Very often, poker players ask questions related to the management of their gaming assets - aka bankroll management. This article will satisfy their curiosity to some extent.
Most of these questions cannot be answered with specific formulas, so in this article I will give the basic concepts of managing your bankroll, through which you can build the optimal strategy for you. To begin with, I will give you a few numbers. They do not pretend to be absolutely accurate, but for our purposes they will do quite well. Below, you will find three columns.
The numbers in the column under the heading "Pro" are intended for players for whom earnings in poker are their main income, and for whom losing the game threatens to ruin. The numbers in this column leave the professional player with only 1% to go broke for a lifetime.
The numbers in the "Protected" column are the size of the bankroll with which you can earn solid money. But if in case of failure it will not be easy for you to make up for the loss of such an amount, be guided by this figure only at the beginning of the game.
Unprotected is a column intended for those who are determined to play a loose game in order to build up their assets, or for those who would not be ruined by losing so many bets. But keep in mind that these numbers do not exclude a high probability of ruin if you choose the wrong tactics. The average winning player (if there is one) gets less than 10% chances of going broke if he chooses an “unprotected” column. And this is provided that he does not withdraw money from the bankroll until he reaches a safe size. The same player who builds his long-term strategy based on the data from this column and takes all the money in excess of the amount shown there will definitely go broke in the end.
Hold'em - 550 big bets
NL Hold'em - 45 buy-ins
Sit'n'Go - 65 entries contributions
MTT - 200 Entries contributions
Hold'em - 400 big bets
NL Hold'em - 25 buy-ins
Sit'n'Go - 45 entries contributions
MTT - 100 entries contributions
Hold'em - 200 big bets
NL Hold'em - 15 buy-ins
Sit'n'Go - 20 entries contributions
MTT - 40 entries contributions
After you have become familiar with this data, it is time to teach you how to adjust and use it according to the situation. In order to learn the practical application of this information, it is necessary to have an understanding of such a concept as bankroll fluctuations, and what affects it.
Swing is the term used to describe the rise and fall in situations where short-term results differ from the average. Also, it can be used to describe a long game.
Hatfield: "How are you doing today, Fox?"
Fox: "Solid wobble."
Hatfield: "How much did you get?"
Fox: "About $600."
Many factors can influence the fluctuation to one degree or another. I will try to present them in descending order of importance.
The win rate is the most important factor in determining the swing amplitude, which has a large impact on the bankroll. A solid player who wins an average of two big bets on 100 hands (2 BS / 100) rarely encounters a drop of more than 300 BS. And if he is also lucky, then such a recession will happen to his gaming assets no more than once every 10 years. If such a player, for some reason, lowers his performance to 0.5 BS \ 100, then a drop in 300 BS will occur once a year or two. If this happens to you, sit down at the textbooks and improve your game, and with it hesitation will decrease.
Mental stability also influences oscillation to a large extent. A 60 BS drop could be a 200 BP drop if it can shatter your composure.
The next factor is your play style. This factor is inferior in its importance to the previous two. An aggressively loose player will see more ups and downs than a solid and tight player. For example, in limit hold'em, a 50 BS swing will be much more the lot of an aggressive loose player than a solid and tight player. But if an aggressively loose game brings you more income, don't change your style, just increase your bankroll and don't worry about swinging.
The opponent's play style can also affect the swing. If your partners are loose and aggressive, or just loose and refractory to bluff, then your hesitation will increase slightly. But if your partners are just loose idiots, then your win rate will increase.
In multi-table tournaments, the payout structure and the size of the tournament itself have a huge impact on the swing. The larger the tournament, the less often you will be among the top three winners who share the main prize. Frequent losses and rare victories are the recipe for large fluctuations. The numbers in the table above are for tournaments with an average of about 200. In very large online tournaments with buy-ins less than $30, the fluctuation will be quite high, but the huge number of donkeys that inhabit such events compensates for the high fluctuation with a good level of winnings ...
In tournaments with very high payouts, the fluctuations are so high that 500 buy-in is not enough even for a very good player.
Also remember that our table only takes into account the tournaments with a frozen bank (freezeout), that is, those in which you cannot make a rebuy. In rebuy tournaments, you need to have at least four initial buy-ins at your disposal. If you are a regular participant in tournaments with rebuys, it would be a good idea to count the number of rebuys and add-ons for at least a few tournaments in order to get an idea of how much you need to have at your disposal.
In a simple game, the number of players is inversely proportional to the amplitude of the oscillation. When playing at a table with a small number of players or heads-up, you, as well as your opponents, are forced to use a more aggressive and loose style, which, accordingly, increases the swing. At a table of ten, your long-term amplitude of oscillation will be significantly less.
Head-to-head play in the Sit'n'Go tournament is the leader in swing. The win rate is very important for the fluctuation in a heads-up game. A player who wins only 55% from his own hands is subject to high swings, while a player who wins 70% matching hands only needs double the amount shown in the table for a regular one table tournament. And a player with a 55% win rate is likely to miss even a very large bankroll - the swing is too high.
All of the above should help you in determining the optimal bankroll size for you, which would take into account your personal level of fluctuations and the degree of risk you accept.
Now let's look at how you can take risks without worrying too much about losing all your assets.
I personally prefer a floating bankroll. Determine the number at which you can move to a higher level - let's call it your ceiling; and the number, having dropped to which, because of the black bar, you will be forced to go to a lower level - let's call it the lower limit. When you reach the ceiling, you go up one level; and, having reached the lower limit, you go down to the level below. And be sure to get down to the level as soon as you reach the lower limit, otherwise you will lose a lot.
For example, you are playing a game with 10/20 blinds, and 350 BS ($7000) is your lowest limit. You should play at this level until your bankroll reaches 450 BS for 15/30. 450 BS at 15/30 = $13500, this figure is the ceiling for playing at 10/20. After going 15/30, your low limit becomes $10500 (350 x $30). Many tournament players find it difficult to stop, especially if the prize is very tempting. And if you act wisely, especially if the level of gain is high enough, then the tragedy will not happen, and the hesitation will not suffer much.
For money poker players, I would still advise you to go up no more than one level, and also determine for yourself the maximum amount that can be lost at a higher level. This amount should be less than 10% of the bankroll, and its loss should by no means become a habitual practice. From time to time I can afford to rise to the level, if I see my favorite sucker at the table, in any other case it is too risky. The loss of 5% from my assets knocks me out of my rut for a week (that is how much it takes to recoup), so the risk can only be justified if the potential gain is much higher than the average.
A tournament with a guaranteed prize of 100 thousand is a good reason to take risks. Provided there is little competition in this tournament along with big winnings, this tournament will be very profitable. However, regardless of your reasons for taking risks in tournaments, buy-ins should never exceed 5% of your bankroll; and even with this condition, such swims should
be very rare.
I hope this article will help you learn how to manage your assets.
See you at the final table
Chris "Fox" Wallace