Build Your Poker Bankroll Guide

A time comes during all players poker when you’ll think, “Time to start a bankroll”. When you first start out you probably blow a couple of deposits messing around at levels too high and games to tough. This, however unlikely it may seem, is a good thing to do. It shows you that playing like an idiot with your $50 deposits is never going to get you anywhere, and leads you to the conclusion that learning how to conduct a bankroll is the best way to progress at online poker.

However, just because you have decided that your next step is to build a bankroll doesn’t mean you will be able to do it. This is exactly what this article entails, how to successfully build your bankroll, putting your money at minimum risk and showing you how profitable it can be. You still of course need some skill, and you can hone your skills with our other strategy articles on the site.

For the remainder of the article, we are going to suppose we have $100 to start with and put ourselves in the shoes of a player we described above. We have deposited a few times and gone on to lose that money in the same night. We know it was stupid, and have decided to do something about it.

Important Tips

We suggest you to sharpen up your skill at our Poker Strategy Articles section and give a reading to Bankroll Management and Multi tabling articles. For Poker Bonuses we are going to use our Poker Bonuses page as a referrence. It is advisable to get PokerTracker or Holdem Manager as well. These softwares help you track your sessions and find leaks in your play.

I’m sure you’re all accustomed to a regular poker lobby. You have your table names and limits on one side and all those stats on the other. Those stats are the first tell tale sign of how soft or loose the table is. If you have a high pre flop % and a high average pot, you can be pretty sure there are a few maniacs on the table. If you have a low pre flop % and a low average pot, the table is playing very tight and likely to be full of nitty players. Depending on your style of play, you should know which table suits you game best. Another solid piece of information is player’s balances at the table. Most rooms now have a “auto-refill” option in which players can automatically fill up their stack when it drops below the maximum buy-in. Although this is not accurate 100% of the time, if you see players with a few big blinds missing or even ¾ of a stack, you can probably erase any thoughts that these are solid, tight players.

You also have to think about what limits you will be playing at. So with our $50 starting balance, we should be looking to play $0.01/0.02 ring games and $1 SNG’s. This is based on the strategy of having 20 buy-ins for ring games and 50 buy-ins for SNG’s. Once we increased our bankroll to $80, it would then be time to move up limits to $0.02/0.04. This strategy is solid for lower limits, but once you are venturing into the solid games of middle and high stakes, you will need to be better reinforced and keep up to 50-100 buy-ins in your account.

To build a bankroll steadily, we advise you to play cash games. SNG’s can also be a very profitable form of poker, but it takes much longer to perfect your game and the rises in levels brings much tougher opponents and learning curves. At ring games however, play remains pretty much the same at most lower levels, with no real advance in toughness. This is why many players can easily make 20/bb per hour at lower stakes, with or without multi tabling. We also heavily recommend you stay away from Multi table tournaments. There is a lot of variance involved and you must have a big enough bankroll to deal with the swings. They are also very tough to beat and have a host of good players to wade through.

Poker Rooms to start with

Many people overlook this when starting out at online poker, but it is actually a very important factor in building a bankroll. As you should all be aware, when you sign up at a poker room and deposit, you get a deposit bonus. This is a great way to get an injection of cash into your account for something you were going to do anyway, play poker! But, you need a room which combines the simplicity of clearing the deposit with a big enough bonus to make it worthwhile.

Start out with Betfair or Best Poker. Betfair have a unique bonus with no match rate. You can just deposit any amount and start earning bonus with clears at 35% or you can go with either of BestPoker Bonuses which are very easy to clear. (Update: Pokerstars has been removed since it has been confirmed by them that you don’t earn partial points if rake is less than $0.40. So it’s not suggested to go for their $ 50 bonus until you’ve moved up the limits)Target at least $250 (including bonus and always try to complete the full bonus because the signup bonus is only given once.

Once you’ve got a bankroll of $250ish move on to Tower Gaming Poker, another OnGame network Room with easy to clear bonuses. Choose the 200% up to $500 one, don’t be tempted by 500% up to $2000 because it might have same clearing requirements but you only have 15 days to clear it (depends on you if you’re up for it).

After clearing this considering swings and variance you should have +/-$600. That leaves you plenty of options. I would suggest Bwin Poker’s 100% up to $500 bonus. It’s a high traffic room with easy bonus, based on same network as Tower Gaming and bonus clears at same rate of 65%

You should have crossed 1k. Next you may try PKR, Cake Poker and Full Tilt Poker. All three of them have decent size bonuses and have clear rate of 40%+. The traffic is decent except Full Tilt Poker which is second largest Poker Room so you can expect massive table action making bonus clearing quicker.

Hopefully your $100 deposit can become thousands simply by following the steps and guidance above and always keep on eye on existing player promos that Poker Rooms usually run. Good luck at the tables!

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