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Poker Bankroll Management: Master the Game Without Losing Your House

Even a small bankroll can go a long way, but you need to make sensible choices with your money.

An often-neglected part of poker strategy is proper bankroll management. You can be th best player in the world, but if you don’t make smart choices with your money, you’ll lose everything quicker than you’ve earned it. Here is some basic advice on how to maximize your poker fund without going broke.

Pick Your Fights

When playing against better players, try not to blow all your money in one sitting.

Plenty of online materials teach you how to stay on top of your poker game. Similarly, many experts claim to have found the magic formula of how to always recoup your losses. “Just up your stakes,” they say. The logic is that if you win at higher stakes, you will make up for the smaller losses. But this doesn’t make much sense. Do you believe an amateur boxer on a losing streak will have a better chance of winning against a more experienced fighter?

If you’re continually losing, this means that you’re still not up to the challenge of the level of play that you have chosen. By joining more expensive games, you’ll only be playing against better players.

So, when managing your bankroll, you should consider your skill level. Only move up once you’ve gotten too good for your current level. It’s not to say that you should never play against better players; instead, be sensible about it.

Pay Attention

Taking notes on your opponents is easier when you play online.

If you’d like to be on the winning side and grow your bankroll, you need to pay attention to your opponents. Make notes of their play and exploit their weaknesses. For example, note whether any player makes big bets only on decent hands. Inexperienced players also tend to bet big on favorite hands even if this doesn’t make sense. These are easy to spot mistakes that you can turn to your advantage.

Another thing to watch for is the playing style of your opponents. If you notice that a tight-aggressive player, i.e., one who plays only a few hands but plays them aggressively, keeps pushing the bets, then you likely are playing against a decent hand.

Do note that the higher the stakes, the more experienced the players. One thing that sets them apart from newbies is the constant change in style. Experienced players keep others guessing. Thus, you need to be vigilant of any changes in your opponents’ gameplay.

Adapt to the Game

You have to be flexible with your game.

Apart from paying attention to how your opponents’ playing style evolves, you also need to stay flexible with your game. If you are on a losing streak, this calls for a change in your strategy and tactics. Is playing tight getting too expensive? Then switch to a looser play. Alternatively, if you play loose and aggressive and you’re only cashing in losses, then it’s time to be more selective with the hands that you play.

The same goes for the games that you pick. If NL Texas Hold ‘em is not your best side, why not switch to PL Omaha? Remember that your poker investment is a finite asset. If you want to grow it, you need to make swift and wise decisions.

Such includes being flexible with your bankroll. If your living situation is getting worse, then it’s time to reconsider your priorities. Maxing out your credit card to fill in your poker fund doesn’t make sense if you can’t afford to pay your rent.

Keep Track

While not the most exciting part of the game, analyzing your play is key in managing your bankroll.

Whether you’re playing recreationally or not, you need to keep track of your games. The online platforms make it quite easy to do so as you get all sorts of stats on your play. Use this data to make wise decisions about your game. For example, note what kind of games bring you money, how much time you spend playing at winning and losing tables and identify weak spots.

Good players stay at winning games and move quickly from losing ones. It is contrary to what inexperienced players do. They tend to linger at losing tables in an attempt to recoup their losses.

And while keeping track of your games might sound like tedious work, it’s worth it even if you’re only playing for fun. Nobody wants to lose even if there’s not much money involved. In fact, if you’re playing for fun, loosing too much can lead you to play more than you can afford in a bid to prove to yourself that you can win.

Why is bankroll management important?

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – The saying fits well when it comes to bankroll management.

Now that you know a couple of tactics on how to keep your bankroll in check, we need to consider why it is even necessary to do so. Skills can make or break your game, but poor bankroll management can break your life. There are many stories about poker players who lost everything they’ve got because they were none the wiser when it came to money.

The most famous such case is of the Greek-born poker pro Archie Karas. As a newly arrived immigrant, he rose to fame when managed to turn a couple of dollars into $2 million. But Karas lost all those winnings in a couple of months, only to come back harder and accumulate close to $50 million. It was in the second half of the 20th century, and Archie proved to be a poker prodigy. Nobody could take on the Greek, including the most prominent poker players of his time. But Archie’s success would cost him dearly.

He got too confident, and because poker no longer presented a challenge, Karas turned to craps. But this wasn’t the right choice for him. The tens of millions that he managed to win on poker, Archie lost in months playing the dices. The desperate former poker master hit rock bottom in 2013 when he was arrested and banned from all Nevada casinos for marking cards.

Gambling is no different than investing in stocks or real estate. The only difference is that when you gamble, you don’t need to wait for ages to know whether your investment will pay off. But it’s precisely because of this fast-paced nature of gambling that people often make stupid mistakes.

As is the case with Archie, you can be among the best poker players and still lose everything that you have. And if it can happen to him, it can happen to anybody. To avoid getting in such a sticky situation, be mindful of your bankroll management. It’s impossible to do justice in one post to all the tactics and strategies of a progressing bankroll, but with this one, at least you know where to begin.

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