

As discussed above, we already need to get very lucky to build a roll from nothing. We don't need to compound our problems by stacking variance against us - instead, we need to concentrate on games that offer us at least some chance of grinding a slow but steady path upwards. That usually means ring games or single-table SnGs and I'm recommending that, at least for the initial stages, you steer clear of MTTs and the horrible swings they bring. Even if you think they're your best game.

BE MILITANT AND CONSERVATIVE ABOUT BRM

In the beginning we're already going to be playing with bad BRM. There's not a lot we can do about it if we're not even rolled for the lowest stakes other than play our best and hope we run our roll up to a point where we ARE properly rolled for the level we're playing.

For that to happen though we have to be militant about the stakes we play. No playing in some random MTT or forum game or whatever, even as a one-off, unless we're rolled for it. Things like that are luxuries that we'll have later when we've built a stable roll.

We also need to be conservative with our bankroll. Most systems will tell you that if you've got 20-30 buy-ins for a given level you're rolled for it. I'm going to suggest you consider yourself "rolled" for a level when you've got 50 or more, that you don't move up in levels until you've got that much or more for the new level and that you move straight back down if you run bad at the new level. We worked hard to build that roll, we have to protect it as best we can from variance. Don't be ashamed of being a bankroll nit.

DON'T GET HUNG UP ON BONUSES

Free money is a beautiful thing. We all love it, and it's especially attractive when you don't have very much of it to start with.

Free money in the form of bonuses, however, usually comes with strings attached and those strings are almost always having to grind out x amount of frequent player points in real money games. Unlocked right, bonuses can be a fantastic way to pad your earnings and move your bankroll along faster. But done wrong they can send you hurtling backwards.

Take the recent Rush Week promo at Full Tilt. Anybody could participate, and to unlock the bronze level $10 bonus you had to grind out 10 FTPs a day on the Rush tables for seven days straight. Pretty sweet deal, right? Maybe, maybe not. If you're not rolled for the minimum $5NL that you'd need to play to earn the points, or if you're not any good at Rush, then taking this bonus on would be a terrible idea - chances are you'll end up losing more than you stood to win in bonuses and you might jeopardise your whole bankroll in the process.

The same goes for other things people consider doing to unlock other bonuses, like adding more tables than they're comfortable with to run points up faster or playing at higher stakes than they're rolled for. It's a slippery slope, I'm suggesting you just avoid it altogether.

As long as there's competition between online poker sites there'll be bonuses, so there's always another one somewhere around the corner. Stick with the plan, work through the bonuses that you can get safely by just and just playing your normal game at your normal limits and ignore the ones you can't get.

STOP TALKING AND START DOING
(OR "NOBODY ACTUALLY READS YOUR BLOG ANYWAY SO WHY STRESS YOURSELF")

Sometimes I don't know whether to laugh or cry. We've all seen it - someone comes along on a board or starts a blog talking a whole lot about how they're going to build a roll from nothing or how they've got this freeroll cash and they're going to run it up and make loads of money. Some of the dedicated ones even give us day by day or game by game updates for a short period... until the inevitable post where they tell us they're busto either because they played bad, they didn't follow BRM, they had to withdraw all their money for some inane reason or, my personal favourite, the donks ate their bankroll.

Save yourself the time and embarassment by talking less and DOING more. Use the time to actually review your games, rather than telling the world about every single bad beat you ever get. Post actual problem hands for analysis and ask meaningful questions that might help you improve your game, rather than telling everyone about every tiny fluctuation in your bankroll.

You're also putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. Chances are somewhere in the back of your mind there's a though along the lines of "What will I be telling my readers after this session?" and that can have an adverse effect on your game. So stop talking and start doing instead.

That's it, for the moment at least. Run good y'all.
Great post I just read thru quickly and did take notes. But I will be back to reresd it several times before it sinks in. I don't always get evrything at once and have to do it over and over so I learn. Thanks again, Bigbigbucs
 
BelgoSuisse

BelgoSuisse

Legend
Joined
Nov 26, 2007
Total posts
9,218
We get a lot of discussion on here around what to do when you're trying to build a bankroll from a small amount. Maybe you've just had a freeroll cash, maybe a friend's been kind enough to transfer you a small amount or maybe you've deposited in the past and you've only got a few bucks left. How do we take that amount and turn it into a real bankroll?

What I've tried to do below is dump the bulk of my experience on the subject into one post. For those wondering about my credentials, I've been playing for the past couple of years on a roll built from freeroll cashes. I'll warn readers from the outset, I don't have any easy answers or shortcuts. But I think what's written here might be helpful in at least dispelling some of the myths and crazy ideas people have about undertaking this task and hopefully keep them on track while they're attempting it.

THERE IS NO MAGIC BULLET

There's loads of discussion on this point - time after time people have asked "What's the BEST game to play with a bankroll of (insert tiny amount here)?"

The truth is there IS no answer to that question. Everybody's different and we all have different strengths and weaknesses as players. I might have built a roll playing nothing but small stakes limit mixed games. Does that mean it's going to work for you? Dear gawd no! That'd be suicide for most people, since most people don't have the first clue how to play mixed games.

That's an extreme example, I know. It should be obvious to most people that if they suck at mixed games then they shouldn't be putting any of their baby bankroll on a mixed game table.

But there's other advice that sounds more reasonable but can be just as dangerous. How often have we heard, for example, that limit hold 'em is a great way to build a bankroll because it doesn't carry the risk of losing your whole stack in one hand like NLHE does? I know there's more than one lesson in the Full Tilt Academy that suggests it and it sounds perfectly reasonable, but guess what? If you suck at LHE, slowly but surely (and maybe not even that slowly) you're still going to lose your roll.

My point is, there is no magic bullet. There's no one game where everybody who plays it surely but steadily builds a roll. Far and away the best game to play is the one that YOU are best at. That might be LHE, it might be STTs, it might be $2NL 6-max. It doesn't matter. What matters is that YOU play YOUR best game, not someone else's.

I have an exeption to this rule regarding certain games NOT to play, BTW, which I'll discuss in a minute. But for the moment, let's move on to...

PICK A GAME AND STICK TO IT

Once you've settled on your best game, I'm recommending that you stick to it and play nothing else. A lot of people talk about how they played STTs for a little while and had some small wins, then they tried LHE for a while then lost the rest of their bankroll playing HU cash games.

There's a couple of reasons I think you should play just one game. The first is that we want to leverage our skill as best we can. It makes sense that our skill advantage will be biggest when we're playing our best game. The second reason is that we'll learn more when we concentrate on just one game. If we skip from game to game to game we won't be improving much at any of them because we won't be playing them for long enough. If we stick to one game not only are we maximising our skill edge, we're also maximising our chances to get better at the game, increase our skill edge and build our roll.

There'll be time for dabbling in mixed games and learning new things later, after we've built a stable roll.

YOU HAVE TO GET LUCKY

This is the bit that's going to hurt for some people. Even when we stick to just playing our best game, we're STILL going to need to get lucky in order to build our roll. By definition we've probably got less than good BRM dictates we should have to play in the lowest stakes games. If you're starting off with enough for just one buy in obviously you'll need to get very lucky - you'll need to win in the first game you play in and then keep winning in quite a number after that so that you've got some breathing room.

Even if you start off with, say, 10 or more buy ins though you'll still need a bit of luck to avoid a downswing that wipes out your roll. They happen all the time to players with full size rolls and there's nothing that says it can't happen to us either.

What I'm saying is remember that luck plays a part. Pick your best game and play your best. If you still wind up busto, don't dwell on it or let it get you down. Just pick yourself up, start over and hope for a little more luck next time.

FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, STOP PLAYING MTTs!

Here's the bit where I'm going to contradict myself.

If I were to tell you I'd just made $10 from a freeroll and I was going to take it straight to a PLO cash game table to start trying to build a roll from it, how many people would think I was mad?

I think it might be more than a few. A select few of them will have prior knowledge of how much I suck at PLO. But others, even without that knowledge, would likely point out that the variance in PLO can be a killer and I'd be better off playing something with a more stable return. They'd probably be right too.

But here's the thing - a lot of those same people probably wouldn't bat an eyelid if I said I was going to take that $10 and play the Daily Dollar or something with it. Which is a funny thing, because as far as variance goes things don't really get much more swingy than multi-table tournaments. You certainly want a lot more than 20-30 buy ins to be rolled for them.

As discussed above, we already need to get very lucky to build a roll from nothing. We don't need to compound our problems by stacking variance against us - instead, we need to concentrate on games that offer us at least some chance of grinding a slow but steady path upwards. That usually means ring games or single-table SnGs and I'm recommending that, at least for the initial stages, you steer clear of MTTs and the horrible swings they bring. Even if you think they're your best game.

BE MILITANT AND CONSERVATIVE ABOUT BRM

In the beginning we're already going to be playing with bad BRM. There's not a lot we can do about it if we're not even rolled for the lowest stakes other than play our best and hope we run our roll up to a point where we ARE properly rolled for the level we're playing.

For that to happen though we have to be militant about the stakes we play. No playing in some random MTT or forum game or whatever, even as a one-off, unless we're rolled for it. Things like that are luxuries that we'll have later when we've built a stable roll.

We also need to be conservative with our bankroll. Most systems will tell you that if you've got 20-30 buy-ins for a given level you're rolled for it. I'm going to suggest you consider yourself "rolled" for a level when you've got 50 or more, that you don't move up in levels until you've got that much or more for the new level and that you move straight back down if you run bad at the new level. We worked hard to build that roll, we have to protect it as best we can from variance. Don't be ashamed of being a bankroll nit.

DON'T GET HUNG UP ON BONUSES

Free money is a beautiful thing. We all love it, and it's especially attractive when you don't have very much of it to start with.

Free money in the form of bonuses, however, usually comes with strings attached and those strings are almost always having to grind out x amount of frequent player points in real money games. Unlocked right, bonuses can be a fantastic way to pad your earnings and move your bankroll along faster. But done wrong they can send you hurtling backwards.

Take the recent Rush Week promo at Full Tilt. Anybody could participate, and to unlock the bronze level $10 bonus you had to grind out 10 FTPs a day on the Rush tables for seven days straight. Pretty sweet deal, right? Maybe, maybe not. If you're not rolled for the minimum $5NL that you'd need to play to earn the points, or if you're not any good at Rush, then taking this bonus on would be a terrible idea - chances are you'll end up losing more than you stood to win in bonuses and you might jeopardise your whole bankroll in the process.

The same goes for other things people consider doing to unlock other bonuses, like adding more tables than they're comfortable with to run points up faster or playing at higher stakes than they're rolled for. It's a slippery slope, I'm suggesting you just avoid it altogether.

As long as there's competition between online poker sites there'll be bonuses, so there's always another one somewhere around the corner. Stick with the plan, work through the bonuses that you can get safely by just and just playing your normal game at your normal limits and ignore the ones you can't get.

STOP TALKING AND START DOING
(OR "NOBODY ACTUALLY READS YOUR BLOG ANYWAY SO WHY STRESS YOURSELF")

Sometimes I don't know whether to laugh or cry. We've all seen it - someone comes along on a board or starts a blog talking a whole lot about how they're going to build a roll from nothing or how they've got this freeroll cash and they're going to run it up and make loads of money. Some of the dedicated ones even give us day by day or game by game updates for a short period... until the inevitable post where they tell us they're busto either because they played bad, they didn't follow BRM, they had to withdraw all their money for some inane reason or, my personal favourite, the donks ate their bankroll.

Save yourself the time and embarassment by talking less and DOING more. Use the time to actually review your games, rather than telling the world about every single bad beat you ever get. Post actual problem hands for analysis and ask meaningful questions that might help you improve your game, rather than telling everyone about every tiny fluctuation in your bankroll.

You're also putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. Chances are somewhere in the back of your mind there's a though along the lines of "What will I be telling my readers after this session?" and that can have an adverse effect on your game. So stop talking and start doing instead.

That's it, for the moment at least. Run good y'all.

Great post I just read thru quickly and did take notes. But I will be back to reresd it several times before it sinks in. I don't always get evrything at once and have to do it over and over so I learn. Thanks again, Bigbigbucs

quote was tl;dr
 
M

Mr Whatever

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Ozexorcist, regardless of what I think of any1s skill level (including my own mediocre nonsense lolol) id be a fool to ignore solid recommendations.

I may disagree with you on certain issues, but u have backed ur opinions up with solid reasoning, and not nonsense. so ive been taking ur recommendations very seriously, although I may disagree with u now. U never know, I might look at the posting later and say “I was wrong, down the line”. but the important thing for me is just thinking about the topics ppl are talking about.

Now . . . . . concerning these mtts with ur bankroll building strategy Lololololol

For crying out loud, stop playing mtts!-disagree, really, lolo

I read this and ur stuck on the variance of tourns. its like reading dusty schmidts book again lolol. He gives the same reason.

Id advise to play ur cash games, freerolls and take a lil of ur winning and play tourns. tourns are a good way to build a small bankroll up if u use them smartly. Tourns aren’t that bad for ppl either, because what u risk is only what u invest. And the lil amounts were talking about shouldn’t put a huge dent in ur bankroll if u lose it. At the cash table ull have less variance than a tourn but when u lose u could lose a lot more.

And what I mean by smartly is u have to find satellites tourns that have great cashing opportunities. Not those winner take all satys. And these satellites have to lead into tourns that also have great cashing opportunities. Tourns are means for turning lil to nothing into something. and that’s what u need with a small bankroll.

Im gonna use the daily dollar as a example since it was brought it up. For starters, ur not gonna be putting up the $1 entry fee to get in, nope. There are too many easy satellites to get into that tourn with decent to good payouts.

If u play the .30$ satellite tourn to it- like 50+ ppl play the tourn and there is usually no more than 250 in it. That’s a 1 in 5 cash ratio, which is very good. All u have to do is double up 1 time and get a little extra like up to 3500-4000 chips and ull make it. Not very hard.

If u decide not play the daily dollar- take the change out of the 1$ and use it for tomorrows saty again. Yeah, ur not gonna make it everyday because of variance but getting that 1 double up isn’t that hard and u should be ok.

If u decide to play the daily dollar all u have to do to cash to make $2 is last 3hrs or get to about 12k in chips. Yeah theres variance but the objective set here to is just cash because of ur low bankroll. And again it isn’t that hard and u have to remember u only paid .30$ to get in. if u can last to numbers that u would expect to cash in a full tilt freeroll (45) we’re talking about a huge boost to ur $10 or small bankroll.


And this isn’t an isolated occurance. full tilt has had numerous saty tourns with nice payouts to get ppl into bigger well paid tourns over the years so it’s a reliable idea. These tourns aren’t going away. Im sure pokerstars and all the online sites do the same.

But if u decide to play in any of the satilietes or tourns think of it as a cash game and scope out what ur gonna need to do to win. For the satillate for the daily dollar don’t take my advice, sit there and look at the number of entrants, the payouts, watch the type of players that play in em and see how many chips ur gonna need to cash in the tourn.

Stick with the cash games and freerolls, but invest a lil in tourns. to ignore tourns isn’t right.

And I mean if ur worried about .30 to $2, u probably shouldnt be playing cash games but doing freerolls anyway.
 
P

Pokertron3000

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Very nice post OZ

And Mr your sort of suggesting what OZ did anyway find a game and stick to it, I know a member here who grinded those DD sats into a respectable roll by sticking to a plan. Fwiw when I first started out I played some tourneys and had a nice lil score for a noob here and there and guess what I did with those scores played more mtts and went nowhere. What Oz is suggesting is good for any beginners game, find a game you can play often and grind the hell out of it while you learn poker. For some its 9 man 18 man 45man sngs for some its cash but if you play the same thing day in and day out you will understand that game more and the transition to other games while hard for some is ok because your basic poker knowledge is there.

If you want you increase your roll Oz has some great advice.
 
cardplayer52

cardplayer52

Cardschat Elite
Joined
Mar 28, 2009
Total posts
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Solid advice wish it was around when I was trying to scratch out a bankroll from nothing. I'm one of those guys who started a thread and gave you a blow by blow account of my BR. I also stuck with freerolls and playmoney tourneys($40 freeroll on fulltilt) way too long. Waited till I had $40 to play 2nl turns out I would have only needed $4. Would of saved me months of play. Great advice on BRM too I use something close to it myself. Oh and the bonuses man I can still get hung up on them. Better to learn how to win than to clear a bonus.
 
cardplayer52

cardplayer52

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Joined
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And what I mean by smartly is u have to find satellites tourns that have great cashing opportunities. Not those winner take all satys. And these satellites have to lead into tourns that also have great cashing opportunities. Tourns are means for turning lil to nothing into something. and that’s what u need with a small bankroll.

Im gonna use the daily dollar as a example since it was brought it up. For starters, ur not gonna be putting up the $1 entry fee to get in, nope. There are too many easy satellites to get into that tourn with decent to good payouts.

If u play the .30$ satellite tourn to it- like 50+ ppl play the tourn and there is usually no more than 250 in it. That’s a 1 in 5 cash ratio, which is very good. All u have to do is double up 1 time and get a little extra like up to 3500-4000 chips and ull make it. Not very hard.

If u decide not play the daily dollar- take the change out of the 1$ and use it for tomorrows saty again. Yeah, ur not gonna make it everyday because of variance but getting that 1 double up isn’t that hard and u should be ok.

If u decide to play the daily dollar all u have to do to cash to make $2 is last 3hrs or get to about 12k in chips. Yeah theres variance but the objective set here to is just cash because of ur low bankroll. And again it isn’t that hard and u have to remember u only paid .30$ to get in. if u can last to numbers that u would expect to cash in a full tilt freeroll (45) we’re talking about a huge boost to ur $10 or small bankroll.


And this isn’t an isolated occurance. full tilt has had numerous saty tourns with nice payouts to get ppl into bigger well paid tourns over the years so it’s a reliable idea. These tourns aren’t going away. Im sure Pokerstars and all the online sites do the same.

If you not rolled for the tournament then your not rolled to satellite into it. It can be a good idea to build your roll from these satellites themselfs and never play the tourney(not sure this is still allowed to cash out of them though). Take your eg of 250 player satty the odds are 4:1 against you winning. Meaning your spending $1.50 on average to enter a $1 tourney. Yes you will probably spend a lot less than that after your factor in your edge but it still is bad BRM to satty into a tourney you couldn't buy into.
 
Poker Orifice

Poker Orifice

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If you not rolled for the tournament then your not rolled to satellite into it. It can be a good idea to build your roll from these satellites themselfs and never play the tourney(not sure this is still allowed to cash out of them though). Take your eg of 250 player satty the odds are 4:1 against you winning. Meaning your spending $1.50 on average to enter a $1 tourney. Yes you will probably spend a lot less than that after your factor in your edge but it still is bad BRM to satty into a tourney you couldn't buy into.

Exactly ^

As far as your (Mr whatever) notion while playing tourney to take into consideration 'how many chips you'll need to win it'... this is nonsensical. In an MTT we're adapting to each situation at the time, in later stages alot of that is about stack sizes and how they relate to your stack & to the blinds.

MTT's aren't my recommendation for a newer player to focus on either (unless you're planning on doing some homework on playing MTT's so that you'll be entering them with some kind of an edge on your opponents). MTT regs. recommend having 100buyins in your roll for MTT play.. there's a reason for this. Sure in super micros, cashing at 20-25% itm isn't hard to accomplish but big cashes are going to be few & far between. (although when I first deposited online, my very first game I ever played was 'The Ferguson' and I actually placed 2nd in it for $114.00 which was kind of a nice start... although I'm sure I would've done better if hadn't had that tourney experience/cash and if I had just stuck to one game type instead.

I'd HIGHLY recommend sticking to just ONE game... ie. if it's NLHE SNG.. then only play the 9plyr. (reason being.. get to know the game.. get to know it inside & out). If you're new & are jumping around from 9plyr. to 18's then to 45's, back to 9's etc., it'll take you far longer to become a winning player. When you stick to just one format you will become so aware of how the games typically play out which is a big advantage.

As far as running into the same players.... if you're playing the micros there's a HUGE pool of players in these.. and even if you've played around 100games you'll likely only see two players you've played before (maybe more as you play more....ie. I'll often see 3.. sometimes 4 on my table... or if in a 45man sng.. I'll have history with maybe 15 or 20 of them (smaller pool). This is no big deal at all. I can use it to my advantage if I have history with my opponents... especially if I've taken adequate notes and there was some stuff of particular note from the past (metagame stuff). I do this all the time.

The reasoning I think that branching out to other forms of poker is good, is because my experience has been that it generally makes you a better player overall... in the longrun. BUT.. to be just starting out & to be attempting to become a winning player.. I would NEVER recommend this ever.

When I started out I jumped around at games a bunch & it wasn't until I really just stuck to one form at a time that my bankroll began to grow.

As far as having the same players on your table goes (for SNG & MTT play).. another huge benefit is... it really helps you to be able to identify the regulars quickly. (< how could this not be a good thing?) Personally I prefer it if I've got history with half or more of the table as I can use it to my advantage... playing randoms... ffs.. you never know what they're all about (esp. in early levels).. when you get some of them donkbetting POT on flops, etc. (have they hit a fr'gn monster.. or more likely air.. or MPGK, or something.. or a draw.. who knows... point is you don't know if you have no history with them... even if their play is 'typical' say of an overaggro spewy player (with history it's far easier... these players don't switch it up much if at all).
 
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