Online Poker Basics - Bankroll Management
While not directly linked to actual poker strategy, bankroll management is quite possibly the most important non-strategy factor when it comes to turning a player into a consistent and regularly profitable one. Illustrating the importance and the true impact of proper bankroll management is extremely easy through a rather common example. Suppose you have two gamblers flipping a coin: an activity which carries exactly even odds and a long-term expected value of zero for both players. One of these players has an infinite bankroll, while the other one has a limited one.
It is one of gambling's most fundamental laws that if you pit these two players against each other, the one with the limited bankroll is guaranteed to bust out sooner or later. Needless to say, the smaller his bankroll is, the sooner he is guaranteed to bite the dust. Bankroll management is about making an otherwise limited bankroll appear to be an infinite one for all practical purposes. In the online poker world, each individual player brings a limited bankroll to the tables, pitting it against the practically unlimited bankroll of the entire online poker community, or at least against the practically unlimited bankrolls of players playing at that particular site.
According to the above example, the odds are therefore obviously stacked against individual players. Poker strategy skills however prevent the game from degenerating into a zero sum one. Bankroll management skills will do away with the disadvantages associated with limited bankrolls.
What are the most important aspects of bankroll management though?
The first and most important piece of advice would be to play within your bankroll. If we are to talk actual numbers, what this means is that you should only take around 1 to 5% of your entire bankroll to the tables at any given time. By doing that, you will turn the prospects of a possible bust-out into such a remote possibility that for all practical reasons, you will be able to completely neglect them. This way, you will also take a potential tilt-inspiring factor off the table simply because you will not have to worry about grinding your bankroll into nonexistence.
The next step is to simply stop monitoring your balance. Successful poker players will tell you that they never actually view poker chips as real money. When you're playing, you’re playing with chips. It is your goal to take as many chips from your opponents as possible: that is the object of the game. You absolutely do not want the emotional ups and downs which go with the avid of monitoring of your balance. Sometimes your balance goes up, making you feel great. Other times it seems to drop down into oblivion, eliciting all sorts of negative feelings and setting you on track to tilting.
Learning to take your game seriously under all circumstances and every single time you log into your poker room, is another bankroll management must. In order to prevent the game from becoming a zero sum one, you will need to locate and to fully exploit every single edge you can possibly find. Every tiny mistake will cost you money, and it will take you a step closer to degrading your game to the point when it's no longer a lucrative proposition for you to play.