If you truly want to be a successful and professional online poker player, the most important lesson you need to learn is bankroll management. Bankroll management (BR) is the process idnpoker of controlling your expenses and income, just like in a business. Look at your poker career as a business and set a budget with which you will be able to stay within.
The majority of poker players fail simply because of poor bankroll management. An important and essential part of your poker career and just as important as learning strategies is to control your bankroll. The primary goal of any professional poker player is to gain profit. After all, if you are not making a profit, you likely will not be in the business of poker very long.
Your bankroll should be funded out of excess cash from your regular income. For instance, if you have a steady job, you may want to set aside a percentage that will be exclusively for your poker career. 10% of your income might be a good start, depending on your individual needs.
Keep in mind again; Poker is NOT a get rich quick scheme. You likely are not going to make tons of money in a few days and be able to quit your day job. However, with a well-regulated plan of action, you could build your bankroll and eventually turn it into a full-time income.
Having said that, set aside an amount you are comfortable with and use ONLY that amount for your poker playing. If you have a losing session, or your bankroll gets depleted, you must discipline yourself to NOT play again until you are able to fund your bankroll again.
For example, you could set aside $30 each week for your bankroll. Win or lose each week, you will add $30 into your bankroll and play within that limit. If you go broke, you will have to wait until the next week to fund the $30 into your bankroll. It is important to set some type of guide up like this, so you do not use money that you need for other things (such as bills, living expenses, etc)
Poor money management on your part will reflect in your game, ultimately makes you a bad player, and eventually causes you to start chasing your losses. Keep good discipline and stick to your money plan.
Keeping Within Your Limits And When You Leave
Now that you have determined a set amount to use each week for your poker playing, you will want to determine how to invest that amount to build your bankroll.
This is the area where most poker players have very little discipline, and ultimately causes a lot of grief in their professional career. The time to leave! While some will set a designated time for leaving a table, that is fine and sometimes a good idea. However, using math to determine when you should leave a table is a much better method to leaving at the right time.
When your stack is less than ½ the average at the table, you should get up and either go to another table or quit for the day. That is to say, if the average stack at the table is $60 and you have less than $30, you may want to find another table or quit for now. Add up all the stacks at your table and divide by the number of players to determine the average stack.
On the other hand, when your stack has reached more than double the average chipstack, this also is the time to leave. If the average stack is $60 and you have more than $120, you better look for a way out, as the odds of you doubling up shortstacks and average stacks has increased dramatically. The whole purpose of playing cash poker is to build your bankroll, it is your investment, and you should leave when your wins or losses are at these levels.
You can easily buyin at another table for less, if you want to play more for the day, however, staying at the same table after you have doubled or tripled your stack is usually a bad investment. Some players will frown upon you for ‘going south’ (leaving the table with a lot of chips) however, it is an investment, you are not trying to feed others bankrolls, just yours!
Play smart and leave when you reach the aforementioned levels, and you will find it very hard to go broke! Again, if you still want to play, just go to another table and buyin for the max, if you left the last table with a profit, you are up for the day and continue to play at other tables.
Many poker rooms will encourage you to play more than one table by offering rewards or rakebacks or points. Their motivation is simply to increase their rake. If you choose to multi-table, you should follow the same strategy mentioned above in the buyin section and when to leave.
I discourage playing more than two tables at a time, as this will extend your bankroll and possibly put you at risk for losing too much in one day. In addition, more than two tables can become overwhelming especially if you take a few bad beats! It will definitely affect your play at the other tables.
Be careful to risking too much in a multi-table style of play. As a professional poker player, you want to concentrate and focus on one or two tables and avoid getting too much of your bankroll at risk at any one time. The best advice is to stick to one table.