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Bankroll Management for Poker

Bankroll management is the most important skill you have as a poker player. Without a solid plan for your bankroll, there's no point in learning poker strategy because no matter how good you are, you will experience swings in your bankroll. Some of the best poker players in the world have gone broke due to poor bankroll management.

By having enough money set aside and dedicated to poker, you can concentrate on playing the best game possible. It's hard enough to make good decisions at the tables as it is without having to worry about losing all your money in a single game.

The size of your bankroll partially depends on your winrate and dedication to the game. If you're a casual player and don't mind busting out in a night of playing, you can play any sized game you can afford. If you're a losing player, it doesn't matter how big your bankroll is because you'll eventually go broke.

Serious poker players and professionals should keep much larger bankrolls than casual players. If you ever have to dip into your bankroll for living expenses, it pays to have a large bankroll. Sure, you'll probably feel over-bankrolled for your limits but that extra cushion is what keeps you paying the bills during tough runs at the tables.

In no limit cash games, the general rule is always play games for which you have 20 buyins set aside. So if you have a $1,000 bankroll, you should stick with .25/.50 ($50 buyin) no limit games or lower. If you're a professional, you'll want to stick with a minimum of 40 buyins. As your bankroll grows, you can move up in stakes but you should never play above your bankroll.

If you always play games as dictated by the size of your bankroll, it's almost impossible to go broke unless you're naturally a losing player. Everyone goes through bad runs but the people who recover are the ones who are willing to move down when the going gets rough.

As you move up in stakes, you'll want to increase your bankroll to include more buyins per level. At $1.00/$2.00 ($200 buyin) no limit and above, you should start holding 30 buyins or more in your bankroll at all times. At $3.00/$6.00 and above, you should keep at least 40 buyins in your bankroll. This is because as you play bigger and bigger games, the opponents get tougher and your edges grow smaller. You'll still make more money but you'll experience bigger and bigger swings.

The next biggest problem poker players get into with their bankrolls is using their poker money to play other games. Poker is the only casino game you have an edge - participating in blackjack and craps is a major leak because the casino always wins in the long run. There are plenty of stories of poker pros who went broke because of bad gambling and sports-betting habits.

It's fine to gamble for fun on the side but don't use your bankroll to fund it. Use your personal entertainment money to gamble. Poker should be taken seriously and if you regularly use your bankroll to play other casino games, you will eventually go broke. Don't do it.

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