Ok, got some goals, so what's next? Your Bankroll.
We are going to look at why and when proper Bankroll Management is important, what stakes you should be playing and when it's recommended you should move up or down in Stakes.
First the why:
Because poker is a life long game with an element of luck. Therefore, even as a skilled player, you will have downswings. The idea behind proper BRM is to make sure that those downswings don't bust your BR. Thankfully, over enough hands, variance seems to even things out, and if you are a skilled player, you will profit if you have used proper BRM.
The other reason is twofold. One, you don't ever want to play with scared money. You know how you feel when you get a bad beat and the tilt starts to rise? Well, when you can't afford the losses, that tilt is magnified. The quickest way to go broke is to disregard your BRM and encounter on of those tilts...
The other reason is that without proper BRM, you will never be able to use big stack strategy. I like to think of it like this: On the poker table, chips are tools. You use these tools to extract chips from other players. And everyone knows it's better to have a big tool! :) But seriously, use whatever tools available in order to maximize your profits. In the end, that's the goal, isn't it?
You will see, after a few months, with some skill and proper BRM, you will turn a profit.
So when should you practice proper BRM?
Well, always. But when it's the most helpful:
When you are on a cooler - When you seem to just be losing and losing, it may be time to cut your losses and take a break. If you have set a budget and you lose 2-3 buy-ins(BIs), it wont seem nearly as bad as losing half your BR.
When you are on tilt - When you feel your emotions getting the better of you, you start playing mediocre hands OOP, and find yourself in pots with hands that look like feet, you are on tilt. Activate the kill switch! Get up, walk away, just take a break, remember that it's a lifelong game and that "more is nog n dag".(there's always tomorrow)
When you have moved up in stakes but you're getting hammered - Stay as long as you feel you are actually getting the hang of it. Don't be a hero and stay cos you can afford it. Most of the time I play way over rolled, just for the social aspect, the action and the table selection.
What Stakes should you be playing?
I like to conserve my BR, so these may seem a little low for you, but good for a starter and easy to work out.
You have quite a bit of cash:
Decide on a starting bankroll, let's use R2500 as an example.
With that BR, you are rolled for R100NL cash game (50c/R1 with a R100 max buy in), R25 MTTs and R50 SNGs. To work it out, for cash games take your BR divide by 25, that is your max buy in, divide by 100 for your big blind max. For MTTs take your BR and divide by 100. For SNGs take your BR and divide by 50.
This should see you through the downswings, but if you are a starter player, I suggest you try the lower stakes first just to get the hang of things.
You have a bit of cash:
You will need a minimum of $50 to play 2NL on a US site or R500 to play 20NL on an SA site using proper BRM.
You have no cash:
You have 2 options, freerolls (better on SA sites) or a deposit bonus. For the deposit bonus, you must not have an account on Fulltilt. Go to http://www.pokerstrategy.com/u7TYTU, do the training, pass the quiz, register on FT and get $50. That will be enough for 2NL on FT.
Ok, a long one, but almost there, when to move up and down in stakes?
If you are crushing your current stakes, when you have 25 BIs for the next level up, you can try your hand at it.
If you move up in stakes and are losing consistently, once you are down 3 BIs at your new stakes, I would suggest you move down and grind it out on the lower stakes till you are ready to try again.
Well, hope you enjoyed Step 2. The next one in a bit...