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Cash Game Bankroll Management

Posted by ashutoshnaik on 2019-04-24 at 1:03 AM

Hi guys,

Although I initially made my initial bankroll via tournaments a few years back, lately I have focused exclusively on cash games, and been successful. My day typically starts around 9 in the evening on most days that I play, and ends at 5 am when the tables break, I do miss writing so I have decided to start blogging when I can.

In this blog, I am going to talk a bit about bankroll management.

For most live cash games, you need at least 40 buyins. I would advise you to budget for atleast 2-3 buyins per day. If you have less buyins, I would advise not to play unless you have 40 buyins, unless of course you are a recreational player. If you are a recreational player, do not worry about the losses, just enjoy the game, and try to make money if possible. If you dont make money, think of it as an entertainment expense.

So to buyin for 10K, you need around 4 lakhs, to buyin for 20K, you need to set aside 8 lakhs and so on. Do not use this money for anything else, just for poker. If it helps, keep it in a separate bank account. The moment you start using this money for something else, you will not be able to make optimal and fearless decisions.

For most value, you should buyin for table max. I would say for most 100-200 games in Goa or elsewhere, this should be around 250 BB or 50,000. However, that depends on how good a player you perceive you are, and also on your current financial situation, your mental state of mind, and your willingness to take risks. If you consider yourself to be the most experienced player on the table, you should buyin for table max. If you consider yourself a weak player or if there are other better players than you, then you should be close to table minimum. It also depends on your strategy, whether you want to play short stack or deep stack.

Some Advantages of playing a short stack:
– You can be sure that nobody is going to bluff you. Most of the time the money is going to
be on the flop or preflop or by the turn. You will rarely be putting any money on the river.
– You should be aggressive with the short stack, instead of waiting for premium hands. This
means you should call with all your range preflop and on the flop, simply because most of
the pots will be multiway and you will get great odds. For eg, if you have a nut flush draw, 2-pair, or even top pair on a low board,
– If your personality is tilt friendly, just avoid playing deep stacked. If you are short stacked, the maximum you can lose is your buyin. If you are deep stacked, the flood gates will open, and most of the times, you wont even realize it.

Some Advantages of a deep stack :
– All options open to you – bluffing, value betting, and deep value extraction.
– If you cover someone, they will have a fear deep inside that you can stack them in a single hand, they will have to play their best game, and also you have to be more careful of them as well, as you can get trapped.
– You should know when to go overboard with a mid pair, when to fold the second nuts, and when to bluff raise. You should be comfortable with your stack. Preflop cards go down in value here. Turn and river are the most important streets to play. Preflop calling range can be wider especially when you are in position.

Now for the final part –
How to play a cash game on any given day depends on a lot of conditions I would advice players to have good sleep, good food , and be mentally stable before the start of a session as much as possible. Playing poker is like flying a plane. I saw a sign outside a plane cockpit which said something like – “Flying is mentally challenging, keep your mental worries outside the door”. The same goes for poker.

Start a session at optimal game theory, and how you proceed the session depends on a variety of factors such as
– Whats your mental state right now, and how are you feeling right now ?
– What is the mental state of your opponents right now ?
– Who is tilting, who is stuck, how are people playing ?
– Who is a strong player on the table, who is a weak player ?
– What is my position on the players whom I consider are strong players, how do they perceive me ?
– If you are playing with the same players everyday, try to profile them in your mind, watch them playing other pots, even if you are not involved in them and try to know what they are capable and what they are not, their mood swings etc. However, as I said, nothing in poker is absolute, the better players will reverse their tells on you. They might give you the impression that they are on tilt, whereas they are very much calm and playing optimally from within ?
– Is there someone who is targeting me, how can I adjust to his game ?

All these factors should influence your game.

If you see the slightest sign of tilt, you should stop playing. Go for drinking, partying, or an expensive massage or anything you want, especially if you are deep stacked, the flood gates will open and you wont even realize it .If you are in for table max, even a couple of buyin loss can set u back by a huge amount in absolute terms.

Next time I will discuss other aspects of Cash Games

Until then, Run Good and Good luck at the tables


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