Your bankroll is the most important part of your poker existence. Without a bankroll, there is simply no poker! As obvious as this may sound, it is amazing how many people mistreat, neglect, and abuse their bankrolls. The guidelines for keeping a bankroll are rather simple.
The generally accepted rule is a little short, but it recommends you have a minimum of 20 buyins for the level you play. This means if you play 25NL, you need to have a bankroll of at least $500. And to play 50NL, you need at least $1,000. In all actuality, 20 buyins is a little short.
30 buyins should be your normal, everyday playing bankroll. It’s ok to take shots when you reach 20 buyins for the next level but make sure you move back down if you lose a buyin. 20 buyins is just not enough for short-handed no limit.
If you are just beginning, these numbers may sound rather large, but in all actuality it won’t take you very long to work your way up if you are using solid strategy. In the end, having a proper bankroll will make your patience worth it.
If you have mastered your current level enough to have built up a bankroll for the next level, your transition will be much smoother than it would be for some guy who tries jumping up and putting half his bankroll into play.
The other thing to remember is that constant or random small cashouts are hell on your bankroll. It might not hurt your bankroll at the level you play, but it will stop you dead from moving up. Look up your transaction histories in whichever site you play at and groan.
The small amounts themselves may or may not add up to a significant amount of money, but they represent huge opportunity costs. That money could have helped you move up to higher stakes and earn even more money.
This isn’t to say never make a cashout. Sometimes it is good to make a cashout and buy yourself something nice in order to keep in mind the fact that you actually are earning real money. Just don’t go too far with it and hurt your bankroll. Those cashouts can really add up.