Short-Handed (5max & 6max) Bankroll Management – Moving Up Stakes

Bankroll management is one of the most important aspects of playing poker professionally. Most players, good and bad, tend to fail in this department. If you have that “gambling” instinct – you’re going to be battling yourself through-out your poker career.

Tons of people have written their own guides – most guides preach the same thing and have slight variances in the numbers. My guide is specifically designed around moving up quickly & efficiently. Also important to note this is based on playing short-handed cash games (5max and 6max) – cannot give any tips on other forms at this point.

General Guideline:

  • You should always play a range of 3 stake levels.
  • The lowest stake you should be crushing – and have at least 80 buy-ins at this level
  • Your mid-stake you should be able to beat for a small win rate (1.5 – 3 bb / 100). You should have 40 buy-ins or more for this stake.
  • Your high-stake should be your bigger challenge and where you’ll seek to improve and learn. You should have 20 buy-ins or more for this stake.


  • For the most part – you should play most of your hands at your mid-stake
  • When your confidence is up, you’re running good at your mid-stake – that is the time to take your stab at the higher stake.
  • When you are getting owned at your mid or high stake, you should drop down to your lowest stake to boost your confidence.
  • If you run really well when you take your high-stake stab, you should lean towards playing more hands at that stake until it becomes your new “mid-stake”.
  • If you’re playing at your high stake and your bankroll drops below 20 buy-ins there, leave right away and drop down stakes. Each time you lose a stack, you’re losing twice as much as you’re used to – this throws many players on tilt. Tilt is not good.

General Rules of Thumb:

  • NEVER move up stakes to chase losses. You will almost always lose your whole roll when you do this
  • AVOID playing at stakes so low that the money is meaningless to you. Only excuse here is if you’re playing with friends / playing for fun – in which case you’ll almost always want to play with money that is meaningless.
  • OBVIOUSLY do not play with money you cannot afford to lose.

A Word about RakeBack & Bonus Plans

  • If you had a 35% rakeback deal- and you played roughly 50,000 hands per month – you would get roughly 30 buy-ins at the end of the month. This makes moving up stakes much faster, easier, and less stressful.
  • For example, if you play $100NL and played 50,000 hands in the month – you would get roughly $3,000 in rakeback at the end of the month.
  • If you’re a serious, full-time, multi-table grinder at $100NL – and played 150,000 hands per month, you’d be making roughly $9,000 per month in rakeback alone! (tax free… that’s more than 95% of the rest of the population makes…)

So that’s my guide – use it as you will. I would classify my guide more in the “conservative” category, but if you don’t want to lose your bankroll – use my guide and you won’t!

Source by Fubu Sama

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