Poker 101

john | March 18, 2021, 7:37 p.m.

Bankroll management.  Because what else is greater in life.  What makes a good player great is not how good he is at the game, that of course helps, but also how much money he has in the bank, but the point of bankroll management is to make that part relative.

It's rumored that a lot of the big name players are bankrolled, or backed.  This may in fact be true.  There are a few sites out there that offer that exact service, to back poker players.  There are also some big name winners that have said publicly they where backed for some of their big event wins.

Although I wont take away from the skill set of the players that are backed, I would venture to say that they may in fact be better players if they had proper bankroll management instead of being backed.

But what is bankroll management.  Well, it's math in the simplest of forms.  If you are going to play in a game, say $1/$2 No Limit Holdem.  Then you would of course need to have a large bankroll, and that might mean $3,000 to $5,000 depending on how good you are at the game.

To put this into perspective, let's make it simpler.  If you and you're friends are playing for money, you normally only play for $5 to $20.  It's not an amount that is going to "break the bank" so to say.

You can have fun while playing the game, since if you lose it's more you lose the ability to give your friend a hard time for how bad of a poker player he is.  And you have his money to prove it.

Now if you extrapolate this a bit you see that if you are playing in a $1/$2 game, you can sit maximum with $300.  That means that if you lose that $300, that shouldn't feel like it's "breaking the bank".

Hence why the bankroll management is suggested to around $3,000 to $5,000.  Of course the larger the bankroll, say $6,000 up to $10,000, the less the initial loss would affect you.

This of course seems easy, but the problem occurs when you play higher stakes.  The feeling of winning a hand, say in $1/$2 of $600 is amazing, unless you where playing say $2/$5 where the max buy in is from $3,000 to $5,000, so you could be winning a $10,000 pot in one sitting.

This all assumes you are a good player, but to get good, you must lose.  You can research, but even Michael Jordan was not good enough to make his high school varsity basketball team, he had to improve.

There of course is variance in the game, or as others may call it "luck".  You can have Aces and still lose, they are only 80% at best pre flop.  And there is nothing to say that you couldn't lose with aces every time you have them.  This is called "running bad".

Once again, this is where proper bankroll management comes into play.  The only difference is this is where most players fail.  Instead of moving down in stakes, and rebuild the bankroll, as would the better player, such as Phil Ivey use to do before he started getting backed.  They continue playing games that are out of their bankroll trying to "catch up" quickly. 

This of course works some times, and this is called "running good", but to hope doesn't seem practical in a game that involves money and is based on math.

Of course there are people who only play the game for leisure, and not a profession.  To them the joy of entertainment of "playing with the pros" is worth dropping a large amount of money just for the experience.  So bankroll management does not apply to them, such as Ben Affleck when he played in the California State Poker Championship, and won, as $10,000 to him relative to his bankroll, was probably like a person playing with their friends for $5.

And lastly there are those players that are or where pro's, we can call them the semi pro's.  They are the ones that come out of hiding.  The ones that made their fortunes perhaps a bit through poker and perhaps a bit through business.  They play for the thrill of the game.  Like Bill Gates, who plays $1/$2.


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