Top 10 Tips for Online Poker Bankroll Management

This July is a huge month for online poker players.

Many of them have just gotten acquainted with online poker for the first time this year. Since March, when the coronavirus pandemic forced all nonessential businesses to close – casinos and card rooms among them – people began to turn to online gambling more than any time in recent history. And while online casino games like slots are always popular, online poker continues to be hugely popular.

As many live poker venues remain closed across North America into the summer, online poker operators began scheduling massive online series. One is already underway, and two will begin next weekend.

With so many millions of dollars on the line, as well as World Poker Tour titles and World Series of Poker gold bracelets, people are playing a lot of online poker and will be from now into September.

Experienced players usually know how to manage their bankrolls through a long series or over a long period of continuous play. New players, on the other hand, tend to want to dive in head first and throw caution to the wind. That can make for a very short series for players if they don’t manage their money and make it last.

Here are some of the top tips for poker players to stay within their limits and ranges.

  1. Make Lists

Start with the amount of money in your poker bankroll. Then, make a list of the tournaments you want to play, and list them in order of importance. Compare that list to your bankroll and figure out how many tournaments you can actually afford to play. (Microsoft Excel works best because it handles calculations easily.)

Keep in mind that the original list cannot include any potential winnings. However, you can make secondary lists that can be used in case of winnings coming into play.

There are other ways to make your money last longer, which we’re getting to in this list.

  1. Find Qualifiers

The best way to make a bankroll last longer is to find satellites and qualifiers events that cost a fraction of the buy-in of the intended tournament. Every site is running massive numbers of feeders into the larger events before and during these series.

Factor satellite wins and losses into your bankroll spreadsheet. If you spend the cost of the buy-in for one tournament on satellites and don’t win that seat, it may be best to move on to the next one. The alternative is to adjust your spreadsheet.

  1. Mind Percentage Rules

Take the amount of your starting bankroll, and make your lists based on using only 2% of that amount for any one tournament. That is the standard by which most poker players spend money on tournament buy-ins. There can be some variance depending upon things like run-good, but it’s best to never spend more than 5% of your bankroll on one event.

  1. Watch Out for Reentries

Most online poker tournaments these days offer at least one reentry, if not two or three. Be careful of those temptations. Either include those potential reentries in your bankroll management spreadsheet or try to avoid the reentries at all costs.

The re-entries are especially tempting when running bad or busting on a bad beat. Try to remember, though, that just one reentry will force you to adjust your entire spreadsheet and may affect your potential to play throughout these series.

  1. Participate in Promotions

Every site running a tournament series will also run promotions. Keep those in mind to make the most of any account deposits.

One of the most notable promotions for the 2020 WSOP on GGPoker is the Silk Road, one geared toward micro-stakes players. This is a great way to earn tournament entries at a fraction of the buy-in, making your bankroll last longer. Silk Road provides two months of direct qualifiers.

On the other hand, steer clear of playing specifically for leaderboard points. Every tournament series will offer a leaderboard challenge, but it can be easy to get sidetracked by points instead of focusing on the events themselves.

  1. Avoid Late Registrations

If a tournament offers five or more hours of late registration, this might not be a good choice, especially if you’re not a professional poker player. These events require players to last through all of the hours of registration and then some just to make it through the money bubble. It may not be worth the time or effort. It is something to consider.

  1. Make Time for Study

One of the ways to get the most out of your bankroll is to improve your play as you go. Take the time to look over your hand histories, play out different scenarios on practice programs, and ask friends for advice. Not only will this help with building confidence as you keep playing through a series, it can also help get past any downswings with the knowledge that your game is improving.

  1. Stick to Your Best Games

Tournament series can open players’ eyes to new poker variations and structures. That Omaha event may sound interesting and may have a big guarantee, and you may have played some Omaha with friends. But it’s probably not wise to throw money from a limited bankroll into an event in which you don’t give yourself the best chance of winning.

In addition, that turbo tournament at the end of the night might seem like a good idea to work off some tilt or make some “quick money.” But if you don’t possess experience in turbo tournaments, this probably isn’t the best time to throw money into one.

  1. Stay Physically and Mentally Healthy

It is important for any poker player – live or online – to stay physically and mentally fit, but it is easier to lose track of that when playing online.

Stay active, even if it means standing up while playing the tournament, walking in place, or doing squats between hands. And after busting out of an event, take a brisk walk (or jog or run) around the block to work out that frustration.

As always, drink plenty of water and eat healthy foods.

  1. Be Flexible

Be open to adjusting your original lists and spreadsheets. As mentioned, it is wise to start out with one primary spreadsheet but keep one or two alternatives on file. Any winnings will require adjustments, as will any big mistakes or that extra reentry.

Players do also experience run-good and run-bad. If you are on a roll and cashing a lot, it doesn’t hurt to adjust to add more tournaments to keep that momentum going. On the other hand, running bad may require a break in the schedule.

Stay aware and keep your eyes on the prize.

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. From her days in the WPT offices to covering summers of WSOP tournament action, she also followed gambling legislation to Washington D.C. and women-only poker to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years before moving back to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Now, Jen travels less, writing about poker and online gambling from her home with her two dogs watching her every move. In her spare time, she follows politics, works on her never-finished novels, and learns Italian in the hopes of retiring to Italy someday.

If you want to know more, you can follow Jen on Twitter @WriterJen


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