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Bankroll Management

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One of the most frequent questions asked on the poker forums is "How big should my bankroll be to turn pro?" Usually the answer takes the form of 200-500 big bets, but this only addresses the bankroll size, it doesn't take into account all of the expenses that a professional would have, or the savings required to cushion any long losing streak. Like everything else in poker the actual amount depends on many variables: What life style are you willing to accept? Do you want to own a car? What is the tax rate for your state? How much is your rent? How will you provide for your retirement or health insurance? Do you want to have a life? Finally, how much risk are you willing to take? This download is simply an Excel spreadsheet that allows you to calculate the amount of cash, bankroll and savings you need to really turn pro. You get to plug in your own numbers and determine what your bankroll should be.

A few things that everyone should consider as they fill in the blanks and some notes on the numbers used in the spread sheet are: Hilger in his book "Internet Texas Hold'em Winning Strategies ......." calculated the possible length of a losing streak for a player that normally wins two big bets per hour in a $10/20 LIMIT game. It found that this winning player could play 14,000 hands and only break even. The spreadsheet uses these numbers at a table 40 hours per week to calculate the required, cushion/savings. Krieger in his book "Secrets the Pros Won't Tell You," suggests that you maintain a cushion equal to twelve months worth of expenses. If you intend to play at lower limits, the length of your possible losing streak is longer, not shorter. (A lower limit does not cut a skilled player's losses. It only limits his wins.) There are three spreadsheets: an example with yellow blanks filled in with my values, a simple version that doesn't itemize the possible expenses and has a simplified tax calculation suitable for those not subject to the U.S. tax code, finally a Blank one where you can enter your own values in the yellow cells.

Note this bankroll is based on single table play. If you multi table all of the time you might reduce the amount of reserve cushion required, but reducing it to less than three months is probably an extreme mistake. In "1000 Best Poker Strategies and Secrets" by Susan Isaacs, She suggested:

"164. So you're the advanced player. You're the best in your home poker club? You're the best poker player in your hometown? You're so good you're about ready to turn pro? Here's the best tip I will be giving you in the entirety of this book: DON'T!"

The final consideration is: If you live at home with your parents or your home is paid for by a working spouse, while you play poker. You are not a Professional Poker Player. You are simply a Poker Bum.

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