Correctly choosing one’s limits.
Even as a winning player, you must face a bad turn now and then when the cards seem to be against you. The most egregious error would be to play your entire bankroll. Even as the favorite each time at 90%, which is huge in poker, after 20 times you will have 9 chances out of 10 to lose everything. Your bankroll should therefore be able to absorb any bad shocks.
Moreover, by betting too large a portion of your bankroll, you risk playing badly due to being stressed by the stakes.
According to your level and self-confidence, you should have:
For a cash game : At least 10 rakes (5 for the very small limits) at the table’s limit at which you are playing if you think you’re level is higher than the others, and at least 20 rakes otherwise.
For example : if you’re playing at a table of $0.50/$1.00 with the maximum rake at $100, the minimum bankroll is $1000, but you will be really comfortable there if you play with $2000.
For SnGs : At least 20 times the amount of the registration (10 times the amount if you’re playing at very low limits) and up to 50 times the amount for the higher limit tables. For example: in order to play SnGs of $5+$0.50 you should have at least $110 of rake.
For tournaments: if you only play tournaments you should set aside 50 times the amount of the registration fee. If you play now and then, there’s no regulation since the cost is so low compared to the gains. Pay for them with cash games or SnGs.
Determining thresholdsThanks to the previous pointers, you can now determine a program for going above or below your limits. In fact, when you attain a bankroll that permits you to have the minimum for the following level, you can move forward with confidence and certainty.
For example: you have been playing at $0.10/0.20 for two months. You have gone from $400 to $1000. You now have sufficient bankroll to go to the $0.25/$0.50 limits and enjoy playing at higher stakes.
You should also have put in place certain bankroll thresholds that will alert you to the necessity of going down a level, especially if you’ve just gone up.
For example: you lose $200 on a $0.25/$0.50 and go back down to $800 of bankroll. Go quietly back to $0.10/$/0.20 to win the money back before trying the higher limits again.
Keep track of your bankroll’s development.
The easiest is to create a small Excel file that allows you to note your results and your wins/losses. You can create one yourself or use very good ones that already exist.
You can download a nice Excel file, for example from www.pokeralyon.fr/programmes.php
Don’t try to recover your losses by changing your habits.
As we have already mentioned, every player loses a bit of his bankroll in a bad turn. Whether in a SnG or a cash game, be absolutely sure to avoid the mistake of going up in limits to try and recover your losses. Even the most reasonable players have been tempted to do this at least once. Remember NEVER to do it. You may be lucky and recover your money in a few minutes and cold sweats, but in most cases it’s the quickest way to lose your entire bankroll. Never count on luck in poker. Leave that strategy to the losers
Choose your limit : 20 times the amount of the cave at a cash game, and 20 times the registration for a SnG.
Expect changes in your bankroll and fix thresholds to climb above or below the limit.
Keep track of your bankroll with a gains/losses file.
Start over: never try to win back a loss by playing at higher limits.