When you resolve to sit down and start playing some poker, you don’t buy in with the intention of losing. Though you know you’re taking a risk and pitting your skills against those of your opponents, you’re hoping that you come out on top at the end of your session. Beyond the volumes upon volumes of poker strategy that you can read up on and employ, it’s also important to get the most value from your poker bankroll. Below is a list of 7 tips you should be sure to employ.
1. Look for Promotional Offers and Deposit Bonuses
Whether you’re playing live poker or online poker, there’s “free money” to be had, so you owe it to yourself to claim it. Live poker rooms often offer bad beat jackpots, high hand bonuses, and comp dollars simply for playing at the cash game tables.
One of the perks of playing poker online is that rooms often offer bonuses just for signing up. Some of the more generous ones even offer no deposit bonuses for every player, as well as lucrative promotions for their most loyal players.
2. Play in Tournaments
You don’t have to be a pro or have a super huge bankroll to enter a poker tournament, especially online. If you’re just playing to have some fun with your disposable income for a few hours, your best bet is a tournament. In a live poker room, you can usually find tournaments with very affordable buy-ins ranging from $25-$75. Online, you can enter huge, multiplayer tournaments for as low as a cent.
When playing in a cash game, especially if the game is No Limit Hold’em, your entire stack of chips could be gone in an instant. While this is also true in a poker tournament, more often than not you end up playing for at least a couple hours before being forced to make a decision for your tournament life. In other words, your money tends to last longer and you can only lose a predetermined amount.
In short, if you’ve only got a smallish poker bankroll, the best strategy for getting the most play out of it is to enter tournaments rather than risk depleting it at too quick a pace at the cash game tables.
3. Take Breaks from Playing
It’s pretty hard to argue with this logic: if you’re not actually playing poker, you can’t lose (or win) any money. The fact is, however, that every time you play poker, you’re putting your money at risk. Sure, you play to win, but the cards don’t always fall your way.
If you want your bankroll to last as long as possible, be sure not to play too often, especially if you’re dealing with a downswing. Just for the sake of illustration. If you play in two consecutive 5-hour-long poker sessions and lose $100 in each, your $200 would “last much longer” if those sessions were spaced a couple weeks apart rather than a couple days apart.
4. Watch the Liquor
A glass or two of alcohol while enjoying a session of live or online poker may have no impact on your ability to win. However, consuming too much alcohol can impair your judgment. Playing poker while drunk is almost always a recipe for losing, and depleting your poker bankroll. If you value your poker bankroll, then you’ll treat it with respect and not risk it while inebriated.
5. Have a Poker Bankroll in the First Place; Not a Budget
Most of the tips we’ve given you relate to how you can preserve your poker money for as long as possible. Part and parcel of that kind of a philosophy is an outlook of “well, at some point I’m going to lose this money, so I might as well get as much out of it as I can for as long as possible”. While there’s nothing ostensibly wrong for thinking like that, it’s usually losing poker players who have a budget. In other words, they set aside a certain amount of money to enjoy playing poker, but assume that at some point it’ll eventually be gone.
Winning players, by contrast, have bankrolls, which they use to play. Sure, sometimes you’ll lose, but you’ll already have mastered good money management to ensure you never get fully felted. Every poker player “goes broke” from time to time, but psychologically speaking, your mental game of poker needs to be that of having a winner’s mindset. THAT’s the best way to get the most value out of your poker bankroll in the long run.