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Sports & Gaming

Bankroll Management

Daniel Negreanu

Lesson time 11:18 min

Learn the importance of good bankroll management, how to pick the right stakes, prepare for losing streaks, and keep yourself in the game for the long run.

Daniel Negreanu
Teaches Poker
Join Daniel at the poker table. Learn his strategies to advance your cash, tournament, and online play.


So whatever your bankroll is, like your life bankroll of how much money you actually have, that's not your poker bankroll, right? Because you know, you can't lose all that playing poker and then still pay your bills. So it's important, I think, and it's something that I certainly did early on was to track how much money I need for my monthly nut, what my expenses look like. And one of the ways that I found to increase my bankroll was to lower my expenses and you know, spend less money. Because with poker, you know, there's only so much you can make at specific games. There's only so many hours in a day that you can play. So one of the best ways to do that is, again, to monitor your expenses and lower them. But always also you have to prepare for like potentially like months or two months, three month periods where you make no money at all. You know, you're going to go through periods where when you're an 80% favorite, the 20% is going to come in. Well, it's supposed to come in 20% of the time, right? But over a short span of time, it could happen three times in a row, four times in a row. That's variance in a nutshell. And if you can't fade that, your trajectory as a professional poker player is likely not going to work out. Because everyone goes through bad runs. You're not the first person that lost with pocket aces three times in a row. Happens to all of us. It affects your confidence. Obviously, affects your bankroll. But most importantly, I mean, it can affect your life if you're not prepared for it. So I remember growing up, you know, I'd go to the Mirage, I'd go to Bellagio and I always wanted to play in these big, juicy games where they were playing for hundreds of thousands of dollars. There was one problem-- I didn't have hundreds of thousands of dollars. So despite the fact that I looked at the players and I thought, you know what, my game is good enough to beat these guys, well I have $30,000 to my name, OK. And the limits they were playing were $1,500/$3,000. So that gave me 10 bets, 10 blinds, right. Now it's a pretty dumb decision to sit down, no matter how good you are, in a game like that. Because that's just poor bankroll management. Now don't try this at home. I did do this when I was very young and this is a lesson I learned that I hope that you guys won't have to learn yourself. But it's very, very important to understand the math behind the game in that no matter how good you are, there will be deviation in terms of luck, which plays a significant role. And if you don't have enough resources to fade those streaks of good and bad luck, no matter how good you are, you will go broke. So when I sat down in that game with $30,000, despite me even thinking I was the best player in the game, the chances of me going broke if I continue to play, probably 95%. Because at some point I'm going to go on a little streak where things don't turn out. So it's very important when you choose a limit for what you want...

About the Instructor

Put yourself across the felt from Daniel Negreanu, the biggest live tournament poker winner of all time. The six-time World Series of Poker champion teaches poker strategy, advanced theory, and practice through hand-reviews of his winning games. Learn how to sharpen your mental game through demos on reading opponents and spotting tells. Join Daniel at the table to increase your win rate, grow your ROI, and get your game “in the money.”


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I have learned a lot of information that I have not even considered before. It will take time to achieve my overall goal but this master class helped tremendously.

Excellent classes and great value for players at all levels.

This was a very educational and informative class. Very well presented and has really helped improve my game and mindset. Daniel does a great job of teaching and explaining the fundamentals and some of the more high end moves.

Absolutely loved this class. Very "gripping" and live examples were great


Phillip K.

So... I need a $6,000 bank roll to start playing 1-3 NL on a regular basis, but am I bringing all of that, or do I need all of that, on one specific outing? Put in the hours whatever it costs? And how far down would one need to drop before one would say I need to stop and regroup? Re-evaluate. Is there a specific win ratio where I would say, before I took this class of course, I am not good enough?

Emilio M.

Ok, my bankroll should be at least 20 buy-ins for cash game,but what about tournaments? I guess it's higher, but how much?


Regarding Rule of 20- I like 1,2 no limit hold 'em cash game. So what should my poker bankroll be in 1,2 no lim? it is not 20*2=$40, right? PLease advise.

Zachary Z.

I play cash games (.25/.5 stakes) with friends, and it's a good thing I managed my bankroll well. I've been on a three week downswing where I literally could not win anything, zeroing out each time. Aces were always getting folded around to me, I was on the wrong end of several coolers, my bluffs were all getting called, etc. That finally ended tonight. Thanks Daniel for all the lessons. They really came in handy, especially this one. Variance can suck so much; you have to be prepared for it.

Eldwin R.

what about cash games? how much should you start with for example if the Big blind is 5$? x 40 so like 200$ start with only 20 big blinds or so?

James M.

The best resource I've come across for bankroll management:

A fellow student

This sounds like good advice...if you’re coming up in the 90’s/Rounders era. There was a gold rush like 2003-14 but it’s long gone. PokerStars and the other big sites and casinos with high rake are offering games as entertainment, not an investment opportunity. Almost no one is a winning player. More and more winning accounts are bots. Almost no one watching these videos will ever become a winning online cash game player beyond 5 cent/10 cent. The big businesses in the industry collect the rec players’ money and a tiny number of pros fight over a few leftover crumbs. I love poker but IMHO you should treat it as a hobby, not a business. Arrange home games with your friends where you can play what you want for the stakes you want in a fun atmosphere. Of course if you decide to sacrifice everything else a real career has to offer and become a “poker pro” in 2018, then DN’s advice is totally valid.

A fellow student

Some interesting stuff Danny said here if you are crunching numbers while you listen. At one point he says that back in the day he played 10/20 limit as his main game. At another point he said he was on a bankroll of $30,000. It sounds like that is about the same time--his early days, early nineties. If so we can make some findings: a) Assuming a buy in of 20 big bets ($400 for 10/20), that means he was playing on 75 buyins. b) He was making $45 an hour, which is two big bets per hour. Many people back in the day claimed they could make 2 big bets an hour. But I think actually only a few could do so.

Jessica E.

Is $1000 enough for $1/3 with a $50 buy in? I know that a $50 buy-in forces the action a bit in the early game, how does that contribute to variance?

Jay P.

What is a customary amount to tip after taking down a tournament? or just cashing in a tournament?