BTS Academy

How to manage your bankroll and take shots the right way

poker strategy Dec 08, 2022

In this article, I will discuss the importance of good bankroll management.


However, this will not be your average “Play with at least 40 buy-ins” article. I assume you already know that. 


That’s why, after having a general look at bankroll management, I’m going to talk about how to take aggressive shots to give you the highest likelihood of moving up in stakes fast without going broke.


Let’s start with general Bankroll Management


If you are recreational in which poker is just a hobby, you should only play with what you can afford to lose. 


In this case, your approach to poker should be similar to someone who likes to play video games and buys weekly a new game or invests in skins and other features in this game like you can do in many games nowadays. 


And you wouldn’t go broke buying games for your PlayStation 5, would you? Good,


However, as an upcoming professional player or someone who wants to make money besides his main job, you need a different approach to manage your bankroll properly.


Let’s look at different scenarios and dream outcomes:


You want to make a side income


In this case, all you need is one bankroll, the one you have in your poker account.


You then cover all your living expenses with the money you make from your job.

In this scenario, your goal should be to reach limits that allow you to make decent money without facing players who can invest more time into their game than you.


NL100 is already a good limit that can allow you to turn your hobby into a 4-digit side income.


Since you still have an income if poker fails, your bankroll management can be a bit looser. Let’s say you want to shoot for 20-30  buy-ins to play your stakes.


Let’s look at an example: You start with a $300 Bankroll. 


You can play NL10 with this Bankroll. 


When you have only 50 Buy ins left for the limit below, then you should move down. So, in this case, with $250, you have to move down to NL5. 


I would take shots every time you have 30 Buy-ins of the next limit. With $750, you can shoot for 5 Buy ins NL25. 


I suggest using the 30 Buy in rule until you reach NL100. The higher your limits, the more your possible win rate will decrease. 


For NL200, I would use 40 Buy-ins, and from NL500+, 50 buy-ins. 


These rules are made for players that are playing besides their primary job. 


It will likely be very tough to play NL500+ because you will only face professional players who can and will study this game daily. 


It's pretty hard to beat this competition if you can’t put in the same time and effort as these guys. 


Still, you can play this limit when you see good tables you can join. 


You want to play professionally


As a professional poker player, you should have 3 different bankrolls. 


  1. A “live roll” that you use to pay for your monthly expenses (like rent, food, etc.)
  2. A “Backup roll” this is the money you’re putting on the side in case you have some extraordinary expenses you didn’t expect or when things go south
  3. Your actual “Poker bankroll”


As a professional, I suggest having at least 80 Buy-ins for your current stake. 


Our example: You play NL200(the minimum limit you need to play) and have a $16.000 Bankroll. 


I would move down to NL100 when the Bankroll is $10.000. 


You can also take aggressive shots. 


If you have $22.000, you can take a 4 buy-in shot to NL500. 


As a professional, your goal should be NL500. This is a limit where you can make a 6-digit income per year. (Please note that depending on the country you live in, taxes might eat up a big part of your bankroll)


That’s it for this week’s article. I hope you learn how to build your Bankroll. Good luck at the tables!