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Money Management and Bankroll Management

Today you’ll learn two new aspects of the Professional Poker player: Money Management and Bankroll Management. Although they may sound like the same topic, they’re not, and hopefully we will clear-up any misconception that you may have about them.

Money Management: What Is It?

Throughout your career or experience as a poker player you more likely hear dozens of theories relating to money management, like “quit while you’re ahead” and “set stop loss limits.” However, any individual one of the concepts to gaining the advantage or winning is entirely game selection, why would you voluntarily take yourself out of a good game. This can be more expected from rookies and or overly couscous players. To simply quit or pass because you have won or lost a predetermined amount of money just doesn’t add up.


Here is one simple and fast rules about smart money management; if the game is good and you are winning, continue to play; if the game is bad and you are loosing, you’d be better off quitting. Even if the game is good and your skill level matches or exceeds that of your opponents, game play is not your best, just go home. It does not matter if you are up or down at the moment, if you are not playing at the best of your abilities, it would be best to leave and play another day.

Bankroll Management

The concept of good Bankroll Management is an imaginary idea and for professionals it has serious implications for whether a player can expect to continue this unique profession and maintain the life style to go with it. This is the difference between a profession and a recreational past time.


When making a career is your intention, you need to view poker as the launch of a small business. If you do not have the capital to maintain changes in fortune you could be doing yourself more harm than good and you significantly increase your chance of ruin. Instead, just continue to build your bankroll until you are adequately capitalized.


To shed a little more light on the vast differences between the Bankroll management vs. Money Management, your Bankroll is going to be what sets you off from the occasional poker player. You’ll give yourself the best chance possible of succeeding in the game and smart management. This money is what is needed to provide for the Capitalizing everything involving your chosen profession. In real numbers, this translates into a bankroll of at least 300 to 400 big bets. 500 to 600 are even better, particularly when you first begin your poker-playing career.


Remember: this bankroll is for poker only; it’s not for food, rent, utilities, clothing, or your car payment. You’ll need a separate bankroll for that. We advise having 12 to 18 months worth of expenses in store to cover these costs. At the end of that period you should be earning enough to allow you to treat some of your winnings as income. Once you’re able to do that, then you can consider yourself a real professional.

How Much Can You Earn?

If you’re looking to turn online poker into a career there’s probably never been a better time to give it a go than now. As a career you should already have played cash games and played them well. Cash games are generally a little tenser then the free play games. To put a certain dollar figure on set earnings may be a bit difficult but a player can expect to earn approximately one big blind per hour, but that expectation is predicated on excellent play. That’s $40 per hour in a $20-$40 game and $60 an hour in $30-$60 games. Whether that’s satisfactory to support the lifestyle you desire than that is how much you can expect. If this figure is not what you expect or need to sustain yourself it may be quite daunting to your career. This is one question that only you can answer.


As more of a novice player to begin with you can probably earn more per hour in lower limit games. Breaking into the higher limit game may be scary because as a novice you will make substantially less in larger games because the players are better. At higher limit games, bets like $100-$200, does not figure on making one big bet per hour. In fact, expert players will probably win more on the lines of one-half to three-quarters of a bet each hour.


Remember these figures are rough estimates of what you might expect to win after you have accounted for the rake and dealer tips. While the rake is a much larger percentage of an average sized pot in smaller games, the playing skill of your opponents is so far below what you can expect to find in higher limit games, that you should be able to more than compensate for it in your winnings.

Virtual Versus Land-Based Casinos

If you are going to be playing for a living at land-based casinos that are not located in major poker centers, you may find it more difficult finding games that play at higher limits. You might find that the biggest game in a casino near you might be $20-$40, $10-$20, or might not be spread on a 24/7 basis. Even at the Casinos that are located on the Indian reservations in the Up State New York area do not host many of the higher limit games.


If you want to play very big games, such as $100-$200 and above, you will have either relocate to a major poker center, or commute to one of the more popular locations such as Las Vegas, or Atlantic City. One of the fast growing trends as of late is the online gambling sites. Although the popularity is still emerging poker players of every level can locate the place in cyberspace for them. You may have to do some investigative work but there are $200-$400 no-limit games on a few sites, and these are very big games indeed.