Bankroll Poker

Posted : admin On 08.02.2021

Each time I lost my bankroll. For 3 whole years I was in denial. I told myself I was a good player, I just needed to work on my bankroll management and study the game and be less impulsive. It took me 3 whole years to realise I FUCKING SUCKED AT POKER. The best poker bankroll management strategy for beginners is to have 50 buyins for any limit you are playing. Experienced poker players can get by with a bankroll of 30 buyins. And for professional poker players I recommend using a bankroll management strategy of 100 buyins for any limit you are playing. There is a lot more to it than this though. 1 day ago  re: Poker & Busting bankroll I know you feel about that, I lost my money for tilt, sometimes a calling station and go tourney unprepared for play poker, but I know this and I do my better thinking. 'Bankroll management' (sometimes abbreviated to BRM) is where you play at certain limits to avoid losing all of your bankroll due to bad runs of cards, which any poker player must expect from time to time. This is called 'playing within your bankroll'. Free poker bankrolls are similar to no deposit poker bonuses. The main difference is that free poker bankrolls are not provided directly by online poker sites. Bankrolls are provided by poker room affiliates that do the personal details verification and sometimes they even test skills of poker players using various kinds of poker quizzes.


Every serious poker player,every professional poker player, andevery aspiring professional poker playerwill at some pointask the same question.

“How big a bankroll do I need?”

Sometimes it isphrased differently.

  • “How big a bankroll do I need to play that game?”
  • “How big a bankroll do I need to go pro?”
  • “How big a bankroll do I need to play at those stakes?”
  • “How do I know if my bankroll is big enough?”

It is the same question.And we all ask itat one pointor another.We usually getthe same answers too.

“Twenty times the buyinfor no-limit hold’em.Three hundred big betsfor limit poker.”

It’s a rule of thumb.And it’s a pretty good one,like “Don’t draw to an inside straight.”

But that rule of thumbdoes not applyto every situation.

  • Is the pot is laying fifty-to-one?
  • Will your opponentcall off their entire stack?
  • Are there cards thatyou can bluff with?
  • What are the oddsyou havethe best hand already?
  • What other cardscould give youthe best hand?

Every situation is different.And if you are a serious poker player,you know how to figure outif you shoulddraw to an inside straightin each of these situations.

A rule of thumbabout bankrolls isthe same —it does not applyto every situation.

  • Are youless risk-averseor more risk-averse?
  • Are you looser and more aggressiveor tighter and more passive?
  • Are your opponents looser and more aggressiveor tighter and more passive?
  • Are you playing a gamewith relatively high variance(like no-limit hold’em)or low variance(like limit Omaha/8)?
  • Are you are playing professionallyand taking moneyout of your bankrollfor rent?
  • Or are you are playing recreationallyand adding to your bankrollfrom your paycheck?

Every situation is different.And if you are a serious poker player,you should know how to figure outwhat your required bankroll isin each of these situations.

This guide willshow you how. Poker holdem online free play vegas world.

Table of Contents

  • The Bankroll Requirement Formula

About the Author

Before we start,I want to talka little bitabout myselfin caseyou want to knowwhere this is coming from.If you don’t careabout meyou can skip aheadto “What Is a bankroll”.

In 2002,I earneda Bachelor of Sciencein Computer Sciencefrom the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 2006,I quit my jobas a software engineerto be a professional poker player.I played professionallyfor about seven years.

Even thoughI was a solid winner,I was perpetually brokeand constantly worriedabout my bankroll.Eventually,I went backto my careerin softwarebut I held onto the desireto understand poker bankrollsand to returnto the freedomof being a professional poker player.

In 2016,I foundthe last pieceof the puzzleand discoveredthat there really were answersto all my questionsabout my bankroll.

In October 2018,I put everythingI had learnedabout bankroll managementinto an appthat I calledNeverbust.

Neverbust implements everythingyou’re about to learnabout tracking and managingyour poker bankroll(and it isfree to start).

What Is a Bankroll?

Bankroll Poker

Before you canfigure outyour bankroll requirements,you need to know whata bankroll is.

Your bankroll isthe amount of moneyyou haveto play poker.If your bankrollgoes to zeroyou can’t play anymore.You are bust.

Going bust doesn’t haveto be permanent.Most players havesome way to replenishtheir bankrolls.For some,it’s a tripto the ATM.For others,it’s a yearof saving upfor their next gambling vacation.For others,the only wayto replenish their bankrollis to go outand get a job.

Why Do Bankrolls Matter?

Bankrolls matter becauseif you don’t have a bankroll,you can’t play poker.How muchyour bankroll mattersdepends onhow muchplaying poker mattersto you.

If you area recreational player,your bankroll is importantbecause if you don’t have a bankroll,you can’t play pokerand playing poker is fun.

If you area professional player,your bankroll is importantbecause if you don’t have a bankrollyou can’t play poker,and playing poker isnot just fun,it isyour job, livelihood, and source of income.

Bottom line,if poker is importantto youthen your bankroll isalso important.

What Is Your Bankroll?

Your bankroll isthe amount of moneythat you are willing and ableto lose playing poker.

Your bankroll may beless moneythan you haveset aside for poker.If you lost 95%of the moneyyou set asidefor poker,would you be willingto gamblewith the last 5%?

Your bankroll may bemore moneythan you haveset asidefor poker.Tommy Angelo sayshis bankroll includes“all the moneyhe can borrow.”

How Big of a Bankroll Do You Need?

The answerto the question“How bigof a bankrolldo I need?”is the sameas the answerto every questionin poker.

“It depends.”

Lucky for you,I knowwhat it depends onand soonyou will too.

There isa simple formulafor calculatingyour bankroll requirements.But in orderto understand it,we need to lookat what it meansand where it comes from.

What happensif your bankrollis too small?At any moment,you might hita run of bad luck,go on a downswing,and lose a bunch of money.If your downswing isas big asor bigger thanyour bankroll,you’ll loseall your money.You’ll be bust.That is whatwe are tryingto avoid.

I havesome bad news.There isabsolutely no bankrollthat will guaranteethat you willnever bust.No matterhow bigyour bankroll is,there is some chancethat you areabout to starta downswingbig enoughto drive itto zero.

The good news isthat you can decidehow much riskyou wantto takeof going bust.It can’t be zero,but it can beas close to zeroas you want.If you knowthat number,and you knowthe characteristicsof the gameyou play,there isa simple formulafor figuring outhow big a bankrollyou need.

The Bankroll Requirement Formula

The mathematical formulafor figuring outhow big a bankrollyou needis calledthe risk-of-ruin equation.

`P(bust) = ( 2 / (1 + mu / (sqrt(mu^2 + sigma^2))) - 1)^(s / (sqrt(mu^2 + sigma^2)))`

  • `P(bust)` is the probability of busting, aka your bust risk,
  • `s` is your starting bankroll,
  • `sigma` is standard deviation, and
  • `mu` is your win rate.

Once you knowthese values,all you need to dois plug theminto the equationand you’ll know exactlyhow large a bankrollyou need.So let’s figure outwhat these values areand how to find them.

Bust Risk

Your bust risk isthe riskyou arewilling to takeof busting.

The less riskyou are willingto take,the larger a bankrollyou will need.

Poker Bankroll Size

If you playrelatively low stakesand havea good jobthat you can useto replenish your bankroll,you may be willingto take a significant riskof going broke.

If youplay poker professionally,for high stakes,and don’t haveany other marketable skills,you will probably wantyour bust riskto be very small.

No bankrollcan completely eliminateyour bust risk.So you needto decidehow much of a riskyou are willingto take.

Win Rate

Your win rate isthe amountthat you win,on average,per hour of play.

Estimating Win Rate

It is impossibleto knowwith certainty whatyour win rate is.The best we can dois estimate it.And the best estimateof how muchyou will win per houris how muchyou have won per hour.

`bar x = X/T`

  • `X` is the total amount won,
  • 'T' is the total number of hours player, and
  • `bar x` is the estimate of your win rate.

Losing Players

If you area losing player,you will go bustno matterhow bigyour bankroll is.If you havea large bankroll,it willtake a little longer.If your varianceis high,you have a better chanceof hitting a lucky streak firstand losing less than averageor even winningfor a while.

But if you lose moneyon average,it is onlya matter of timebefore you loseall the moneyin your bankroll.

Breakeven Players

If you area breakeven player,you will go bustno matter how largeyour bankroll is.

No matterhow largeyour bankroll is,you will eventuallyhave a downswingthat is at leastthat big.And when it happens,you will go bust.

Winning Players

Bankroll Poker

If you area winning player,you havea chanceof not busting.

For every finite amount,you will eventuallyhave a downswingat leastthat big.To survive,you mustgrow your bankrollfast enoughthat when that downswing happens,your bankroll is big enoughto survive it.

Net Win Rate

When figuring outyour bankroll requirement,your win rate isn’twhat’s really important.What is really importantis how quicklyyour bankroll is growing(or not growing).

If you lose,on average,five hundred dollarsper monthat poker,but you takesix hundred dollarsfrom your paycheckevery monthand add itto your poker bankroll,then your bankroll will growone hundred dollarsper month,on average.

If you win,on average,five hundred dollarsper monthat poker,but you takesix hundred dollarsfrom your bankrollevery monthfor rent,then your bankrollwill shrinkone hundred dollarsper month,on average.

If your bankroll isshrinkingon average,it willeventually getto zero.

If your bankroll isstaying the sameon average,you will go bustwhen you hit a downswingthat isat least as largeas your bankroll.

This is another reasonamateur and casual playersdon’t have to worryabout their bankrolls.If you are addinga significant amountof moneyto your bankrollon a regular basis,it drastically lowersyour riskof going bust.

In contrast,if you are playingat stakesthat are highcompared to your disposable income,your bankroll ismuch more important.You cannot add significant amountsfrom other income.

The situation iseven more extremefor a professional poker player.They are actually taking moneyaway from their bankroll,as income.As a result,their win rates and bankrollsneed to be much higher.

Estimating Your Net Win Rate

Expenses are typically measuredon a monthly basis.So in orderto calculateyour hourly net win rateyou need to also knowhow many hoursyou playper month.

`bar x = (X/T) - (E / H)`

  • `X` is the total amount won,
  • `T` is the total number of hours played,
  • `E` is the amount taken out of your bankroll each month, and
  • `H` is the number of hours played per month.

Standard Deviation

Standard deviation isa measure ofhow muchyour results fluctuate.

At a regular job,your pay doesn’tfluctuate at all.Target pays fifteen dollarsper hour.If you spendan hour stocking shelvesat Target,they’ll pay youfifteen dollars,every time,for every hour.

Poker isn’t like that.Today you mightbe dealt huge handsover and over againand win every pot.Tomorrow you mightbe have the same big handsbut lose every potto even bigger hands.

The more your results fluctuate,the larger your bankrollneeds to be.

Your fluctuations will dependon the stakesyou play at,the type of game,your style of play,and your opponents’ style of play.

Bankroll Pokerstars

  • Higher stakes gameshave more fluctuationsthan lower stakes games.
  • No-limit gameshave more fluctuationsthan limit games.
  • Loose-aggressive playcreates more fluctuationsthan tight-passive play.
  • Loose-aggressive opponentscreate more fluctuationsthan tight-passive opponents.


Another term forthese fluctuationsis variance.

As a math term,variance is equalto the standard deviation squared.It hassome interesting propertiesand makes most formulasa little simpler.

I preferto use standard deviationbecause the numbershave an easily comprehensible meaning.

  • Sixty-eight percent of the time,your results will bewithin one standard deviationof your expected value.
  • Ninety-five percent of the timethey will bewithin two standard deviations.
  • Ninety-nine point seven percent of the timethey will bewithin three standard deviations.

(This is known asthe 69-95-99.7 rule.)

Estimating Standard Deviation

It is impossibleto knowwith certainty whatyour standard deviation is.The best we can dois estimate it.

Poker Bankroll App

Sample Standard Deviation

For our purposes,the best estimateof standard deviationwould bethe standard deviationof your resultsafter applyingBessel’s correction.

`sigma^2 = (1/(N-1))sum_(i=1)^N(x_i - bar x)^2`

  • `sigma` is your standard deviation per hour,
  • `N` is the number of hours you have played,
  • `x_i` is the result of the `i`-th hour, and
  • `bar x` is your win rate

The problem withthis method is thatfew live poker playershave records oftheir resultson an hour-by-hour basis.We could stopevery hourto record our results,but I don’t likebeing interrupted or distractedduring a poker game.Besides,Kenny Rogers said,“Never count your moneywhen you’re sittingat the table.”

Weitzman Variance Estimator

You can useyour session resultsto estimateyour hourly standard deviationby usingan equationdeveloped by Max Weitzman.

The Weitzman variance estimatorwas first publishedon Usenetin the group

I discovered iton page 62of Gambling Theory and Other Topicsby Mason Malmuth.

`sigma^2 = (1/N)sum_(i=1)^N(x_i^2/t_i) - (bar x^2/N)sum_(i=1)^N t_i`

  • `sigma` is your standard deviation per hour,
  • `N` is the number of hours you have played,
  • `x_i` is the result of the `i`-th hour, and
  • `bar x` is your win rate

With the Weitzman variance estimator,you can estimate your standard deviationfrom your session results.


Most people are satisfiedwith a simple rule of thumbto calculate their bankroll requirements.Most people will neverbe successful as poker players.

If you want to calculateyour exact bankroll requirementfor the games you play,the way you play them,the people you play against,and your specific risk tolerance,you have everything you needto do that now.

If you want a toolyou can useto record your resultsthat will calculateyour bankroll requirementsfor you(and a lot more),sign up foran account on Neverbust.It’s free to start.