Tuesday is my day to answer the mail. Today's question comes from a Fannation friend from out West. He asked me how much money he should have in his bankroll, and how much of it he should be risking at a time.
The simple answer to this is: IT DEPENDS. The level and frequency of your play determines how much money you need.
I have a friend who is a multimillionaire, and plays $40 buy in games every week. He doesn't need a bankroll. I have another friend without hardly any money, who plays whenever he can afford the buy in. He needs a bankroll.
Know what the problem is? The opposite is true for both of them. The rich guy monitors his bankroll to the nickel, and the other guy refuses to maintain a bankroll. Only one of them is making a mistake though. Can you guess who?
No matter how much money you have, you should be maintaining a bankroll if you want to play poker. And this bankroll should never be used for anything but poker. Every dime won at the table should go into the bankroll until it is enough to carry you for several months of buy ins at whatever level you want to play at.
So lets say you want to play once a week, for $40 in a tournament. Over six months, that's about 25 tournaments. At $40 each, that's a $1000. So I would highly recommend you have at least $1000 in your bankroll at all times. If it gets up to $1500, then snatch a few bucks and take the spouse out to dinner. Toss her $100 and tell her to go shopping just for herself. But DO NOT do this if the bankroll is UNDER $1000. Heck, I know people who play a $40 game, win $250, and go out and spend the $250 on something they probably don't need. Then the next week, they are struggling to come up with the $40 for the next tournament, which they don't cash in. If they had a bankroll, they'd never have a problem.
So now lets look at the next level of player. How about someone who wants to play a $1/$2 cash game after every $40 tournament. To be successful in a $1/$2 game, you need AT LEAST $200 for the initial buy in, and another $200 as backup money in your pocker. So now you need to bring $440 to that $40 buy in tournament. And over six months, that's $6000 you should have stashed away as your poker bankroll.
A bankroll allows you to play with skill, instead of fear. You'll never be successful at poker if cashing or winning is the difference between eating that week or not.....or cashing or winning is the difference between whether you'll play next week or not. Put is more simply: I tend to feast on scared money. That's why you buy into a $1/$2 cash game with $200, with $200 backup in your wallet. I used to buy in to these games for $100, with no backup. And nearly every time the guy that bought in for $200, with $200 reserve took my $100. Once I started bringing $400....I started winning. Funny how that worked out.
And don't even get me started on the guy that sits down at a $1/$2 game and buys in for $40. That will be mine in under 5 hands. Bank on it.
I once staked a friend $200 for a cash game, and he only bought in for $100....because he was afraid of having to pay me back $200. So he played scared with the $100 because he didn't want to have to dip into the other $100. Never a good formula. And besides, I didn't stake him $200 expecting to see it back that night, or anytime soon. Within a few hours, he gave me the original $100, leaving himself maybe $150 on the table. And when he left, he gave me the other $100.....and pocketed a few bucks for himself. I still believe he would have been much more successful playing the whole $200 and taking some risk.
Anyway, the above is only my suggestion for a bankroll. Use the math to determine how much you need to set aside. Then once you do set it aside, that's it! Don't touch it again without using it for poker. And if if you don't have $1000 to set aside now, work towards it. Put your winnings in there and then play your next game WITH WINNINGS, instead of out of your checking account.
I tell people this: Take $40 out of the checking account. Cash for $250 in the tournament. Put the $40 BACK IN THE CHECKING ACCOUNT. Not the $250. Now you have $210 in your poker bankroll. Don't spend it on anything else. If you had not cashed, you wouldn't have the $210....or the $40 anymore. And you would have survived. So you'll survive now.
Simple enough? Comments? Lets discuss....