Sunday, February 3, 2008

Bankroll management Schmankroll management

Over 16 months ago, Chris Ferguson, the 2001 WSOP main event winner, challenged himself to start from nothing and get up to $10K in online poker.
The concept behind this is to use proper bankroll management and if you're a good player in the long run you'll eventually hit the stated goal. Of course, starting from scratch meant that Chris had to eventually get lucky in a free-roll multi-table tournament. Once he made a small amount of money, he stuck to his rules of never allowing more 5% of his money be on the poker table and in play. This bankroll management concept figures that if you're a winning player, you'll be able to weather the swings of variance (poker nerd talk for periods of bad luck) that poker will often give you.
So, yesterday I get an email from Full Tilt Poker letting me know I'm getting a free $75 buck bonus since I haven't played in a long time. With a skeptical eye I checked my FTP account to see what the skinny was. Turns out you need to earn your you bonus by playing raked games and they slowly release the 75 smackers depending on their points system. "Screw that!" I thought to myself as I didn't have any desire to deposit any money online at this time.

But wait a sec...

My balance says I have $2.15!

I don't remember the whys or wherefores, so to me that's a free 2 bucks and 15 cents! It's like finding a fin in the dryer lint screen- sure, it's yours technically, but it's free money since you weren't even aware of it in the 1st place.

Thoughts of Chris Ferguson blog posts on bankroll management immediately came to me and soon I was already spending the $10K in my mind. Not a minute longer than that and I was plopping down my $2.15 in a heads-up match ($2 +$0.15 fee- it was perfect!!).

Ummmm..what? 100% of my money was on the table.?!

Chris took his meager freeroll money and played micro-stakes LIMIT hold 'em. Limit is just not my regular game and I knew that I'd probably come out a loser. So I risked it all on the best chance I knew of to double it up. A heads up match- assuming I'm better than my opponent, I had maybe a 55% chance of winning. Besides this is FREE money, right?!

Thankfully, I won. I now had 4 bucks. But instead of another heads up match, I decided to play more conservatively in a $.05/.10 NLHE game with $3 cap. (meaning that most you can bet on one hand is 3 bucks) I played tight as a drum and eventually I've built my 4 bucks into 20 bucks (I'm still far away from getting my bonus). So, I think as long as I stick to the micro-stakes until I've built a substantial bankroll I might be able to build a decent chunk of change.

Of course, having someone bluff into you while you hold quad Kings is always helpful!

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