If you are one bit serious about poker, the concept of bankroll management is one of the most fundamental concepts that you will need to comprehend and start practicing as soon as possible. While there are occasional success stories of players who made it despite of their total disregard for managing their poker money, there are many, many more about those who have failed. You just don't get to read about them for obvious reasons. While the strict guidelines are not always easy to follow in any field of work, poker is especially hard in this regard because of all the emotions and other factors involved with the game. It is just so easy to get into „make it or break it“ mentality and start taking shots way over your head.
Poker can be really mentally draining game in many aspects, and the fact that your decisions and your short term luck, or the lack thereof, have an immediate financial impact is one of the hardest things to deal with for many people. Swings and variance are the core part of the poker, and we all know it. We've read it so many times, heard it talked about and probably experienced it several times ourselves. But the knowledge itself is not enough to keep you in check. After losing a lot of money or great number of buyins, it is a natural impulse for many to simply go try their luck at higher stakes. After all, we've also read that your luck must change at some point as well, and if it happens at higher stakes, you will recoup your losses much faster. This is an easy trap to fall into. It takes a lot of mental discipline to adhere to your bankroll management even through the harshest of swings and resist the temptation of moving up. Cards have no memory, and while you were running horribly at lower stakes – you might run even worse at higher ones. And it is probably more likely to happen because you might be on tilt or feel very frustrated by this point. If you get to this stage, you may want to step away from the tables for a while, indulge yourself in other activities, anything. The only thing you really don't want to do is to move up and see your bankroll perish.
Good Rules to Follow?
For all my time I've been around, I've read so many rules about the number of buyins you need for specific games that I am not certain that there is a set of rules that will make your bankroll management ideal. And rough patches of variance can take their toll on even the deepest of rolls. The most important thing is, once you figure out what rules you're going to apply, stick to them. Some preach very conservative approach to bankroll management, while others are very aggressive with it. You need to find one you are comfortable with, the one that makes you feel good and relaxed when you sit down to play. Apart from saving you from going busto, these rules are in place to help you always play your best game as well, so, at the end of the day, if you are out of your comfort zone, you will probably know it – it is just important to act upon it before the damage is done.
Some very informative articles about Bankroll Management.