Poker How To Articles


Bankroll Management for Tournaments, Cash Games, and SNG

Tuesday, November 30, 2010
By John Zimmerman (poolshooter)
PS Members

I have seen far too many members putting up blogs of late saying, "damn took a couple bad beats, blew my bankroll" or the ever popular asking for stakes due to "been on a real downswing", etc.

This really makes me wonder why so many members do not exercise rule #1 for poker play, Bankroll Management (BRM). This should be the 1st (and main) commandment of playing poker: play within your bankroll. If a player practices basic BRM, they will never "tap out" their bankroll. This holds true for beginner to "pro" players.

We have plenty of information available just within our forum. Take the time to learn basic BRM by going through the free Pokerspace poker school.

There are multiple lessons regarding BRM in the Pokerspace School, in fact there are 4 lessons specifically on BRM alone. Take the time to review the lessons for a quick brush up if you need to but at least take the time to learn basic BRM, no doubt the time spent doing so will serve you (and your bankroll) a world of good.

Proper Bankroll Management for Cash Games, Tournaments, and SNG's


As a general rule, if you are going to play cash games (NL or PL) it is recommended that you buy in for 100 big blinds and that buy in should not exceed 5% of your entire bankroll. So, say you want to buy in to a cash game of 5c/10c No Limit Hold'em. This requires a buy in of $10 (100 bbs) and, in order to abide by the 5% of your bankroll theory, a bankroll of $200. Don't have a $200 bankroll? Then don't buy in to a 5c/10c cash game, you (actually your bankroll) can't afford that game, unless you aren't practicing basic BRM.


The general thought is if you are going to play a tournament, your bankroll should be 40 times the buy in for the tournament you are going to play. So, if you have a $5 buy in tournament you want to play, using basic BRM, you should have a bankroll of $200 to play that tournament. Again, don't have the bankroll to support a $5 buy in MTT? Find a lower buy in that supports your bankroll.


Single table tournaments (aka sit n go's) fall under the same BRM as MTT tournaments. You should have a $40 bankroll if you are going to buy in to a $1 sit n go.

The foregoing are just generalizations but in my opinion are a good guideline for basic BRM.

One other suggestion I have is that you find your niche and stick with it. Yes, it is great to be good at all variances of poker games and types of games. By that I not only mean, NL HE, OMAHA, STUD, etc. but cash games, sit n go's or MTT tournaments. Figure out what game you are best at (NLHE, OMAHA, STUD, etc.) and type of games (cash, sit n go's or MTT tournaments). Once you have done that stick with those and build your bankroll. Build your bankroll first with what you do best, and then start moving over to different poker games and/or types of games.

Again, most importantly, don't lose sight of rule #1 when it comes to playing poker: BANKROLL MANAGEMENT.

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