How to build your online poker bankroll

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As poker players, we all want to build a bigger bankroll to satisfy our two primal cravings:

  • To play at higher stakes
  • To win more money

Building a poker bankroll takes patience, however, which is why the grand majority of online poker players lose in the long run. It’s not because they are bad players, although many are. It’s because they do a poor job of managing their bankroll. Once you have good bankroll management guidelines in place, if you follow these strategies, you’ll be well on your way to building a big bankroll.

Bankroll management guidelines

Bankroll management: It’s dry, boring and requires you to bring only about 5% of your bankroll to any table at one time. 5% is a standard number. Some players bring only 3%, while others have had success bringing as much as 10%. Here are the other guidelines for Texas Hold’em:

  • The size of your bankroll should be at least 20 times the buy-in for pot limit and no limit Hold’em cash games. You should have $2,000 ready if you plan to buy in for $100 at a $.50/$1 cash game.
  • For SNG (sit and go) tournaments, you should have at least 40 times the full buy-in. So if the buy-in for the SNG is $20+$2, you should have a bankroll of $800.
  • If you are playing limit Hold’em, you should have a bankroll of 300 big blinds. So to play $.50/$1 limits, you need to have at least $300.

Take advantage of first deposit and reload bonuses

There is a wealth of poker room on the internet, and they all want your money. Almost every single poker room offers new depositors a 100% bonus up to at least $500. You earning points for contributing a certain number of raked hands, whereby the bonus is credited to your account in increments.

Unfortunately, if you’ve been playing online poker for a while, you know that the requirements for obtaining these bonuses have become stricter over the years. It’s difficult to obtain these bonuses playing the micro limits, but if you play $.50/$1, you’ll contribute enough rake to earn it in as little as a few hours.

If you’re a high roller, take advantage of large deposit bonuses. Bodog gives new depositors a 110% bonus up to $1,100 with a 10% instant bonus, while Doyle’s Room only offers 100% up to $200.

Along with your first deposit, most rooms now grant you entry into some type of free roll. AP enters you in a New Depositer’s Freeroll, while Bodog gives you 6 free cracks at making Sunday’s $100K Guaranteed.

Upon completing your bonus, withdraw all your money and move to a new poker room. Try to use the same withdrawal option every time (if possible) to expedite the process.

Play at rooms with Sportsbooks

It’s funny, even while I was winning at’s poker site (now PlayAces), I never gave it a second thought. Sure, I was playing good poker, but it also helps that a healthy part of my competition mostly played at the sportsbook and probably played poker for fun when they weren’t betting on sports or horses.

Get you rakeback

If you’re more than a casual poker player, you should strongly consider signing up through a rake back provider. Most online poker rooms participate in these programs, and you’ll typically get around 30% of your rake back. In order to receive rake back you must be a new player at that poker room.

Don’t cash out

This is a difficult one for me to recommend since so many players fail to cash out when they’re up, but if you’re utilizing proper bankroll management guidelines, you shouldn’t get into too much trouble. Once you start building your bankroll, set a goal to cash out an amount that will still allow you to play at your desired limit.

Play SNGs or small MTTs; avoid cash games

The beauty of these games is twofold. One, you will be contributing less rake than if you were playing cash games. Two, SNGs and small MTTs (multi-table tournaments) offer good payouts and are less risky than cash games and large MTTs. You can risk only $5+$.50 and win $54 in a 27-man tournament. Skill is much more of a factor in SNGs and small MTTs, whereas large MTTs require a fair amount of luck. One big loss at a cash game can put you on tilt and send you spiraling out of control.

Move up slowly

Move up a limit only if the new limit fits within to the bankroll management guidelines. Some players move up in limits out of frustration. They want to quickly get back the money they’ve lost from bad beats, and they convince themselves that by moving up a level, they’ll have to deal with less fish. While there will probably be less fish, generally speaking, the competition only gets tougher.

Know when to move down

Equally important is knowing that sometimes you have to move down a limit. Only the most dedicated and patient of poker players will be able to adhere to this stringent rule. You should never think that you’re “above” playing at a certain limit, especially if you aren’t winning at that limit.


It’s important to understand that building your bankroll is a process; it takes time and shouldn’t be rushed. Impatience leads to unnecessary mistakes at the poker table. Always play within limits that you set for yourself, and be strict in following those guidelines. Poker is fun when you win, but in order to win you have to be disciplined. If you follow these guidelines, you can be having a lot of fun.

Have you ever tried to build your bankroll using these techniques, or do you pretty much play whatever games/limits you want?

8 thoughts on “How to build your online poker bankroll”

  1. Poker is one of the games about which I really wanted to read information and I came across your post. This was what I needed at the moment. I thank you for offering me with such information about poker games. I would also like to mention about a poker room of mine where all the other online poker fans are most welcome to play their favorite variants of this game. We assure great customer services and no hang ups with awesome graphics and sound effects in different games of poker.

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