7 Smart Ways to Grow Your Poker Bankroll

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Poker Bankroll

Every poker player needs to be conscious of their bankroll. If you lose all of your money you won’t be able to continue playing.

The best way to grow your bankroll is to practice and learn the best strategy so you’re a long term winner. But even the best players have down swings.

In this list of 7 smart ways to grow your poker bankroll faster you won’t find too much involving strategy, but you’ll learn great ways to increase your bankroll as you’re improving the rest of your game.

Each of these tips can be used by itself to help your bankroll grow or you can combine two or more of them to get the maximum advantage.

1 – Play Freeroll Tournaments

Freeroll poker tournaments are contest that pay out real money but don’t cost anything to enter. You can find freeroll opportunities online and many land based poker rooms offer free tournament entries to their player’s club members who play a set number of hands in a given time period.

Any money you win in a freeroll helps build your bankroll with only an investment of time. They’re also a great way to build a bankroll from zero if you want to play online.

Freeroll poker tournaments seem like a great way to grow your bankroll but you need to consider the available pay outs and compare them to other opportunities.

Here’s an example:

An online freeroll tournament offers $100 in pay outs to the top 50 finishers in a 1,000 seat contest. The top finisher receives $10 and the pay outs go down to pennies for the players who place from 40 to 50.

To win a 1,000 entry tournament you’ll have to play for hours. If you have to play for five hours and are lucky enough to win your return is only $2 per hour. In strictly financial terms you’re better off working five hour at a $10 an hour job and using part of the money to grow your bankroll.

Of course if you do this you miss out on the experience of playing so only you can decide if a freeroll is the best use f your time.

2 – Look for Tournaments with Overlays

An overlay is a situation where the tournament has a guaranteed prize pool and they don’t get enough entrants to cover the guarantee. These aren’t common, but you can find them if you keep your eyes open for the possibility.

You still have to finish in the money to grow your bankroll but if you’re an average or better player you can grow your bankroll in overlay tournaments over time.

Here’s how it works:

You enter a tournament with a $10,000 guarantee that costs $100 plus $10 to enter. The tournament only gets 90 entries so they collect $9,000 in entry fees for the pay outs and $900 in extra fees. Your total cost to enter is $110 and on average each of the 90 entrants will win $111.11.

This means that the positive expectation for the tournament is $1.11.

While this doesn’t seem like much, the expectation is magnified for better than average players. If the tournament pays out to the top 20 finishers and you’re a better than average player you’re positive expectation is higher. An average player will finish around 45th on average over time, so if you’re better than average you can eliminate half the field on average.

These calculations are theoretical, but consider your chances to finish in the money if you consider 44 entrants instead of 90. This more than doubles your positive expectation.

If you can find tournaments with a larger overlay your expectation goes up as well.

Any time you can play in positive expectation situations it helps build your bankroll over time. The short term can still be costly but if you play in enough overlay poker tournaments it can build over time.

3 – Drop Down to Lower Limits

On average the ability of your poker opponents is better as you move up in limits. This makes it harder to win at higher limits.

Even if you can beat the game at your current limit you might be able to win more overall at a lower limit. You also risk less of your bankroll in each game you pay at a lower limit.

Here’s an example:

You have a $6,000 bankroll and are playing 10 / 20 Texas holdem. You buy into each game with $400 and are able to make $10 an hour on average.

If you drop back to play 5 / 10 Texas holdem you buy into each game with $200. If you can win more than $10 per hour playing at 5 / 10 you should play it instead of 10 /20. In many cases you can $15 or $20 an hour at 5 / 10 if you can win $10 an hour at 10 / 20.

In addition, you only risk 3.33% of your total bankroll in each game instead of 6.67%.

Start tracking your results at each limit and don’t be afraid to drop to a lower limit to see if you can win more.

On the other hand, if your bankroll is big enough you might take a shot at the next higher limit. The best times to try this are when you see a higher limit game filled with players you know you can beat. You might be able to win $30 an hour in certain 30 / 60 games if you’re beating the 10 / 20 game for $10 an hour.

Just remember that being able to beat a level doesn’t mean you can ignore your total bankroll. You need to play at a level where you can protect your current bankroll and not take a hit that’s too big when you experience a downswing.

4 – Specialize

Many poker players play a wide range of games and limits. They might play limit and no limit Texas holdem and pot limit Omaha and Omaha 8 and play in both cash games and tournaments.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with this, but only the best players can play a wide range f games and limits without it hurting some areas of their game.

The best way to grow your bankroll is to specialize in one game and limit. This is the best way to improve your current game, learn s much as possible about your opponents, and increase your profits.

No limit Texas holdem is the most widely available game in both cash game and tournament play. This means it’s the easiest game to find and has plenty of poor players. It also draws some of the best players, so it might not be the best choice to choose to specialize in.

Your choice of specialization needs to account for the games you have available, but you also need to consider the competition in each game and limit.

If you want to play no limit Texas holdem specialize in cash games, single table tournaments, or multi table tournaments.

Pick one and work on your game so you can be as profitable as possible.

If games are available, consider specializing in a less popular variation. Pot limit Omaha or Omaha 8 often offer more profit for good players than Texas holdem.

It’s up to you to decide the best place to specialize, but once you choose an area concentrate on it to have the best chance to grow your bankroll.

5 – Create Advantage Opportunities

Every good poker player tries to create advantage opportunities and positive expectation situations. But what you’re going to learn in this section goes beyond the way you play at the table.

Many players get locked into the thought process that they either play poker online or in a land based poker room. They either log onto their favorite online poker room or look for a seat or travel to a land based room and join the waiting list for the first available game.

The best players can do this and still win in the long run, but this makes it harder to grow your bankroll. You’re at the mercy of chance when considering your opponents.

But what if you could join a game where you’re one of the best players every time? Won’t you win more in the long run this way than by just playing against whoever happens to be at your table?

I’m sure this sounds great, but you may be asking how this is possible, especially if you’re not already a good player.

The answer is, don’t forget about private games.

You can find private games by asking around or by creating your own. Look for games with players who aren’t as good as you to join.

You can start your own game and only invite players who you can beat. It might seem like it’s hard to find poor players to fill your game but not everyone has the same goals as you. Many of them just want to play and have a chance to win sometimes.

Ask your friends and people you work with if they’re interested in a game. Many people are afraid to play at a poker room but will play in a private game.

The point is to not get stuck thinking like everyone else. Be willing to think in different ways to find and create advantage opportunities.

6 – Become a Student of the Game

As I mentioned in the introduction the best way to grow your bankroll is to become a winning player. The way to do this is to become a student of the game.

You need to study and learn as much as you can about the variation of poker you choose to play. Read as many good articles and books as you can, practice as much as possible, and watch video of hands to learn as much about strategy as you can.

You also need to study your opponents so you can learn the best way to play against them in the future.

Track your play so you can identify and correct mistakes that cost you money.

You need to spend as much time as possible thinking about and improving your game. If you want to be one of the best poker players you need to do what the best players do and avoid acting like losing players.

You also need to learn the adjustments you need to make from game to game to maximize your chance to win. In a loose game you might need to play tighter and in a tight game you might need to play looser. The strategy that works well in one game might not work as well in another.

Dedicate yourself to becoming the best player possible and you have the best chance to grow your bankroll.

7 – Get More Rest

One of the things most poker players don’t think about in relation to growing their bankroll is the amount of rest they get and their health.

But we perform better when we’re well rested and in good health.

So, if you want to grow your bankroll make sure you get enough rest before you play poker.

You also need to stop playing when you start getting tired.

If you get tired before you want to stop playing then start exercising more so you start getting in better health and build your stamina.

When you get tired you make more mistakes and your mind doesn’t work as well as it does when you’re rested. Every mistake you make while playing poker costs you money in the long run. Eliminate as many mistakes as possible if you want to grow your bankroll.


The 7 smart ways to grow your bankroll faster included above are designed to help you win more.

This means that even if your bankroll is large enough to play at the limits you want you can still use these tips to improve your overall game.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...

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