Cookies on the PokerWorks Website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the PokerWorks website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time.

Continue using cookies

Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

Boot Camp - Diversify Your Poker Portfolio

Share this
My financial advisor tells me that diversification to my portfolio is the key to my retirement. I'm not really sure what that means. That's why I have a financial advisor. But I think it means you don't want too many of the same kind of fund. You don't want too many aggressive stocks that might crash, but you also don't want too many stocks that will earn you about enough to buy a couple of value meals at a burger joint, either.

I rarely go on long losing streaks in poker, and I think there are two reasons for that. One is I've learned how to avoid tilt - and the second is because my poker game, like my portfolio, is diversified.

I mostly play No Limit Hold 'Em cash games. But that's not all I play. So when that game's going bad, I can switch to other parts of my poker portfolio and burn off the bad luck. Here's what I think you need for a diversified portfolio.

Cash game experience - Far too many players start out on tournaments and never go beyond them. That's a mistake. Tournaments are fun, but they're far too swingy, like an aggressive-growth mutual fund. They'll make you money with a big score, but you can also go through some serious dry spells where you're not making any money at all.

If this is OK with you, fine, but if you're playing poker for a little extra income, then you need to learn how to play cash games. I've built my roll through cash games at places such as Bodog Poker, which is full of fish who don't understand how to play them. The advantages to cash games are you can slowly but surely build your bankroll with patient play. You won't have those dry spells.

The downside, of course, is that you can lose a lot of money if you don't know what you're doing, where as tournaments you at least have a set loss (your buy-in). I'd recommend starting out on low-level tournaments and SnGs, but you need to quickly expand to cash games if you want to build a bankroll.

MTTs — Just as you need cash games to build your roll, you should take a shot at MTTs every once in a while for a big score. MTTs are really fun, too, and can help keep your cash game fresh simply because they will break up the grind that cash games can sometimes bring. But you also have to expect that most of the time you'll walk away from an MTT with nothing. I have found an excellent selection of MTTs at Full Tilt Poker.

SnGs — I started out with real money by playing SnGs. I played 80 of the six-man tournaments and eventually lost my $25 deposit. But the experience was invaluable. I deposited $200 after that, and I've never had to deposit again.

I believe SnGs have really toughened up since the Internet gaming laws were passed a year-and-a-half ago. Everyone seems to know how to play tight these days. But I also think there's still money to be made at them, and they are also fun and quick and easy. I wouldn't rely too heavily on SnGs to build a roll, but you should still keep them in your portfolio. If you do cash several times in a row, they can get you a bundle of money in a hurry.

• A different game other than Hold 'Em -
You can't play all Hold 'Em, all the time, and expect to do well all the time. A different game not only helps break up the grind, it may help you improve your Hold 'Em game. Plus most online players know how to play Hold 'Em these days, but they really don't know how to play games such as Omaha, Stud and my favorite, Razz. I've built a significant role at PokerStars recently playing Razz cash games. Razz isn't on TV, so most players don't know some of the basic strategy, and I've taken advantage of that. Razz has helped me overcome some middling results in Hold 'Em in the last couple of weeks.

• Different levels when you do play 'Hold 'Em -
I have advocated, over and over, that you don't move up until you're ready and your bankroll can handle it, and I'm sticking to that. But I do play at three different levels, and that's because table selection is increasingly difficult in today's post-Internet gaming law world. So I have no problem playing down a level or two if the tables are good because I will probably make more money by playing with those fish.

News Flash

The IRS Scores Big at 2015 WSOP ME Final Table

The IRS managed to snag 34.13 percent from the payouts of the 2015 November Nine, totaling $8,467,091.

Read more

Quick Room Review

Bonus Room review

Subscribe to the Nightly Turbo

Be the first to know all the latest poker news, tournament results, gossip and learn all about the best online poker deals straight from your inbox.

RSS Feed