Money Management in Poker
There are hundreds, if not thousands of different poker strategy books, DVDs and Internet sites devoted to teaching new poker players all about the game and what they need to try to do to become a winner in real money poker. The one skill that is often overlooked in these publications though is one very important skill that a successful poker player needs to master – the art of money management in poker.
Money management in poker is a very personal thing and no one method will work for every player. But there are some basics you can use to come up with a poker money management strategy that will work for you. Here are some of them.
Only Play the Stakes That are Right for You
There is often nothing that can deplete your bankroll faster than playing stakes that are just too high for you. For example lets say you are a new online poker player and you have a bankroll of $80. If you start off at a $2 no limit table whether you realize it or not just a single bad beat and you could lose it all.
You are also likely to play a lot tighter if you are at a table where the stakes are really just too high. And other, more experienced poker players will catch on to the fact that you are playing with ‘scared money”. If you are new to the real money game, or have a limited bankroll right now stick to lower limit tables and build your bankroll that way. If you can manage to do that they you can go back to higher limit table with a far better chance of doing well there.
Putting Money Back into Your Bankroll
If you want to take playing real money poker seriously you have to be willing to invest some of your winnings back into your bankroll. This means steadily building a bigger bankroll so that at some point in the future you can graduate to a bigger game. How much is enough? That is up to you but a lot of poker experts, people who actually play the game for money that is, often suggest building up about 350 big blinds of your desired limit before you ever even think about joining a no limits cash game. The more conservative players would often advise even more.
Set a Stop Loss Limit
Its a technique used by casual gamblers (people on vacation, those visiting a casino for an annual trip) but setting defined stop loss limits can also be a very effective money management technique for the more serious real money poker player.
The key is to decide upon a maximum amount that you are willing to lose before you ever begin playing. Its a simple enough concept. Buy in for say $100 and then say to yourself that once that is gone you are done, at least for the day. You do have to have the self discipline to stick to this but if you go in with that mindset from the beginning doing so will be that bit easier.
Set a Stop Win Limit
At first this might seem like a rather silly and maybe even counterproductive money management strategy if you aim is to win a decent amount of money playing poker but this actually a strategy that a lot of successful real money poker players make use of a lot.
The fact is though that “great runs of luck” never last and after a few decent wins you will more often than not find yourself running into a string of bad beats that will wipe your winnings out as fast as you earned them. Many regular real money poker players will agree that you should not stop playing when winning “just for the sake of it” but if you have doubled you initial it may be a good time to quit. Smaller wins do add up and following a stop win limit can be one of the best poker money management techniques there is.
You Can Cash out Your Winnings
There are a lot of superstitions that swirl around real money poker just as their are around almost any game or sport. One of those is that if you cash out any of your winnings you will fall victim to a “cash out curse” and any luck you might have had recently will run out and bad beats will surely gobble up your remaining bank roll.
You so have to take this all with a very large pinch of salt. Usually you will hear this story from the players who are also always telling stories about bad beats and the ones who always insist that they are one step away from becoming the next Phil Ivey (or Annie Duke) or they would be, if it wasn’t for all the bad luck.
There is also another saying though that often relates to poker – its unlucky to be superstitious. By all means if you want to become a regular real money poker player keeping some of your winnings invested in your growing bankroll is a good idea. Doing so can help get you the stake money you need to ‘move up a level” but if you are going to keep all of your winnings tied up you do have to ask yourself what was the point in the first place?
Poker is supposed to be fun, even real money poker. and part of that fun is cashing out some of your winnings and treating yourself a little. A nice dinner out, a new gadget, whatever you fancy. actually getting to reap the benefits of your new found poker skills is all a part of the game.