Poker Bankroll management

There are many benefits to applying solid bankroll management in online poker; you do not have to worry about money which ultimately means that you will be able to play in a more relaxed manner and make better decisions when it comes to your poker strategy.

If you are playing on a short bankroll, there will always be constant pressure to win money which can lead to frustration and tilt.  How you manage your bankroll also depends on what kind of poker player you are, what games you play and your tolerance for risk.

What is bankroll management?

Bankrollmanagement is about controlling the money you have on your Unibet account to play poker with. If for example you have 300 pounds on your account, you do not want to risk all this money at once. If you do this and keep on doing this you will always end up broke. Poker is a game with high variance, and you have to be able to deal with this variance by applying good bankroll management. 


he recreational player

The recreational player with a small poker bankroll can easily be replaced and doesn’t need to be overly concerned about his bankroll management since the consequences of going broke are minimal. A bankroll of around ten buy-ins is sufficient for this type of player. Of course, if you want to make a profit as a recreational player it is still better to play with decent bankroll management to increase your chances of winning money in the long run. 

The serious amateur player

The serious amateur player with a larger bankroll will suffer more severe consequences if going broke. This player would therefore need a larger bankroll for any given limit. If a serious amateur player goes broke and can’t replace his bankroll, he might have to start over again at the lowest limits. A bankroll of around 25 buy-ins for NLHE, 40 for PLO, 50 for MTTs and 30 for SNGs is normally sufficient for this player.

The professional player

The professional poker player derives all or most of his bankroll from playing online poker. If this player goes broke, the result would be disastrous since he will be out of work. A proper bankroll management is crucial in this case to minimize the likelihood of this happening. A bankroll of 50 buy-ins for NLHE, 75PLO, 100 SNGs and 200 for MTTs is normally sufficient for this poker player.


Bankroll management for beginners and for professional players.

Every poker player should use bankroll management. If you are a professional player and your income depends on poker, going broke all the time is not an option for you, as you have to pay your bills. If you just play for fun losing the money in your account might not be a big deal, but it is more fun to not go broke and being able to play all the time without depositing right? 

As the consequences for a recreational player are very different then the consequences for a professional there is a different kind of bankroll management schedule. If you do play poker for fun but you really do not want to lose your bankroll, then play with a schedule for professionals. 

Bankroll schedule for Cash games No Limit Hold'em

PlayLimit BuyIn Recreational player Serious Amateur player Professional

Back to previous limit (as professional)

4 NL


£60 £100 £200  
10 NL £10 £150 £250 £500 £375
25 NL £25 £375 £625 £1250 £950
50 NL £50 £750 £1,250 £2,500 £1,875
100 NL £100 £1,500 £2,500 £5,000 £3,750
200 NL £200 £3,000 £5,000 £10,000 £7,500
400 NL £400 £6,000 £10,000 £20,000 £15,000


How to read this schedule?

A recreational player needs £60 to start at the lowest level which is 4 NL (which means blinds of £0,02 and £0,04), while a professional player would need £200 to start at this level. This might be more than you would expect, but poker is a game with big swings and you need to be able to keep on playing without going broke. If as a professional, you have been beating 4 NL and made it up to a bankroll of £500 you can move up to 10 NL (blinds £0.05 and £0.10). If this player loses some money again on 10NL and his bankroll falls below £375 it is recommended to go back to 4 NL until the player has once again reached £500. As a recreational or serious amateur player the same thing goes, if you have dropped to 75% of the money you needed to move up, drop down a level. For example, as a recreational player you need £1,500 to move up to 100NL. 75% would be £1,500 * 0.75 = £1,125, if you drop back to this amount go back to 50 NL and work your way up from there again. 


Bankroll schedule for Tournament and Sit & Go players

Are you a tournament or S&G player then the schedule below might be more suitable for you. This schedule works a bit different than the one above, the further you get in the schedule the more buy ins you need. Again, if you drop back to 75% of the limit you needed, you drop back a level in buy-ins. 

Buy-in Recreational player Professional Back to previous limit (as professional)
£1 £25 £40  
£2 £50 £80 £60
£4 £100 £175 £130
£10 £300 £500 £375
£25 £900 £1,300 £975
£50 £2,500 £3,000 £2,250
£100 £5,000 £7,500 £5,625

The advantages of playing with Bankroll Management

Not only are your chances of going broke much smaller when you play with bankroll management, you also gain a mental advantage. To play optimal poker you need to be as stress free as possible and have as little worries as possible, so you can concentrate on playing your A-game. Stress and nervous have a bad impact on your game, and with good bankroll management you do not have to worrie of going broke as you always have money in your account. 

Also keep in mind if you go above a certain level and bankroll wise you would be able to move up, that you do not have to do this. If you are not comfortable playing with this amount, then just stay at the previous level (for a while). 


Taking shots

Occasionally taking shots at games above your current bankroll is useful to grow as a poker player and learn new things about the game. When taking shots, it is vital not to play “scared money” so that you are in a good frame of mind and ready for the poker challenge.

Make sure you are relaxed and rested when playing. The game you are taking a shot at is bound to have weaker players than normal and you have not been on a losing streak lately. You should also set a stop loss limit. If your limit is 5 buy-ins, you should move down again if you lose 5 them. If the shot works out, you can start progressively taking more shots at that limit.

Taking a shot is never without risk, you go into a higher level earlier then bankroll management would allow. If you lose it will have a bigger effect on your bankroll. You would again need more time to get back to your previous bankroll and thus also to the real bankroll required to go to a certain level. Only take shots if you want to take this risk, do it when you are feeling good and use a stop-loss. 



Even the best poker players have losing streaks and suffer from negative variance from time to time. If you let your poker bankroll dictate which level you are playing on, you will be able to survive the downswings and continue moving up in stakes and grow as a poker player. Be patient, work yourself up gradually with the Unibet bankroll schedule.

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