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Advanced Lessons in Bankroll Management: Other Factors to Consider

In Part 1 of this series I went over the basics of bankroll management and the “Industry Standard” that players use to determine what type of bankroll they will need. In this installment I’ll look at the numerous factors that will fine tune these bankroll guidelines to your specific needs as a player.

  • Your win-rate

The most important factor in determining the type of bankroll you will need has to do with your overall win-rate. Basically the bigger a winner you are the less variance you will suffer. Players who are just barely beating the game are going to have more pronounced losses, and longer losing streaks. Because of this, the closer you are to break-even, the larger a bankroll you will need.

  • Your monthly nut

Your monthly nut is the amount of money you need to make each month to cover your bills and expenses. If this number is on the low side than your bankroll requirements can be a little more relaxed since dropping down in stakes doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t make your bills. A player with a big monthly nut needs to be able to maintain their current stakes as dropping down in stakes may not provide them with enough of a win-rate to cover their expenses and rebuild their roll to move back up.

  • Your style of play

Even some big winners have wild swings because of their style of play. If you are a person who pushes ever single edge and is willing to gamble in a lot of marginal spots you will need a larger bankroll than someone who maybe doesn’t win quite as much but plays a far steadier “nittier” type of poker game.

  • The structure of the game

When considering what your bankroll needs will be you have to take into consideration the game structure. I’m not talking about the number of players (Full Ring, 6-Max, or Heads-Up), which mean very little in the grand scheme of things. What I’m speaking of regarding game structure are things like the rake and the blind and ante amounts.

Higher rake and even a higher small blind (such as a $5/$10 limit holdem gamed that uses a $3small blind instead of a $2 small blind) cut into your bottom-line profit, which will cause your variance to go up.

  • The poker variant you play

Another important factor is the type of poker game you play. Generally speaking split pot games have much lower variance for winning players and therefore require less of a bankroll to play without worrying about going broke.

  • How you handle wins/losses

Players who are willing to move down in limits (and can afford to) will not need as large of a bankroll as stubborn players who will simply keep plugging away at their current stakes, or even worse try to move up in stakes to recoup their losses.

  • The number of levels below your current stakes

A willingness to move down in stakes is only important if there are levels below you to move down to! If you are a $10/$20 Limit Holdem player and the only stakes at the local cardroom under this is a $4/$8 game you are going to have to adjust your bankroll requirements up since you only have one drop in stakes available to you. If your local cardroom also offers $5/$10, $4/$8 and $2/$4 games you have a little more leeway if things start to go horribly bad.

  • Your Tilt factor

The final factor that will factor into your bankroll requirements is how easily you go on tilt. If you are a tilty player then you should compensate for this (while at the same time trying to break yourself of this) by increasing your bankroll. By doing this one or two tilt-induced sessions won’t cripple you; although I would suggest working as hard as you can to decrease your tilt factor.

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