poker bankroll management banner
Poker bankroll management is part of the skill of the game. In videos games the objective is often to get the highest score. Furthermore as you progress to more difficult stages your enemies also become tougher.


Follow the guidelines and don’t lose your poker life!

This is similar to poker except just starting over when you die isn’t quite so simple! So to avoid losing your poker life blood, and give yourself the best shot at building a poker bankroll and progressing to harder games, you need to follow certain guidelines that are as important as learning to beat the game itself.

There shouldn’t be any reason why a motivated person can’t build a poker bankroll. With a plethora of sites and games to chose from online, as well as the chance of having a brick and mortar casino nearby,  the stage is set for some serious wealth accumulation. These steps will sound simple enough, but the tricky part is ignore just one of these key points and you may find you quickly undo any good work that has been done building a poker bankroll. So pay careful attention to the following 4 key factors to give yourself the best shot at building a poker bankroll.

1. Define Your Poker Bankroll and Games You Intend to Play

Be sure to understand what options are available with the bankroll you have. that is, what games and stakes are right for you (check out our guide here). This isn’t just about being conservative, it’s true poker bankroll management serves as a safeguard against going broke, but it should also allow you the opportunity to take shots and move up in games (stake guidelines).

2. Learn and Continue to Grow

Just playing isn’t enough, mastery of the game involves doing volume at the tables and a Conscientious work ethic away from the tables. Thankfully there are many resources available to speed up learning or to focus on specific areas of the game. Check out HowToPlayPokerInfo’s list of the best poker training sites for some of the best ways to improve your game.

As obstacles hit you embrace the challenge, and grow as a player. First, take some time to try to understand what needs to be done to overcome the next challenge, then do it! You can’t get complacent. This also means getting the most out of any software you might be using to assist you at the tables and staying up to date with the latest software available to keep you a step ahead at the tables (more about learning and software here).

3. Accept Variance.

Just because you are a good player doesn’t mean your road to the top is going to be a steady one. Even great players have losing sessions, even consecutive losing weeks and months. It’s important to keep in mind playing well and winning doesn’t always go hand-in-hand and vice-versa. Get an idea of what sort of variance is likely to install for you and embrace it. If it wasn’t for variance, there would likely be a lot more poker pros out there so be thankful for this extra hurdle to deter more poker players from rising up through the ranks. Understanding variance and being prepared gives you an edge (find out more about variance and find a variance calculator here).

4. Stay on Your A-Game.

cash_rollA lot more difficult then it sounds, the challenge of constantly playing an A-Game is 2 fold. Firstly, as humans, our physical and emotional state may interfere with our ability to play good poker. Stress, being tired, frustration, these can all lead to decreased performance at the poker table. The second challenge, is being able to recognize when we aren’t playing as sharply as we usually do and correcting the situation. A lot of damage is done to a poker bankroll when a player simply should have taken the day-off but instead hits the tables and sets off a down swing.

There’s a key general element which could possibly be added to this list. Have fun! Poker was invented as an fun way to pass the time. It’s exciting and challenging, but at times can push us emotionally. Understand yourself and what motivates you. Is it a certain achievement? Is it something you want to buy for yourself?  Is it a competition with a friend or a goal you’ve set for yourself? Providing you are enjoying the game, the process of building a poker bankroll is going to be a better one. And by following the poker bankroll management steps listed, it’s going to help grow your bankroll and that’s sure to make playing poker more fun too!

Enjoy the game. Keep learning and don’t give up.




Kelvin ‘Acesup’ Beattie had experience across multiple games, but elected to embark on a bankroll building challenge (turn $2K into $40K in 2 months) using MTTs as the poker bankroll building platform. Let’s take a look at some factors and see why this made a lot of sense from a bankroll building perspective.

  • Acesup has spent time playing MTTs in recent times and is confident in that game type. To play cash games and make the same sort of money would involve a learning curve, as time would need to be spent getting up to speed with the latest strategy in that game format.
  • A flexible daily schedule over a 2 month period really allows for a lot of time to be spent at the tables which is great for MTT play.
  • Acesup has been able to collect a significant amount of data on MTT players given the volume he’s put in playing multi-table tournaments. Valuable information.
  • The size of the bankroll and the significant target ($40,000), makes MTTs a good choice since a roll will need to be built quickly and tournaments. although involving more variance, provide a good opportunity for a player to go on a good run and multiply their starting bankroll many times.

In a scenario where a player only has a limited block of time, SNGs or cash games make more sense. This is common for players with full-time jobs who can only devote a couple of hours to playing at a time. They can quickly load up a bunch of SNGs or load up some cash game tables. The later being better if you need to finish your session at an exact time since SNGs are a little trickier to control the exact finish time, unless you are playing the hyper-turbo variation in which case games start and end extremely quickly.

 In reference to the 4 Key Factors  

1. Define Your Poker Bankroll and Games You Intend to Play – As defined above, Acesup was taking $2,000 and intended to quickly grow it. MTTs offer a variety of games across multiple sites, so there’s no limit to the games that can be played with a $2K roll. The flexible schedule allowed Acesup to devote the necessary time it takes to grind MTTs and moreover hedge his playing times more towards when games were the most lucrative.

2. Learn and Continue to Grow – Acesup created the PokerNerve ‘Road to Success Course’ which outlines the skills required to crush MTTs, so beating the games was elementary. He utilizes PT4 and a HUD to overlay the statistical information acquired over time on his opponents. Furthermore, leading up to the challenge he did some passive study by watching some MTT videos, and also engaged in active learning by doing some review sessions of his play, keeping him focused on weaknesses in his game that he needed to work on.

40K Challange SS Graph

MTT graphs are rarely smooth over the short-term.

3. Accept Variance – Using statistical data to analyze the challenge, Acesup was aware that there was around a 5% chance he would bust his roll. Furthermore there was a possibility of falling short of the $40,000 target. But aiming high is a good way to increase work ethic and stay motivated. There were brief down-swings but it was treated as part of the variance in the game and Acesup has substantial playing history allowing him to stay aware of his edge over the fields he was up against, and hence maintain a positive mindset.

4. Stay on Your A-Game – We see glimpses of fatigue and exhaustion setting in but staying self aware, Acesup staggered his play with breaks and off-days. Moreover he tackled varying schedules to allow him to stay fresh, often times cutting back on tables to avoid decreased performance.

> Want to see more about the $2K to $40K Challenge? <