Bankroll Management

Bankroll management is a vital skill that all poker players should master, no matter what level or poker game you play. Here's a look at what 'bankroll' actually means.

  • The term 'bankroll' refers to the amount of money you set aside exclusively to play poker with - for example the money you have online at PokerStars.
A sample PokerStars cashier page.
  • No matter how big this amount may be, there is always a risk that you'll lose it all and go bust. To keep this risk as low as possible, good bankroll management is required.

Basic Rules of Bankroll Management

1. Never play for more money than you can afford to lose.

This is the most important rule. It's always possible to lose money at poker, even if you play well. Therefore you should never risk an amount of money that could get you into financial trouble away from the poker table, especially if you are experiencing a downswing.

2. Do not take more than 10% of your bankroll to a cash table or a tournament.

For example, if you have $100 in your PokerStars account, you should buy-in for no more than $10 at a cash table. Tournaments with a buy-in of more than $10 should also be avoided. Sticking to this rule means you'll still be in the game even if you lose your money.

3. Stay in your comfort zone by only playing limits that don't intimidate you or put your entire bankroll as risk.

If you start playing at a limit that you feel is too high, you should stop - even if you can afford to keep playing. It's easy to get nervous in these situations, which can lead to you no longer enjoying the game and making poor decisions. This should be avoided at all costs, since a competent poker player only plays within the limits in which they feel comfortable.


Even if you play with perfect strategy, there are times when you may experience a losing streak. On the other hand, it is also quite natural to have periods of feeling like you can't lose even if you try! But if you stick to the rules above, you will be able to survive these downswings and upswings, by properly managing your bankroll. Stay confident, make the right plays, and you'll enjoy the game and make profits in the long run.