Make The Most of Your Bankroll on a Poker Road Trip

2 years ago
Make The Most of Your Bankroll And Road Trip
15 Jul

You are one step ahead of many poker player by having a plan for your money. You think I’m kidding because I’m not! Many poker players never even consider their life money and their poker money separate and just spend whatever money they have available hoping to get lucky and turn their mini bankroll into a bigger chunk of money, which they continue to risk irresponsibly when they get it. Unsurprisingly they tend to go broke pretty quickly.

In this article we will look at how to divvy up your bankroll before heading to a big tournament or poker festival to ensure you get the best bang for your poker bucks.

Overall Outlay

It is never a good idea to put all of your eggs in one basket with any investment or spend. Whilst spending tons of money would lead to a memorable tournament in terms of entertainment, partying and dining out, this all costs money and could dramatically deplete your bankroll. Even if you are by far the best player, anyone can win or lose a single tournament so blasting through your bankroll getting carried away with the occasion is not a wise move. You should therefore place a strict ceiling limit on your spending when planning how much money you will spend at any given event. Remember whatever you spend must be won back either at the tournament or afterwards.

Did you Satellite in?

You could try and win your seat via a satellite so you pay only a fraction of the total buy-in rather than having to pay the full amount. Even if you plan on putting up the full buy-in you could sell on the tournament seat and the extra money either remains in your bankroll or can be spent on something else like adding to your cash game stack, playing an extra tournament you otherwise could not afford or go towards additional expenses such as food, hotel or travel.

Your Tournament Schedule

It is natural to want to play a full part in proceedings and it always sucks to miss out on any tournament in the schedule. However, before you get too engrossed in the whole tournament experience think about the reasons players should employ sensible bankroll management and the consequences of what a poor tournament series would mean for your bankroll.

Decide whether you want to play in as many tournaments as possible for the money you have available or whether you prefer to buy into one large event. For example, if you have enough money to play in the Main Event but nothing else, you may be able to afford to buy into one of the smaller events instead. You can have three chances to win or would you prefer to chase the big one? The choice is yours but make your decision in line with your tournament goals and do not be impulsive and make a decision you might later regret and certainly don’t buy into all events if that is not the best move for your bankroll.

Travelling to and from the Tournament

You incur additional expenses travelling to and from the event location and many players plan their buy-ins well but then spend freely on peripheral costs without ever factoring them into their financial plans for the tournament.

Think carefully about your travel plans. Can you car share if travelling by road with a poker buddy or do you need to catch a train to the venue? If you must catch a train ask yourself if it is vital to go first class or would an economy ticket suffice? If you must fly to the venue there are lots of cheap flight options available and you should shop around. We will discuss an incentive later about travel later, so watch this space.

Another consideration is whether to buy an open return or arranged a fixed return date. I usually arrange a fixed return because it is cheaper. If I end up in a nice cash game and have to miss my return journey, I will be ahead in the game which is why I choose to stay in it. I know I can afford a new ticket anyway. Conversely, if I’m losing in the game I use my fixed ticket as an excuse to leave stating that I have a train to catch and get out of there!

Hotels and Food

Strike a good balance between enjoying the tournament experience and not chunking off money here, there and everywhere by overspending on hotels and food. If you can afford to book a good hotel it is still worth looking at the cheaper options. I usually aim strike a balance between a hotel I feel safe and happy in with a nice bed and a nice breakfast but I see no need to go crazy and spend $100’s per night on a fancy room. We will discuss incentives later.

Please don’t think I’m advocating being boring. I never go without, I just don’t go crazy. Try and eat healthy and if the food is going to cost a small fortune, shop around. I try to find a balance between nice food I want to eat and prices that I would normally pay. Treat yourself if you wish, but remember nutrition and that there is no need to spew money for the sake of it. Have fun though, poker tournaments and festivals are supposed to be a treat.

Cash Games. Yes or No?

Some of the juiciest cash games you will find are from side action at poker tournaments. Players take the opportunity to get away from the online poker tables and engage in face-to-face battle. They want action and being in the mood for poker they do not let a small thing like busting out of the large tournament stop them getting action! There is plenty of money to be made and lost in these games so before you get dragged into late night sessions remember that the rules of good bankroll management still apply. How many buy-ins are you willing to commit to these games?

Plan ahead and ensure you have factored cash games into your plans. Think about your sleep schedule as turning up to a large poker tournament with an hours sleep (or less!) is not the best way to execute a tournament you have paid money to travel to and allocated bankroll funds to participate in. Have a plan and stick to it and there is a chance these games prove fruitful to you.

Have plans for your winnings!

I have hinted at incentives all through this article and this is what I mean. If you win money either at the cash or tournament table, reward yourself! Upgrade your travel to first class, upgrade your hotel room and enjoy the feeling of a job well done. Of course aim to take as much money home as possible to add to your bankroll but I think it’s appropriate to give yourself a small reward. It adds to the memories and gives you a tangible benefit from winning. It also incentivises you to do well and see the winnings as real money rather than just a number.

Find a balance and have fun. And win if you can. That certainly helps!

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Malcolm comes from Consett in the North East of England and is an avid poker player and writer.Read more


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