by Nick Wright
Bankroll management is a vastly underrated poker skill but is one of the most valuable around as without a bankroll you’re out of the game. Often you’ll see one size fits all advice telling you that you need ‘x’ amount of buy-ins. That’s good as a baseline but I believe you should tailor your bankroll to your own requirements and what games you play.
So here’s the baseline numbers, for tournaments you should have at least 100 times your average buy-in. For cash games you should aim to have 50 times the buy-in so at NL5 you need $250 to comfortably play it and for sit and gos it really depends on what type you play but for nine man and six man sit and gos a bank of 65 buy-ins is a good starting point.
But, all those numbers are starting points and should be adjusted upwards or downwards based on a these five factors:
1.) Ability to replenish bankroll
Are you a pro? A casual player or somewhere inbetween? Basically how much do you need to rely on your poker income for a living and how easy it is to replenish your bankroll through other income? If you’re in the former camp then you need to protect your bankroll and have nittier bankroll considerations. Whilst if you can replenish your bankroll easily you can take more risks.
2.) Field size
The bigger the field in tournaments the higher the variance. If you’re constantly having to battle through thousands of players for a shot at the final table – where the big money is – you’ll need a bigger bankroll.
If you’re playing mostly turbo tournaments or sit and gos then you again will need to adjust your bankroll requirements up from the baseline number.
4.) Type of game
If you’re playing heads-up pot-limit Omaha cash games the swings will be far higher than if you play full-ring limit hold’em. You need a far bigger bankroll for pot-limit Omaha, which plays roughly twice as big as no-limit Hold’em. You’ll need more buy-ins for six-max cash than for full-ring too.
5.) Your playing style
Are you a loose fast playing risk taking type of player, or a careful methodical player who’s adverse to risk taking? If it’s the former you’ll find yourself in far more high variance spots and need more money to ride out the inevitable variance.