Bankroll Management: How to Never Go Bust

Bankroll Management - Follow the Professors' two Golden Rules of Bankroll Management to ensure you never go bust!

It is very important that you manage your bankroll well. You have to make sure that you don’t play over your head by playing on stakes that your bankroll cannot support.

If you do this then you won’t have the money available in your bankroll to recover from slumps and bad runs which are inevitable from time to time.

Bankroll Management Golden Rules

These are our two golden rules of bankroll management for No Limit Texas Holdem Cash Games, which you should always adhere to:

  1. Never sit down at a table with less than 75 – 100 times the Big Blind
    This gives you a reasonable chance to recover from in-session slumps and periods of times where you do not receive good enough cards to play, and also maximises you ability to win higher pots when the big hand arrives.
  2. Never commit more than 5% – 10% of your total bankroll at one table
    This ensures that you have between 20 buy ins (5%) and 10 buy ins (10%) at any time, so you would have to have consistent losing sessions before going broke which is much less likely. If you want to be ultra conservative then you could reduce this even further, some professional players use 2% as their bankroll management rule.

What percentage you are comfortable with depends on your circumstances. If you have other money to reload with and your bankroll isn’t really that big of a risk to your overall financial position then you can take more of a risk and use the 10% figure. We recommend you use the 5% figure as this gives a reasonable protection that you won’t go broke.


If you are considering sitting at a $0.25 / $0.50 No Limit Hold’em game then:

  • You should sit down with a minimum of $37 (75 x BB) to $50 (100 x BB)
  • Your total bankroll should be between $750 (5%) and $375 (10%) if your buy in is $37, and between $1,000 (5%) and $500 (10%) if your buy in is $50.

As you can see this is quite a wide range, and really depends on how protected you want to be. Generally my advice would be that at the lower stakes you can be a little more risky with the 10% figure, but as you move up the stakes then you should stick to 5% or below.

Why Is This Important?

Well no matter how well you play and how well you stick to your new strategy, poker is a game of odds. Even if you play with the odds in your favour (which you will with this strategy) then there is still that chance that you will lose and some of the time you will lose hands, some of them maybe big pots and you may suffer a bad beat and lose your entire buy in.

To protect against this you only commit a certain percentage of your total bankroll to the table at any one time and then if you do have a bad period and lose, then you have the backup of another 10 or 20 buyins to make that loss back up.

Your going to have to have some pretty stinking luck (or play very badly) to lose over and over again to the point where your bankroll is bust.

Adjusting your Bankroll

As your bankroll moves around you have to adjust the stake levels you play on, so if you have a losing period and your bankroll drops then you should drop down to the lower stake level until you have built your bankroll back up again to one that supports your normal stake level.

On the other side of this, as you have more and more winning sessions you will find that if you do your sums, your increased bankroll will now support a higher stake level, and you can move up the stakes if you wish.

This is exactly what we are trying to teach you with the $1,000 Poker Bankroll Challenge throughout this course. As you will see we will start on lower stakes and as our bankroll grows we will step up to the next stake level and continue to work our way up the ladder.

Throughout the Poker Bankroll Challenge you will never have more than 10% of your bankroll at risk in any single session. Of course if you decide to start with more than $25 then you can adjust the stake levels accordingly, now that you know the golden rules of bankroll management.

After you finish the course and have built up a decent starting bankroll of $1,000 then we highly recommend that you use the 5% rule. By this time you will be playing at the medium stakes and working towards the high stakes tables and your bankroll will be substantial. You need to ensure that you reduce your chances of going broke and your bankroll will enjoy a steady growth over time.

Remember – Stick to these two bankroll management rules otherwise you will very quickly go broke, and never play with money you cannot afford to lose!