How to build bankroll to play live

Lord_TruffingtonLord_Truffington Red Chipper Posts: 16 ✭✭
Hello forum,

I'm a very new player (~5 months) and so far i've played only online. Last night I decided to try my hand at live poker and went to a casino. I had some good hands and was up half buy-in but then lost it all in a hand where I made every possible mistake (I got too excited about my cards and everything I've studied and practiced online went out of the window...)

My question is this: given stakes in live poker are significantly higher than online and you need a bankroll that is probably 50-100x higher than online, how do you build it? I play 5NL cash online, and tourney with buy-ins in the $3-7 range, and i'm bankrolled for that, but then in a night playing live I blew through $250 (which is equivalent to 50 "online" buy-ins). I know there is a whole different world to learn when playing live poker (different players behaviours, their tells, my tells, how to read opponents, etc.) and like everything it requires time, which in poker translates to money and bankroll. Should I keep grinding online until my bankroll is large enough to withstand those buy-in swings, or should i set aside a separate "live poker" bankroll and go with that? As a player, how do you reconcile the different requriements between online and live?

I hope my question makes sense and thanks for your help!


  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Las VegasPosts: 5,440 -
    We get this question relatively frequently in different guises. It's difficult to answer because the biggest factor is the financial situation of the poster.

    Recognize that 90% of live poker players lose. Then recognize that, as someone relatively new to the game, you're in that 90%.

    So the question isn't really about how to build this mythical poker bankroll. It's about how much you're prepared to pay for your practical education. You can get such an education far cheaper online, to the point you may become a winning player. With poker now producing a net gain rather than a net loss, you can start thinking in terms of building a poker bankroll.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • RedRed Red Chipper Posts: 2,530 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2020
    Should I keep grinding online [5NL] until my bankroll is large enough to withstand those buy-in swings, or should i set aside a separate "live poker" bankroll and go with that?
    First of all you have to know how much you need :

    To play 1/2$ live, you should budget smth like 3 full buy-in or 600-900$ per session. If you come with a smaller amount, you risk to lose it to variance and have to go home too early.

    Considering that, how big need your bankroll to be depends on how often you want to play and your skill level (so how much you lose or win in average). All together, I'd advise you a 5'000$ small stakes (1/2, 1/3) live poker bankroll ; which you can replenish with your main income if it runs dry-ish.

    Yeah, live poker isn't cheap 🤓 (And we are talking only small stakes here)

    So if you want to grind a bankroll for live small stakes (the advised 5k) by playing 5NL, you're going to need a life time :0)
    You would need to play higher online stakes, which also comes with its own challenge (more difficult games).

    Or... you can just save through your main income and/or by cutting other expenses - which is my actual way.
  • Lord_TruffingtonLord_Truffington Red Chipper Posts: 16 ✭✭
    Thank you both very much for the answers!! It is very clear, and not too dissimilar from what i was thinking. The "education" Kat talks about is indeed a lot more expensive in live poker than it is online but at some point it is something of a necessary step. Also, I can ansolutely see that building a bankroll for live games while playing online at micro stakes is not the best way to go (as either it takes forever or it's really difficult if playing at higher stakes...).
    I guess for now i'll stick to online, continue to study off the felt as much as possible, hone my skills and then when i see a consistent strong win rate I'll start dipping my toes live with an "externally" funded bankroll...

    Thank you!!

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