Bankroll Management

Bankroll Management

Bankroll Management is a term we hear too often in the poker circles in India, but it is the most important aspect of poker if one wants to be a successful poker player.
How many times have we heard of a player cashing in 6 digit numbers at games online and live and a few weeks down the line there is gossip about how broke is. How many times have we heard of a player striking gold on small stakes and then shifting gears to higher stakes and then going bust? Familiar conversations for all of us.

So here we are here today talking about one of the most important aspect or strategy of poker. Mastering this is more important than any other aspect of poker, and will determine your success and future as a poker player.


The term “bankroll” refers to the amount of money you set aside exclusively to play poker – weather it is online or offline, and how to manage this fund and grow it is called “Bank roll management’.

It is separate from all the other finances in your life. Treat it like an investment fund that you have to be very selective about investing. One wrong investment or not knowing when to exit and you could go bust..


The reason why you should choose your limits carefully in poker is due to “Variance”. Variance is a term used to describe the “up and down swings” of poker where your bank roll fluctuates, resulting in varying profits and losses.

If you play poker for long enough there are going to be periods of time where you will consistently lose money, not because you are playing badly, but because you’re not hitting the cards, and there is nothing you can do about it . This means that if you do not have enough money in your bankroll to absorb these big downswings, it is very easy to bust your bank rolls.

Therefore every time we sit down at the poker table, whether it is live or online, we want to give ourselves the best opportunity to win a maximum amount of profit whilst keeping the risk of going broke minimal. This is where the rules of bankroll management come into play.



The “Numero Uno” of all rules in poker. In poker there is every possibility to lose a hand and your stack, even if you have played the hand in the most perfect way possible. There is also a hustler waiting to provoke you to play more when you are “TILTING” in hopes of recovery. NEVER risk an amount of money that could get you into financial trouble away from the poker table, especially if you are tilting or experiencing a downswing.


More often than not there are three kinds of players, and each of them have different reasons, expectations and goals from the game. it is very Important for you to know what is it that you want or rather why are you playing the game . This will help you select the right level and stakes of the game to reach your goals.

  • Recreational players are mainly playing primarily playing for fun and have other sources of income besides poker. If they bust their bankroll they can fund it with fresh money from their regular source of income.
  • Serious players are good and profitable players but do not depend only on poker for their income. It is not the end of the world if they lose their poker bankroll, but it will hurt.
  • Professional players depend on poker as their only source of income. They cannot afford to lose all their bankroll as this means they would lose their job. Therefore they follow and practice the strict discipline and bankroll management .


Always have a set limit’s and budgets for any style of poker that you play. Bank roll limits vary for each game style. Always remember two things:

  1. You don’t have to play every hand, there is hand dealt approximately every 4 minutes.
  2. There is always a tomorrow, if you are not running good or tilting on a particular day.

Don’t play or try to get into the quicksand called “Recovery”. Money lost is not yours any more, but the money you have is still yours and you can decide when is the best time to use it. Live to fight another day.


As a poker player you start playing at a limit that you feel is too high, you should stop – even if you can afford to keep playing. It is easy to get nervous in these situations, which can lead to you no longer enjoying the game and making poor decisions. A competent poker player only plays within the limits in which he or she feels comfortable.


Bankroll management is a very tricky subject. It depends a lot on the kind of player you are, what formats of the game you usually play etc. To try and simplify it as much as possible, below are the different formats of the game and the bankroll required to play your game.

There are two main aspect that dictate bankrolls.

a. What should your average buy-in be depending on the blinds.

So buy-in depends on the game style of the player, but basically it should be big blind x 50.

For e.g. stakes are 5-10 blinds, then big blind being 10 so the buy-in should be 10*50 =500.

b. How many buy-ins should you have behind to start playing?

Having a comfortable bankroll is very important. Reason being it is virtually impossible to win every time you play poker, and if you don’t plan your bank roll you can bust your bank roll even before you realise it. The rule of thumb for managing your bank roll is that you should never risk more than 5% of your bank roll in any one sitting, also play stakes where 5% of your bank roll is equal to 1 buy in of 50 blinds that particular stakes.

For example

Stakes: 10/20 blinds

Min buy-in stack: 20(big blind)*50(no of bb’s)=1000(min stack to sit on the game)

Bank roll: min buy-in @ 5% =1000*20x=20,000.

In the table below is the bankroll and min-buy-in calculations for each stakes commonly played online and live across India.