How do I know what poker game I will enjoy the most?This is the simple part, try playing them all. You can either play them for Play Money (for FREE) to test the games out or try them at their lowest stakes. You'll soon know which game you enjoy most and which game fits into your free time.
How much free time do you have?
|Free Time||Recommended Game to Play/Test|
|30 minutes a day||5 x Spin & Go's.|
|1 hour per day||10 x Spin & Go's, or 100 hands of 6-max cash, or 200 ZOOM hands.|
|4 hours per day||40 Spin & Go's, 400 hands of 6-Max cash, 800 Zoom hands, or one Turbo MTT.|
|8 hours per day||80 Spin & Go's, 800 hands of 6-Max cash, 1,600 Zoom hands, or one Standard MTT.|
|Unlimited||Pick a game that suits your bankroll and enjoyment best.|
|Weekends only||Weekends have the biggest and most exciting tournament schedules.|
How much is your poker bankroll? If you're a recreational player just playing for fun, you don't need a big bankroll to enjoy poker. But if you're hoping to play poker professionally, you'll need a much higher bankroll to stay in the game.
What stakes should I play?
The below table shows what games and stakes you should consider playing, depending on your bankroll. It is based on a player who is taking poker seriously, but who doesn't use poker as their sole source of income.
|Bankroll||Cash Games||Spin & Go's||Multi Table Tournaments||ZOOM Cash||Single Table Tournaments|
|$0||Play Money cash games||Play Money Spin & Go's||Play Money tournaments (Sunday Billion) and Freerolls*||Play Money Zoom cash||Play Money Sit & Go's|
|$50||$0.01/$0.02 stakes||$0.25 Spin & Go's||$0.50 buy-ins and freerolls||$0.01/$0.02 stakes||$0.50 buy-ins|
|$125||$0.02/$0.05 stakes||$0.25 Spin & Go's||$1 buy-ins and freerolls||$0.02/$0.05 stakes||$1.50 buy-ins|
|$250||$0.05/$0.10 stakes||$1 Spin & Go's||$2 buy-ins and freerolls||$0.05/$0.10 stakes||$3 buy-ins|
|$625||$0.10/$0.25 stakes||$2.50 Spin & Go's||$5 buy-ins and satellites||$0.10/$0.25 stakes||$7 buy-ins|
|$1,250||$0.25/$0.50 stakes||$5 Spin & Go's||$10 buy-ins and satellites||$0.25/$0.50 stakes||$15 buy-ins|
|$2,500||$0.50/$1 stakes||$10 Spin & Go's||$20 buy-ins and satellites||$0.50/$1 stakes||$30 buy-ins|
In the above chart, I suggest a bankroll of at least 25 times your buy-in for 6-Max cash and Zoom, 100 buy-ins for tournaments (if you want to play bigger buy-in tournaments try to satellite into to them). For Spin & Go's, try to have at least 150 buy-ins, but again this depends on your skill level - you'll need more buy-ins if you're new to this game. For Sit & Go's or single table tournaments, a good starting bankroll would be around 60 buy-ins; you'll need to increase this if you're playing tournaments with more than nine players.
Every author has slightly different guidelines when it comes to bankroll management. The truth is, bankroll management is unique for everyone, and these are only guidelines designed to stop you losing your entire bankroll. You must adjust to what suits your needs. For example, a player with $1,000 who only plays $1 Spin & Go's can still go broke if they play bad poker.
It's also true that a beginning player who's never played poker before, or has little experience, shouldn't jump into a $0.50/$1 stake 6-Max cash game, just because they have a $2,000 bankroll. It's better to start at the Play Money tables, learn the basics, then move on to the smallest stakes possible until you're happy with your game.
How much time should I spend playing poker vs studying poker?
Again, this is different for everyone. Some players prefer to learn through play at the tables, the more hands they play the more situations arise and the more experienced they become. Others prefer to learn through reading, books, articles, taking courses. Then of course, you have forums, talking about hands with friends and other poker players, or even watching Twitch and reviewing videos.
For a beginner, it's important to split your poker play vs poker study at least 60/40. The study aspect should be split too, allowing you to review your hands, learn new strategies and discuss these with friends/other players.
Here's a rough guide to your play vs study ratio:
|Playing poker||Reviewing the hands you've played.||Taking courses, reading books, reading articles.||Watching Twitch, watching videos, posting hands in forums, talking poker with friends.|
How can I improve my game?
PokerStars School offers several resources and free courses. Here's what's available:
- Forum – Ask questions, talk with other poker players.
- Courses – We have a wide range of free courses available, including:
- Strategy Articles – New Strategy articles are added to PokerStars School every week.
- Twitch – Both PokerStars and PokerStars School run regular Live Twitch sessions. Watch pros & trainers play live poker, see their hole cards and understand their thought processes.
- Discord – There is a PokerStars Discord channel where you can chat live with other poker players & pros. PokerStars School has its own section/chat room.
Have fun and keep poker excitingSet yourself fun challenges. This will not only keep the game exciting whilst you're improving your play, but also keep you on track to reach your goals.
Decided you want to play poker tournaments? If you have up to six hours per day to play with (and a $200 bankroll) a fun challenge could be to play a mixture of $1.10 satellites into the Sunday Million, as well as standard $1.10 Turbo Tournaments.
This way you could spend your study time improving your tournament poker, and you'll have the excitement of trying to win a seat into the Sunday Million.
Spin & Go Challenge
Set yourself a target, such as 'play 50 x $0.25 Spin & Go's in one week'. Perhaps even ask a friend if they want to take the challenge with you - loser buys the lunch! When that lunch arrives, you can both sit down and discuss strategy, learn and improve each other's games.