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No Limit Cash Game Bankroll Management: Adjusting for Winrate

By , Rakeback.com Staff Writer

Basic advice for bankroll management is pretty simplistic. You've probably heard people talk about never risking more than 5% of your bankroll at any one time - keeping about 20 buy-ins available for your stakes, moving down when necessary, and so on.

That's fine, for the most part – but it also helps to get a sense for the worst breakeven stretches, cold runs, and downswings you can expect to face. We'll do this using three statistics you can easily find using any poker tracking software: a) your bb/100 winrate, b) the bb/100 standard deviation, and c) your average rake paid per 100 hands.

Let's take for example a solid, tight-aggressive 50NL 6max player, winning at 3bb/100 (or 1.5 PTBB/100, whichever you prefer) after rake, with a standard deviation of 80bb/100. On many rooms they'll be paying about 10bb/100 in rake. Let's assume they get about 4bb/100 of that back through a 40% rakeback deal, including the poker site's own promotions, all reload bonuses, everything.

 

So with an overall winrate of about 7bb/100, and putting in a volume of say 50,000 hands per month, any one month's results could be as good or bad as the graph below.

 

Variance Graph

 

This player can expect to wind up anywhere between a $4,000 winner or $1,000 loser in any given month, if their winrate is static – they might lose even more than 20 buy-ins, of course, if they ever tilt, play distracted, or fail to game select well, meaning that their winrate actually isn't where it should be. That's one argument for keeping considerably more than 20 buy-ins in your bankroll.

Another point to consider is the longest breakeven stretches you can expect to face. This player should expect statistical cold-streaks of up to 49,000 hands from time to time. They're very unlikely - but will happen eventually. As the old saying goes, some day every poker player runs worse than they ever thought possible. Keeping a large bankroll is useful for those times you have no profit to cash out for living expenses, and instead take out a small fraction of your roll.

 

Breakeven Stretch Frequency

 

The final, most scary factor is the largest downswings you need to be prepared for - those torturous times where you just seem to lose every single hand. Smaller downswings will be more common, but this player should be ready for a hit to the bankroll of over 4000bb, or 40 full stack buy-ins. If, like most of us, the very worst run-bad prevents you from playing your A-game, playing with 50 to 60 buy-ins may be a better idea.

 

Largest Downswing Graph

 

If you struggle with leaving the table, play long sessions on your C-game, don't drop down in stakes, or commit the cardinal sin of actually moving up in stakes in an effort to get unstuck, you may need way more of a bankroll to really protect yourself from going broke.

It's easier said than done, but perhaps the most important aspect of good bankroll management is to stop caring about swings – just concentrate on making the most +EV decisions you can in each hand and let the results take care of themselves.

You can plug in the numbers for your own play, make your own graphs, and get a better sense for yourself of the importance of bankroll management, here.

 

No-Limit/Pot –Limit Bankroll Management

Stake Levels

Max buy-in

20 Buy-ins

50 Buy-ins

60 Buy-ins

$0.01/$0.02

$2

$40

$100

$120

$0.02/$0.05

$5

$100

$250

$300

$0.05/$0.10

$10

$200

$500

$600

$0.10/$0.25

$25

$500

$1,250

$1,500

$0.25/$.50

$50

$1,000

$2,500

$3,000

$.50/$1

$100

$2,000

$5,000

$6,000

$1/$2

$200

$4,000

$10,000

$12,000

$2/$5

$500

$10,000

$25,000

$30,000

$5/$10

$1,000

$20,000

$50,000

$60,000

Fixed Limit Bankroll Management

 

Stake Levels*

Typical Buy-in

300 Big Bets

500 Big Bets

600 Big Bets

$0.05/$0.10

$3

$30

$50

$60

$0.10/$0.20

$6

$60

$100

$120

$0.25/$0.50

$15

$150

$250

$300

$0.50/$1

$30

$300

$500

$600

$1/$2

$60

$600

$1,000

$1,200

$2/$4

$120

$1,200

$2,000

$2,400

$3/$6

$180

$1,800

$3,000

$3,600

$4/$8

$240

$2,400

$4,000

$4,800

$5/$10

$300

$3,000

$5,000

$6,000

*Stake Levels are written as Small Bet/ Big Bet

Tournament Bankroll Management

Buy-in

20 Buy ins

40 Buy ins

50 Buy ins

$1.00+.10

$22

$44

$55

$2.00 +.20

$44

$88

$110

$5.00+.50

$110

$220

$275

$10+1

$220

$440

$550

$20+2

$440

$880

$1,100

$30+3

$660

$1,320

$1,650

$55+5

$1,200

$2,400

$3,000

$100+9

$2,180

$4,360

$5,450

$200+15

$4,300

$8,600

$10,750

Bankroll Management for Seven Card Stud

Stake Level

Typical Buy-in

300 Big Bets

400 Big Bets

500 Big Bets

$0.04/$0.08

$3.20

$24

$32

$40

$0.10/$0.20

$8

$60

$80

$100

$0.25/$0.50

$20

$150

$200

$250

$0.50/$1

$40

$300

$400

$500

$1/$2

$80

$600

$800

$1,000

$2/$4

$160

$1,200

$1,600

$2,000

$3/$6

$240

$1,800

$2,400

$3,000

$5/$10

$400

$3,000

$4,000

$5,000

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