Cash Poker – Bankroll Management

Having very limited time to play poker tends to push you towards one particular form of poker: cash.  Tournaments are just too long, and require too much commitment.  Cash is handy because you can drop the game at any point.  It can also be good to see the same players again, which can help the build up of relevant information.

So cash it is.  I’ve never really played much no limit cash until recently (my earnings used to come from fixed limit cash which is too much of a grind nowadays), but so far I seem to be doing okay.  There is massive room for improvement, which I’m the first to admit, but I’m holding my own.  I played a cash game at a mate’s place recently, blinds at 10p / 25p, so I bought in for £25.  I cashed out at the end of the night with £125, and feeling like I deserved it.  I feel more confident face to face than online.  It’s easier to spot the fish.  But unfortunately the games just aren’t available where I live.

Online my stakes are much smaller, especially at the moment.  Coming back to the virtual felt I find myself with little more than a chip and a chair.  I had left a massive $28 spread across 3 different accounts: Pokerstars, Full Tilt and Everest (an iPoker skin).  Truth be told it was more like double that but I’ve blown the rest bombing out of a few tournaments.  Whilst the TV was on.  I mean ffs….

So what can I do with $28?!  Well, start at the beginning I guess.  Let’s say I start right down at 2c/5c.  That’s 5 buy-ins.  I guess what makes sense is to work up to $50 and then start to throw in some 5c/10c.  By the time I get to 10c / 20c I’d like to leave behind at least 20 5c/10c buy-ins, so effectively I need $220 to buy in to a 10c / 20c game.

When people talk about bankroll management they often suggest having 50 times the standard 100 big blinds buy-in at any particular level.  Well if I play at 2c/5c until I have $1,000 to step up to 5c/10c, well don’t expect great rewards any time soon.  Or my sanity to hold.  I figure the best I can do is gradually increase the buy-ins I hold as I go up the levels.  If I hit a rough streak, well I’ll have to dip into my life money.

So I guess the outcome of all that is this:

  • 2c / 5c – lowest level, will buy in regardless until I’m down to the felt
  • 5c / 10c – at least $50 (5 buy-ins)
  • 10c / 20c – at least $220 (11 buy-ins)*
  • 20c / 40c – at least $840 (21 buy-ins)*
  • 25c / 50c – at least $1,050 (21 buy-ins)*
  • 50c / $1 – at least $3,000 (30 buy-ins)
  • $1 / $2 – at least $7,000 (35 buy-ins)

*it’s a psychology thing.

Right now this seems a very long way away.  I don’t even know if I can do it.  I guess we shall find out, gradually, over the coming months.  I nearly didn’t fill that list as far down as that, but I need to realise just how much I need in my bankroll to make a proper go of this.  This little exercise seems to have helped with that quite well.