Senin, 13 Oktober 2014

Building And Managing Your Bankrolls

Several years ago, I heard a quote that a poker player’s relationship with his bankroll is similar to a carpenter and his tool box; even the best carpenter is useless without a good set of tools. And just as a carpenter with only a hammer won’t be able to find much work, a poker player can only go as far as his bankroll allows. Now, every PLO player experiences ups and downs throughout his career, and one of the most important, yet least talked about skills that can determine your boom or bust future is how to manage a bankroll, regardless of size.
Building and managing your bankrollWhen planning the necessary bankroll requirements to get started grinding, the first thing to realize is that PLO is a high variance game. As mentioned in previous articles, the money goes in faster, more often, and with narrower margins in PLO than in Hold’em. What this translates into is the need for padding your bankroll with more buy-ins to play comfortably, as even the best players in the world commonly experience 20 and 30 buy-in downswings for every 50,000 hands they play.
Playing within your comfort level is what dictates both what stakes you play and how many buy-ins to keep in your roll before moving up. That said, staying comfortable also depends a lot on what your purpose is for playing cards in the first place. What I mean is that the poker goals (and therefore bankroll requirements) for someone that receives a steady paycheck every week and only plays recreationally on the weekends will be dramatically different from a professional that’s grinding 30K-50K hands every month
The old saying, “Don’t gamble with money you can’t afford to lose” is definitely true. It’s practically impossible to play your A-game and maintain a high level of focus if you’re second guessing the merits of making a thin value bet or a big bluff because the amount of money in the middle represents too much value in real life. An easy way to ascertain if this threshold has been crossed is to observe yourself after taking a tough beat, or losing any large pot for that matter. If you catch yourself comparing the pot-size to a rent payment or a nice item you could purchase, then you’re already on a dangerous path to playing above your head, and therefore altering your play.
Below you will find a list of the different buy-in amounts that I recommend keeping in your roll for every given stake.
  • PLO 25 — $1K (40 buy-ins)
  • PLO 50 — $2.5K (50 buy-ins)
  • PLO 100 — $5K (50 buy-ins)
  • PLO 200 — $12K (60 buy-ins)
  • PLO 400 — $30K (75 buy-ins)
  • PLO 600 — $50K (83 buy-ins)
  • PLO 1,000 — $100K (100 buy-ins)
  • PLO 2,000 — $250K (125 buy-ins)
  • PLO 5,000 — $1M (200 buy-ins)
There are a few things I’d like to point out. First, the recommended number of buy-ins represents the amount necessary to grind at any given stake. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t move up earlier, or that moving up is a bad idea if you’re slightly under the requirements listed. For example, if you’re playing well and running well, it’d be foolish not to take a shot at a juicy PLO 100 game just because you only had $4,800 in your bankroll instead of the recommended $5K. Once you can prove to yourself that you can beat any given level over a big sample size, it’s OK to shot-take aggressively, because you can always move down and grind it back.
Despite all the variance that PLO is legendary for, the passive nature of low and micro-stake games means that steady win rates at the micros are more commonplace. Not only are there more bad players at the lower levels, but also the margin between a good player and a bad player is wider as well. That said, notice that as the stakes get higher, there’s a greater number of buy-ins needed to grind that given stake. There are many reasons for this, but essentially it’s because the player pool is much stronger skill-wise than at the lower limits, which means that the games play more aggressively. As you move up and play in more aggressive games, there will be more variance regardless of how big your edge is.
Returning to what I was saying earlier, if your main source of income isn’t poker, and you’re comfortable with redepositing if you happen to bust your account, then I think an aggressive bankroll strategy is fine. On the other hand, if you’re playing professionally, and going bust means that you can’t pay the bills or live out your desired lifestyle anymore, then having more than 100 buy-ins at your grinding stake is a good idea. Overall, the best approach is to take these recommended guidelines and then adjust the number of buy-ins for each stake depending on what your poker goals and sources of income are.