To be a successful poker player you have to be able to exercise good bankroll management skills. If you are unable to manage your poker money correctly, you will never be able to become a long term winning poker player. Even if you were the best player in the world, it would be impossible to be able to make money from poker if you did not use good money management skills.
Bankroll management basically involves playing at a certain levels and buy-ins to help prevent yourself from going broke at the poker table. You have to set yourself limits to where you can play poker due to the variance found in every poker game. There are always going to be times where you have runs of bad luck that you cannot control, and you will lose money due to the bad runs of cards, and not necessarily due to any bad play. Therefore there is no use in putting all of your poker money on one table, because there is a good chance that you will lose it all and not be able to continue playing poker.
As a result, it is important that we have a large enough bankroll to absorb the effects of this variance so that we can continue to play poker even when we have very bad runs of cards. In addition, we don’t want to go over the top and play at micro levels with a huge bankroll because it is unlikely that we will go broke, and we want to give ourselves the opportunity to win a decent amount of money from our poker sessions. Therefore there are useful rules that you can follow to make sure that you give yourself the best opportunity to make money from poker without going broke.
In cash games, you should never put more than 5% of your bankroll onto the table at any time. So if you want to play in $1/$2 cash games and intend to buy in for the full amount, you should have a bankroll of at least $4000. This will then give you enough room to take a few bad beats and losing sessions, but still be able to continue playing poker without the fear of going broke. Another way of looking at the 5% rule is to remember that you should have 20 times the maximum buy in of the level you wish to play at in your bankroll. Most online poker rooms offer a wide range of limits, so it is perfectly possible to keep your bankroll under control, no matter how large or small it might be. Alternatively, if you are a tournament player, you should have around 40 buy-ins minimum for the level of tournaments you wish to play in.
It is important to remember however that bankroll management is only useful if you intend to play poker regularly, and that you are a winning player. If you only play poker casually then it is not as important to have a set bankroll, but to just be careful with your money instead. In addition, bankroll management will have no effect on your moneymaking endeavours if you are a losing poker player. However, bankroll management will slow down the time it takes for you to lose the money if you are used to playing at higher stakes.