Backwards Roll

Backwards Roll

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Dear Dr Tom,

What sort of bankroll would you recommend for live cash games and low stakes tournaments? I have a couple of hundred quid kicking about and thought about spinning it up at £30 freezeouts and low stakes cash games. If you were to take £300 to the poker tables with a view to making a lot of money, how would you go about it?

Naheem, Hemel Hempsted

Dear Naheem,

You’re seriously under-rolled and are officially “taking a shot at the higher levels” right now. For cash games, 20 buy-ins (i.e. 2,000 big blinds) is a useable roll if you’re a reasonably sedate, tilt-free player, but I’m guessing your local casino doesn't spread 5p-10p games. As for playing the £30 tourneys, it comes down to which happens first – a big cash in the top spots or a dry spell of no cashes at all. The latter is more likely.

Anyway, you probably knew you were under-rolled and your question was not what you need but what you should do with the sum in question. First, don’t bother sitting down in the cash games with 40BB or whatnot where you’ll be forced to commit with so-so hands and are likely to end up at a showdown with three or more opponents who’ve checked it down to each other. The value in small stakes live cash games lies in getting the last big bets in, heads up, against the table mug. This is a low variance, high expectation waiting game. You need it to be low variance since you probably only have two buy-ins.

Personally, I’d play tourneys with that roll. Playing cash games with scared money is stressful and unprofitable; trading your cash in for tournament poker chips forces you into the right mindset of chip accumulation.

Tags: Tom Sambrook, Strategy, bankroll management