Growing your bankroll step by step


Back in 2007, Full Tilt poker professional Chris Ferguson set himself the challenge of building a $10k bankroll without any starting capital.

It started slowly, but Ferguson gradually worked his way through various free roll tournaments and up the poker ladder until he succeeded in achieving his goal around nine months after he started.

His winnings were given to charity, but his achievement started a number of discussions in the poker community about whether a regular player might be able to do something similar. The conversation then developed into conversations about how online players can really maximize their bank roll.

A portion of the community believed that Ferguson’s achievement couldn’t be matched by the average player as Ferguson is one of the top players in the world and a full time professional.

However, I think it’s important to mention that most poker players have an advantage over Ferguson: they’re able to make use of one of the many poker bonuses that are now prevalent in online gaming.

With so many rooms now offering players incentives to sign up, you no longer need to be a top professional in order to grow a modest investment into a fairly impressive bankroll.

The key to achieving this is patience. Even Chris Ferguson found the going slow when he started on the bottom rung of the ladder, so you shouldn’t expect things to be any different for you. Low stake games offer relatively small prizes, so it’s very likely you’ll be spending a fair bit of time around those tables.

You have to make sure that you don’t start getting impatient. Don’t be tempted to get ahead of yourself by jumping up to a higher level game before you’re ready. If you begin to get ahead of yourself, then a small mistake or a stroke of bad luck can leave your bank roll decimated and force you to go back to square one.

Instead, make sure you choose your games well when you’re starting out. Take the time to research the tables you’re thinking of playing at. Find a game that suits your style and make sure you don’t end up paying more than $1 for a game until your bankroll has reached the $50 mark. When you’ve reached that benchmark, you can begin to research the $5 tables.

No matter what limit you find yourself getting involved with, make sure that you continue to set these benchmarks. Whether, you’re playing in Freerolls or high stake games, keep an eye on your account balance. Only start to think about moving up a level once your bankroll is three times more than when you started playing at your current level.

By doing this, you’ll ensure that your skill level increases at the same rate as your bank balance. Jumping ahead of yourself can mean that you find yourself playing against players who are a lot more skilled than you are. Once you find yourself out of your depth, you can expect your hard work and effort to be undone in no time at all.

When following a strategy like this one, you need to understand that there will be times when your bankroll goes down as well as up. When you go through these slightly rough times, you really need to make sure you stick to your principals and boundaries more than ever.

If you find your balance has dropped below $50 for example, then you need to reassess your strategy by dropping down to the free roll games until you get past that mark again.

It’s going to be hugely tempting to start adding additional funds to your bankroll. Whatever you do, don’t start playing poker with money that you can’t afford to lose though. There’s just no excuse for it. If Lady Luck ends up leaving your side, close down the software and turn off your computer.

Don’t even think about chasing after the money you’ve lost by pulling your credit card out again.

Things will improve. Even a former WSOP champion went through the bad times to complete his challenge. He had the skill of patience, and that’s what you need to develop as well if you’re going to follow in his footsteps.

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