Bankroll Management

Which limits you should play in poker, how much money you need, when you can move up in the limits and when can you live from poker?

All these questions are answered by the bankroll management also called BRM. What this is, how it works and why everyone who wants to be successful in poker should stick to a certain bankroll management, explains you this article.

The bankroll of a poker player is the money he has for poker and which he is ready to invest. The Bankroll Management serves to show the player certain rules and structure in his gaming behavior. The objective of the BRM is to minimize the risk of losing a significant portion of its bankroll and at the same time set limits that maximize profits and are optimal for yourself and the bankroll.

A classic example of how bankroll management does not work

A player who is just starting to play poker painstakingly saves 500 euros, goes to the casino and sits down at a € 1/€2 table. Even if this player is a god of cards and Phil Ivey in person, he will go bankrupt almost 50% and then have to start saving again until he can sit down at a poker table again.

A good poker player do it a bit other

A good and successful poker player considers the game as an investment. An investment can generate returns, but can also lead to losses. In the best case, you only invest if you make profits in the long term, but even then you will see fluctuations and losses in the short and medium term. The bankroll of a player must be able to easily withstand these fluctuations, which are called swing in the poker scene, if he does not want to run the risk of going bankrupt.

There are several ways to approach bankroll management. Depending on the type of player, there is a very aggressive BRM, a cautious and a conservative BRM. We would like to introduce you to these 3 different species.

1. The aggressive Bankroll-Management

Minimum bankroll for a level: 10 buy-ins
Level Up Bankroll: 15 buy-ins for the next level

-Fast rise in the limits possible

– Very high risk of losing a large part
– The player has to come to terms with the idea of ​​regularly lowering the limits again

For whom suitable?
– Players who want to quickly build a bankroll at low limits. Players who know that they can beat the limits and for players who are willing to pay if the bankroll is lost.

In the aggressive BRM you always play with at least ten buy ins. For example, if you have $ 450, this equates to 9 buy ins for NL50 or 18 buy-ins for NL25. With this bankroll you should play at most NL25. If you drop below 10 buy-ins for NL25, you have to movedown and play NL10. Once you have 15 buy ins for the next limit, you can move again up.

A bankroll management with 10 buy-ins is really very aggressive, because in the cash game fluctuations in the range of 10 to 20 buy-ins are not uncommon and belong to the right grinder to the normal course. That’s why you really have to stick to the limits of this aggressive bankroll management if you fall below 10 buy-ins for a limit.

The careful bankroll management

Minimum bankroll for a level: 30 buy-ins
Level Up Bankroll: 40 buy-ins for the next level

– Better protection against the variance (Swings)
– The probability of losing the bankroll and going bankrupt is very low

– The bankroll is developing slowly
– The player must stay on a level longer until he can move up

For whom suitable
– Players who do not know yet if they beat their level constantly
– Players who consider their bankroll as capital
– Players who are not forced to pay regularly

The careful BRM holds at least 30 buy-ins for his level and you can move up only with 40 buy-ins for the next limit. With this method, players can reduces the fluctuations/swings drastically and does not have to change so often between different limits  like in the aggressive bankroll management.

If your bankroll is a value that you can not or will not easily offset with other sources of revenue, you should lean towards the vareful BRM, as it reduces the risk of losing a large part of the bankroll in a short time dramatically.

The conservative bankroll management

Minimum bankroll for a level: 60 buy-ins

Level Up Bankroll: 80 buy-ins for the next level


– Maximum high protection against the variance
– The probability of going bankrupt is almost zero

– The player must play extremely many hands on a limit before he can ascend

For whom suitable?
– Players who can not afford to go bankrupt
– Players who have to pay regularly
– Players on higher limits

Conservative bankroll management is for players who live off poker. If the loss of much of the bankroll equals a financial catastrophe, it is the player’s first duty to make sure that this disaster is never addressed.

That’s why you play with as many buy ins as a hedge and only increases if the roll can easily put away a moderate loss. There are players who are even more conservative and even have at least 100 buy-ins on their bankroll for their limit.

Again a short summary of bankroll management

1. Bankroll management only makes sense if you win poker in the long run. A player who is a losing player can manage his bankroll as he wishes, sooner or later he will be bankrupt.

2. The probability of going bankrupt is always greater than zero, no matter how good you are or how many buy-ins you have on your roll. But you can reduce the risk to almost zero if you stick to the conservative bankroll management.

3. Players who regularly cash outout a fixed amount have a significantly increased risk of going bankrupt.

4. The more value the bankroll presents to one, the more conservative one should approach bankroll management. Anyone who runs poker solely as a hobby and is prepared to invest a certain amount each month does not have to follow the rules as hard as someone who has to apply for support from the state if he lose his bankroll.

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Latest changes

The last changes of the page “Cash Game Bankroll Management” was made by YPD on January 27, 2019