No Limit Holdem Bankroll Management

A highly skilled no limit holdem player can expect some of the highest win rates of all poker games. The variance can be tough, though, since you will often be betting your entire stack in one hand. If you take a couple of bad beats, you could easily lose 200 big blinds in just a couple hands.

Contrary to popular belief, however, winning players can actually expect LESS variance than in many other games, including limit holdem. The reason for this is that in No Limit, you can bet your entire stack at any time, so a winning player will bust poor players much quicker. You also have the advantage of protecting your hand with large bets, controlling the pot and isolating players preflop so you end up in more heads up situations. You end up pushing large edges a few times per session, compared to limit where you are forced to push smaller edges more frequently. While you do risk losing your whole stack on one hand, a winning player will experience fewer long-term swings and expect higher win rates, in the neighborhood of about 10-15 big blinds per hundred hands.

It won’t be difficult at all to find a good no limit holdem game online. It is typically the most popular form of poker at every site and you should be able to find plenty of tables at any time of the day. For very high stakes, you might need to stick to the larger sites.

Safe Bankroll for No Limit Holdem

In order to play No Limit Holdem you should have a bankroll of 20x the buy-in of the stakes you wish to play. For a $.50/$1 game, for example, the typical buy-in will be $100. Therefore, you should have at least $2000 in your bankroll.

The recommended bankroll, however, changes based on your style of play. Many successful holdem players employ a loose, very aggressive style. These players will see much larger swings than a tighter player, and will need to have a larger bankroll so they don’t risk going broke due to bad luck.

Bankroll Required to Move Up in No Limit Holdem

In order to move up a level in no limit holdem, you should wait until you have 20 buy-ins for the next highest level. To move up to the $1/$2 game, commonly referred to as $200 NL, you should wait until you have $4000.

This recommendation, however, is for permanently moving to a higher level. If you find yourself winning at your current stakes, confident with your play and eager to rise through the ranks, you can “take a shot” at moving up, as long as you are mentally prepared to move back down if you lose a couple of buy-ins. A good $.50/$1 player, for example, might want to take a shot at $1/$2 if his bankroll has exceeded $3000 (15 buy-ins of $1/$2). Understand that it takes a lot of discipline to move back and avoid becoming discouraged if you do not succeed at the higher limit. This simply isn’t for everyone. If you at all doubt your ability to stay focused if things don’t go well, it’s best to wait until you have the 20x buy-in recommendation.

Bankroll Required to Move Down in No Limit Holdem

You should move down right away when your bankroll reaches 20 buy-ins for the next lower level. That would mean that a $.50/$1 player should drop down to $.25/$.50 if his bankroll gets to be $1000. The risk of going broke coupled with the strong psychological effect of losing money gives you much less flexibility compared to taking a shot when you are winning. Don’t feel bad to move down a level, and work on building back your roll and confidence. If you play multiple tables, it might be a good idea to cut down on the number and review your sessions more carefully to make sure you are making good decisions.

When to Cash Out Bankroll Earnings

You can cash out any excess winnings over 20x the buy-in of your current stakes. You should never go below this amount, as you could hit a bad string of luck and find yourself in trouble.

In conclusion, player skill level is a huge factor in no limit holdem success. Everyone needs to keep a large bankroll, but a very good player can expect very high win rates and less fluctuation, because he will rarely be getting involved in a big pot without the best of it and will exploit the mistakes of his opponents.