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Playing According to Your Bankroll

"Money management" is one of the most misused and over used in play poker gambling. Many people say that good money management is the ability to quit a game after losing a certain amount. They also say that good money management means pushing a winning streak and then quitting after you have lost little from your play.

But it is rather a complete nonsense. As long as you are a favorite in the game you should keep playing no matter how you are doing unless you are tired or have to go somewhere out. If you find that you are not one of the favorites in the game you should quit, once again no matter how you are doing (unless you are trying to hold a game together in expectation that it will be better).

There are some good tactical reasons to quit a game when you have the best of it. If you are winning in a private game you should decide to quit so as to be sure that you will be welcomed somewhere else. If you are in a good casino game one reason to quit would be if you think there is even much better game somewhere else. You should not play all night long in a reasonably good game if this will allow you to play the next day in what figures to be a better game.

There are a couple of reasons to set a limit on your losses. If you are losing in a typical poker game you should quit not because you are running badly but because you may be taking the worst of it. You may have underestimated your rivals or you may have being cheated. A correct guideline would be not to lose more than about $400 in a $5-$10 game, $800 in a $10-$20 game and so on proportionately. This figure shall increase later when talking in a very good game.

A second reason to quit when you have lost more money occurs when the loss has minimized your bankroll to the point where you can no longer afford to play these stakes. Never risk it always. If you quit in this spot you will still be able to play in smaller stake games and grab your money back in a weak or two.

You may say that one should be playing in high-stakes games when one cannot afford to take a big loss. I agree with this to a point, but it is an important exception which has never seen discussing before.

It is true that when you are on a limited bankroll you should play in poker games where you can afford. For example, it is normally recommended having at least $5000 before playing in a $10-$20 game. (This assumes that you are a good enough player to beat it. Little money would be required if you are far and away the best player.)

Unfortunately, if you are a good player, restricting yourself to smaller games will cut into your profits. You should be able to beat a $10 limit game for $15 an hour, but can beat a $20 limit game for $25 per hour. Your bankroll forces you to play the smaller game.

There is a best way to play in a poker game. This best method should yield the maximum profit. You could play tighter than this best strategy but it will cost you money. The advantage to this tighter strategy is that you will incur smaller fluctuations. What good does that do you? It does do some good when you are on a limited bankroll. If you have enough money to play in a $5-$10 game, you should be able to afford to play tighter than in a $10-$20 game and still make more money than in the $5-$10 game!

It is not always true that if you can't play your best, you shouldn't play it. If you find a very good game at stakes a little over your head, the correct play is not to leave the game. Neither is it right to take a "shot" with your normal-style game. Suppose if you think the game is worth $80 an hour. It can be correct to play poker in a way that will win 450 per hour if this will considerably reduce your fluctuations to the point where you can afford them. With a limited bankroll, this is your best alternative.

This technique that should be used is to play tighter than normal. When you doubt, you should fold. A second aspect to this strategy is to avoid slow-playing. Try to think out the field, even with your very good hands. Playing this way may reduce your desired profit but warrants a winning high percentage of the pots you play. As long as the game is good, this strategy should still beat the game correctly without putting your bankroll in any trouble. Remember this always.

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