Bankroll Management for Multi-Table Tournaments
It is said that almost all professional poker players go broke many times during their careers. However, there is really no need for this to happen to you, if you decide to treat your tournament career as a full-fledged business, rather than using it as a way to feed a need to gamble.
You have to decide whether poker is simply a source of entertainment for you, where tournament buy-ins replace going on vacation or buying tickets to sporting events, or if it is going to be a true business venture, where you lay out capital with an eye towards building, as safely as possible, a much larger business entity for yourself.
One of the poker adages that is almost always true is that “scared money never wins.” If you are using a huge percentage of your bankroll for a buy-in to any one tournament, or even for just a few entries, your chances of actually making any noise in those events is close to nil.
The pressure of having that much of your stake at risk is almost always too much to overcome. So here are a few tips for consideration about how to manage and build a bankroll playing multi-table tournaments.
First, you should decide how much capital you can afford to put up for your poker “business.” Fortunately, almost every penny of that can actually be used at the tables, since, unlike with live play, your only expenses are your computer, your Internet access and the rake a site collects on each tournament.
Keep close track of your results at all times by keeping that money separate from other accounts, and having a journal where you record your results, making certain to update your entries at least weekly, so that you can plug leaks as quickly as possible.
Once you have determined how much money to put up, you can calculate the stakes that you should be playing for. A good rule of thumb is to have enough money in your account to cover 200 buy-ins. Therefore, if you fund your account with $10,000, you can “afford” to play $50 tournaments.
Does this mean that you should NEVER go above that amount? Not necessarily. However, if you occasionally bump up to a $100 entry fee, you should balance that out with some $22 tourneys, so that you still have enough in your account to cover the inevitable dry spells that will occur for any and all players.
The 200 buy-in rule applies if your tendency is to play large-field tournaments, which have thousands of runners on a daily basis. The reason for this is that the variance involved in trying to cash frequently enough to be profitable overall is enormous, with the vast majority of players finishing out of the money, and only the top finishers making much more than a little above the buy-in. However, if you are going to focus on 10 and 20 table tourneys, you can do well with more like 40 or 50 buy-ins in your bankroll, since you will cash more frequently and get a better average return when you do.
There are those who suggest that if you wouldn’t pay the full entry for a tournament you shouldn’t try and satellite into it. That is not our recommendation. While you shouldn’t devote too much of your bankroll to satellites because you then have to cash in two tournaments just to make any money at all, you should occasionally take a shot at winning a big tourney seat, since going deep in that type of event can give a huge boost to your poker business, setting you up for better opportunities down the road.
Keep these tips in mind, and you will have a much better chance of avoiding the stresses of “boom or bust” in your tournament career.