Unlike most online casino games, poker is a game where you’re not playing the house. While there is some luck involved, poker is mostly a game of skill played against other players. Those who play well consistently can be winners in the long run.
The term bankroll often is used to refer to the amount a player has built up or invested solely to play poker. Keeping that bankroll, managing it well, and keeping it growing should be goals for players hoping to be winners.
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1. Stay disciplined – If you’re going to consider playing for the long term and make that money last, come at it with the attitude that preserving your bankroll is very important. If you’re going to start with $500 and play with an attitude that you can easily go into your wallet and reload at that amount, then you’re approaching it with the wrong attitude. Treat that cash as an investment to make it last.
2. Avoid the cash crunch – It is ill-advised to risk a large percentage of your bankroll in a certain cash game or in a tournament. Make good choices when it comes to stakes and buy-ins. Players should avoid massive risks, especially in games they may not have a lot of experience playing. Instead of playing with 30 percent to 50 percent of your bankroll, 5 to 10 percent might be more in order. As the bankroll grows at smaller stakes, you will then have a chance to move up after finding some success. Also, never gamble with any money that you aren’t comfortable and willing to lose.
3. Game selection – Along with playing at the appropriate stakes, look for games where you may have an edge. If you haven’t been a successful Pot Limit Omaha player, it’s obviously not a good idea to jump in a big PLO cash game or tournament. Look for games where you have experience and may have an advantage. Also, if you move up in stakes and have several losing sessions, it’s OK to move back down and build back up.
4. There’s an app for that – It’s important to see how your play is going in the long run. Poker is a game of variance, so you will experience losing sessions over an extended period of time. The hope is that over time, however, savvy play will result in profits. There are numerous apps that make it easy to track your play and keep up with your performance. Are you losing more than winning? Maybe it’s time to brush up on your skills and strategy a bit more. Also, consider moving down in stakes to get some momentum going again.
5. Variance happens – You’re not going to win every session. It’s important to realize that. Don’t throw good money after bad; instead, live to fight another day. Having a session stop-loss cap and then sticking to it can save players from making emotional bankroll decisions to keep playing and possibly losing more. The game can be swingy and even the best players can experience major downswings. Limiting losses during these times can help make for winnings in the long run.
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6. Cashing out – Along with having a stop-loss, it’s important also to know when it’s time to get up and book a win. Don’t stay so long that you lose focus and a big percentage of any winnings trickles away. It’s also important to cash out some of those winnings as your bankroll continues to grow. Are you now 20 to 25 percent above your original bankroll? Maybe it’s time to cash out and ship some of those winnings to your bank account.
Poker is a great game and playing online is a lot of fun. But play smart and make that cash last. Even good players go broke with bad planning when it comes to money. Manage your cash well and you hopefully will survive the variance within the game for some nice wins in the long run.