Two variations of questions I get asked a lot, and see people asking all of the time to each other is:

 


• If you give one piece of advice to a starting or even 'developed' poker player, what would it be?
• I understand poker, I am better than the fish, but I am making a loss, or just a small profit. What am I missing, what can I do?


I suffered the same scenario; for ages I thought it was the way I played, and hence constantly thought it variance, and just subtle errors in play.  It wasn't until about September I really discovered the missing element, strict bankroll management.  Bankroll management is a term that gets said a lot, but I don't get think it gets USED a lot.  When used properly, I believe it will improve your game, your profits, ROI (Return on investment) and also your enjoyment for the game.  Regardless, of your game, stakes, applying a good bankroll management plan and sticking to it will:


• Give you room to develop and learn how to beat the game you are playing.  Regardless in your game variation, every jump in stakes you will encounter a different level and change of play which will require tweaks to your game, which takes time.
• More buy-ins in your bankroll, gives more room to notice your downswings.
• Gives you less stress during downswings.  Investing less of your Bankroll in each MTT/cash game table means less stress to perform.  There is situations where more stress, allows you perform better, but poker is different.  Especially with players constantly improving all the time; you have to CONSTANT all the time, with your CONSISTENCY.


For cash games, it taking advantage of the fish, exploiting the leaks of the regulars, so eventually they become the new fish, while at the same time beating the rake.  Side note, this is especially prevalent in Fixed Limit and split pot games, where the % of rake as the part of the pot is higher, you can't miss value, and you don't want to give it away.
For MTTs, you are playing survival mode, where the winner is the sole survivor.  Prizes are awarded to the top 1/8th (approx) of the field on a exponential scale.  For example in the attached picture of a typical Big 4.40 payout structure.  Note I have also translated the payouts as multiples of $4.40 buy-ins (NOT $4) beside it.  This illustrates how top heavy and high variance MTTs are.  It is something that gets mentioned a lot but I think needs to be elaborated further in relation to bankroll management.


While grinding, regardless of skill level, you will not cash in every MTT, the general average for ITM is 10-18%, but for beginner players it can especially vary. The top pros all have different %'s as well across that range, with a bare few reaching 20%.  Not only is there to consider your frequency of cashing, but how BIG your cash is, measured as ROI (avg return on investment).  E.g. in the 7711 field big 4.40 you finish 350th for 12.02. Therefore your ROI for that MTT is 170%.  With all that information in mind, it is easy to figure out the average performance just to BREAK-EVEN.


Scenario: We cash 1/7 MTTs (14.2%) and we want to break even. Therefore for our one cash, we want to earn 7 buy-ins, which is 90th+.
However to constantly wade through a massive field to this stage to this stage even close to every 7th time, is nearly impossible.  Even the best players will have periods where they constantly min cash, or not altogether.  This is why bankroll management is so important.
With a plan in place it allows you to ride these swings, until you achieve those big cashes, like the 1000+ buy-ins for 1/7711.  Not only that it gives you room to LEARN, which I believe is another undoubtedly important part of being a poker player.  You gotta learn how to beat players, and don't we want to all LEARN how to beat them more and more consistently?

In summary, I hope you realise I love my math, repetition of words and just talking in general.  I promise that in person I am more fun (I'll try to make my next post more comedic :p).  But that aside, all these terms that we use when we talk about poker outside of actual playing all relate to something we all need to focus more in order to come better and more profitable players, Bankroll Management.