Stud: Managing your bankroll

stud-thumbnail-v1.jpgby Adam "STUDstood" Roberts

In last week’s blog, I began covering the various necessities that you should adhere to in order to have a fighting chance to play poker professionally.

One of those items is bankroll.

To reiterate, as a budding (or even established) pro, you should have at least one full year’s expense money put aside before even thinking about attempting to play for a living.

Then, you will also need a playing bankroll. The amount you will need varies depending on the game limits you decide to play.

I feel that the smallest possible game limit you will have to compete in to give you a chance to earn enough money to support yourself (if you are good enough) will be $15/$30 online, or the live equivalent, $30/$60.
I cannot tell you which actual poker game to choose. That decision would have to be made by your ability to play the different games currently offered at the casino you play at. If you are skilled at split-pot games, I will say that playing these games online give you tremendous value, because the speed that each pot is chopped (by computer as opposed to a live dealer) allows you to play many more hands.

For our discussion today, I will use the $30/$60 limits online. I will also assume $60,000 USD for your yearly expenses – that’s the minimum you need to survive at your chosen status of living, for the purpose of this discussion.

I would say that $30,000 USD would be your minimum needed playing bankroll to try and play $30/$60 limit online poker at the professional level, in addition to the $60,000 USD that you have put aside for expenses.
To calculate your minimum bankroll, I would use a blanket 100x the minimum bet in whatever game and limit you choose to play, i.e., $100,000 for a $100/$200 limit game, and so on. Please remember that this assumes you have the skills to beat the game you are playing. No amount of bankroll is sufficient to survive long-term it you are a losing player, let alone play professionally. It’s essential that you are honest about your profit-making potential; that’s why the 2000-hour test is important before you attempt to play for a living.

To reiterate from my last blog, if you are making a commitment to try and do this, I would recommend playing at least 2000 game hours (approximately one year) in your poker game and limit of choice before making a determination whether you are skilled enough to play for a living.

If over that time you have not earned enough to pay for your expenses, you’re probably not ready to turn pro.
In the old days, articles used to be written with regards to how much you should make per hour in your game and limit of choice. It used to be a rule of thumb that a professional should earn at least one big bet per hour, i.e., $60 per hour in a $30/$60 limit game. Although this theory can be used as a guideline, the reality is that you will need to make enough money to cover your yearly expenses, whether that amount is more or less than whatever “one big bet per hour” is in the game and limit of your choice. This guideline was formulated in the pre-online world, where all games were played in casinos, at a slower pace than online.

In today’s poker world, if you work 2000 hours in a $30/$60 limit game over 2000 hours, and earn $60,000 (enough to cover your expenses) , I would still consider you a professional, even though you earned only $30 per hour.

There should also be strict money management guidelines which must be adhered to for you to have a chance at success. They too apply to all different games and limits. In my opinion, these guidelines can be even more important than actual ability as a poker player. I will cover those next week.

In the meantime, I would like to remind you that you can generally find me in either the $10/$20 or $30/$60 limit games in the Stud high, Stud 8 Hi/Lo, or Razz games on our site, as well as the $215 buy-in weekly Stud Hi/Lo tournament (with a $10k guarantee) that we offer every Saturday at 16:45 pm ET.

If you are interested in reading any of my past blogs, click HERE. If you would like to contact me further with any questions or suggestions, please do so at>. Thank you.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in Strategy