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MTT Bankroll Management
In this Article
- What Bankroll Management and the 1% rule are
- How much influence luck, good or bad, has in poker tournaments
- What the term variance means
You've probably already examined the influence that luck, whether good or bad, has when playing poker. Some people think poker is purely a game of luck. That is definitely not true. But those who claim that a poker tournament is only won by the best player aren't entirely right either.
During the course of this article you will find out what precautions you should take to become a successful tournament player and how to keep the balance between holding on to your capital and maximising your profit.
Bankroll Management as the antipole of good and bad luck
A little bit of luck is always needed to win a single tournament. But you never know whether you're going to have it or not in your next tournament.
In the long run you will see that by playing a good game and making clever decisions you will almost surely be successful. Good and bad luck will balance out over time. In the short run, however it can be that the results will only can be quite bad or modest. This is called a "downswing" in poker terminology.
To make sure a downswing never endangers your poker career, you need to manage your bankroll well and should never invest too much money into a tournament. This is called bankroll management.
Your bankroll is your capital, which needs to be invested wisely, so that you can progress in the game. You want to win a lot, when you win, but not be hit too hard by any losses. This can be done if you keep to the following rule:
Experience has shown that 100 buy-ins accommodate your desire to have high winning chances and a low risk of loss in the best possible way. Don't play tournaments for which you have not made 100 buy-ins.
In other words:
|Never invest more than about 1% of your bankroll in a tournament.|
This rule accordingly shows you a precise approach for when you happen to move up or down a limit.
Variance in Poker Tournaments
If you look up "variance" on Wikipedia, the first sentence of the article will read: "the variance of a random variable, probability distribution, or sample is a measure of statistical dispersion, averaging the squares of the deviations of its possible values from its expected value".
In the world of poker tournaments variance thus comes to mean that the tournament doesn't always operate in a way that seems just. You will play tournaments in which you're on a run. Good cards will just fall into your hands as will your opponents' chips, if you bet appropriately.
Then there will of course also be tournaments in which everything just goes wrong for you. You will however never know beforehand whether things will go good or badly (or average). The cards are dealt randomly. Many players make an important mistake here: they get too emotionally involved with the question of whether they're on the good or bad end of the variance scale.
You've probably already found yourself in a situation where you said to yourself "Today has just been one screw-up after another!".
If you want to be a successful poker tournament player it is very important, however, to accept this variance as a part of the game and to learn to deal with it. Regardless of whether things have been going well or badly in your tournament at any given moment you should always concentrate on making the best possible decision in the next hand.
Taking this principle to heart is a decisive condition for the success you will have when playing a poker tournament, as it will mean you are not only in a better position in terms of your game (this is called an "edge" in poker lingo) but are also psychologically stronger than your opponents.
Bankroll Management and the right choice of tournament
If you want to play online poker tournaments, you will find you have a huge selection to choose from. New tournament offers are dished out by poker websites practically every minute. But these are not all the same kind of tournaments. Besides the most common formats like the "Freezeout and "Turbo Tournament" you should pay particular attention to "Rebuy Tournaments", as these can become more expensive than the original starting money because of the possibility to buy more chips during the course of the game.
In our Silver section the most common formats, i.e. the "freezeout" "turbo tournament", "rebuy tournament", "satellite tournament" and "multi-table SNG" are all introduced in one article. Your ability to select your tournaments with regard to this aspect and to recognise what format fits you best can be crucial to your success.
The most important thing, however, is to pay attention to the buy-in. Almost every tournament format can be played for any buy-in. During the course of this article you have learned that you will have dry spells, which your bankroll will have to cope with.
Many players have not understood this principle and continue playing the same buy-in tournaments again and again until their bankroll is down to zero. They did not manage their bankroll carefully and end up with not enough money to play further tournaments.
You should aim to avoid problems like these. Good bankroll management solves this problem automatically. You simply need to see your bankroll as an amount of money on the one hand, and as the sum of buy-ins for tournaments on the other.
$1200 are $1200. You can, however, also see this amount as 24 buy-ins for $50 tournaments, 120 buy-ins for a $10 tournament or 1200 buy-ins for $1 tournaments. Whatever you do, it's still $1200.
You need to think carefully about how to manage your bankroll. If you play $50 tournaments with your $1200, you might lose a large part of your bankroll quite quickly. If, for example, you don't make any money in 12 successive tournaments (and this happens quite often), half of your money will have gone. Do you really want to take this risk?
If you're only paying $1 per tournament, it will be very hard for you to lose all your money. On the other hand you are being overly cautious in this case and are not getting enough out of your money. You do want to progress in the game and have an optimal risk/reward ratio, after all.
In other words the point is to sensibly invest a certain amount of your bankroll into a tournament in such a way that your risk of loss and your chances of winning have a good ratio to one another.
Having read this article you will have understood that poker is not only about playing your hands well. You must also be able to deal, psychologically and financially, with the influence of luck, whether good or bad.
On the one hand you should never lose your nerve or go on tilt when you're having a streak of bad luck. See this ability as a strength of a good poker player and aim to be able to laugh about your bad beats while you're having them at some point.
On the other hand you should make sure that your streak of bad luck doesn't pull on your purse strings too much. This should no longer be a problem after you've read this article. The answer is bankroll management and is the easiest way to becoming a successful poker player. The only thing you need to do is avoid the tournaments that are too expensive for you. That shouldn't be too hard.
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