The downfall of many beginning poker players is not putting much thought into their starting bankroll. For example, some players will have a $400 bankroll, then play $0.50/$1 No-Limit Hold’em. Now this might seem harmless at first because $400 is enough to cover four full cash game buy-ins (100bb each).
However, due to the variance associated with NL games, you could easily lose this amount of money within a matter of days – especially if you’re a beginner! That said, let’s look at some different opinions on the matter of how large one’s bankroll should be when they’re starting out in poker.
Common Thinking on the Subject
The most common advice in regards to this matter is that NL poker players should have at least 20 buy-ins for the limit they want to play. So in the example where a player has $400, they should play $0.10/$0.20 NLHE or lower since this gives them 20 cash game buy-ins. But the 20 buy-ins is usually recommended for experienced players in an effort to help them survive any downswings so that they don’t bust their bankroll.
Focusing on Beginning Players
When concerning beginning poker players, a better starting bankroll would be 30-40 cash game buy-ins for the limits they want to play. The reason why is because an inexperienced player will not only be facing negative variance at various points, but they’ll also have a rough time in the early going until they learn more poker strategy.
So if a beginner had a $400 bankroll, the safe route would be playing $0.05/$0.10 NLHE in the beginning until they experienced more success with the game. Once the beginning player began learning more strategy and getting more comfortable with poker, they could then go by the 20 buy-in bankroll model.