Poker legend Daniel Negreanu gives top tips on ‘the right bankroll’

  • Knowing how to properly define and handle your bankroll is crucial to your poker success
  • There isn’t one-fit-all answer to the “what’s the right bankroll” question

Your poker bankroll is the main tool in your poker career, whether you are just an amateur or a professional player. However, as Daniel Negreanu explains, there are some important things to consider when determining what the right amount is, and you need to consider all of these if you don’t want to go broke or find yourself in a bad spot overall.

See Negreanu’s YouTube video below, posted to his own channel.

Defining a proper bankroll

Negreanu, being one of the best-known poker pros out there, says that the question about the “right bankroll” is probably the one he gets asked the most.

But, despite his decades of experience in the game, he admits that’s not a question he can simply answer from the top of his head.

There are a couple of important factors to consider when determining the size of your poker bankroll: How good are you? Your poker skills will determine your win rate, and this is an important variable in figuring out how big of a bankroll you need.

Another crucial thing to have in mind is: do you have any outs? Going broke, even with very conservative bankroll management, is a real possibility, especially for professional poker players. Variance can sometimes be really brutal. If this happens, do you have someone who can loan you some money or any assets you can liquidate for cash?

If the answer to this is “no”, you’ll need to be extra careful with your bankroll. Once you bust, there is no way back. You’ll simply be out of money and out of the games, which is something you can’t afford if poker is your primary or a significant source of income.

Figuring out exact numbers

Although Negreanu admits that he didn’t do any special math to figure it out, he offers some advice as to the exact number of buy-ins a player should have before playing in certain cash games or tournaments.

Negreanu’s rule of thumb advice

  • 20 full buy-ins for cash games (not minimum buy-ins)
  • 50 full buy-ins for tournaments at least (as variance is much higher)
  • Of course, these numbers aren’t any kind of a guarantee that you won’t go bust and, in fact, Negreaunu cautions that even a decent player can lose 50 buy-ins for multi-table tournaments. It all gets down to figuring out what your true skill level is and how it compares to the field you’re playing in, and how comfortable you’re with losing it all.

    If busting your bankroll isn’t going to hurt other aspects of your life, then you can follow much looser guidelines than if your bankroll is, in fact, your business capital, and your livelihood depends on it.

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