How to Build a Bankroll Quickly

Most poker strategy revolves around tactics, how and when to use them. How to continuation bet, balance your range, shove blind vs. blind and reshove to build a stack in tournaments.

All great tactics, and tactics that all players should eventually become familiar with.

However, something I noticed was a lack of information for tactics away from the felt. For example, how to build your bankroll.

Sure, there are bankroll articles out there. But I’ve found that the majority of them tell you how to manage it. How many buy-ins do you need for tournaments, how much money before you move up from 50nl to 100nl, and how much money you need to ride the swings that poker is known for. Things like that.

But little is said about actually building your bankroll. So I thought that I would share some tips for how to do that. Some tips are risky, others less so, but all of them will put more money in your pocket as fast as possible.

10 Tips for Building Your Bankroll (Quickly)

1. Play more tables.

One of the quickest ways to increase your bankroll is to add more tables to your sessions. However, this assumes that you’re already a profitable player. Otherwise you’re just going to burn through your bankroll faster – the exact opposite of what you want to do.

The key is to find a balance. Meaning, you want to find your point of diminishing returns. At what point does your hourly rate peak, and at what point (the number of tables) does your hourly start to drop? Find that, subtract 1-3 tables, and that will be your sweet spot.

2. Drop down in stakes (and play more tables).

Another method to building your bankroll quickly is to drop down in stakes. For a lot of guys their current stakes are challenging. You have more regs, awkward spots and learning curves to deal with.

However, if you drop down in stakes you can play with more fish, bad regs and with a more robotic style. This will allow you to add more tables, too. You’ll find that your bankroll increases, while your swings and stress levels drop.

3. Find a backer.

A backer can be a great way to get a (large) bankroll fast. It’s even better if they play themselves, and are up for coaching.

The thing about backing that you need to understand is that you’re only going to keep a percentage of your winnings. And if you lose money you’ll almost always be expected to pay it back.

However, if you’re a decent enough players and can prove it, you can find a deal where you receive 60-80 percent of your profit. This is great because you’ll be playing on someone else’s dime for 3-12 months (or so many dollars/games), allowing you to save all of your profits to use to dime your own games once you’re done with your deal.

4. Sell pieces of yourself.

If you don’t want to do a staking deal an alternative is to sell pieces of yourself. The upside to this is that there is less risk than banking your own games, plus you’re not locked into an agreement. Sometimes you can sell pieces of yourself with owing makeup, too, which means you don’t have to pay people back when you lose.

On the other hand, selling pieces of yourself (versus staking) often comes with smaller cuts to offset the investors’ short term risks.

5. Coach other players.

If you’re a good enough player you can coach others for a fee. This can be hourly, per session or hand history, or you can do group coaching with lower rates per person, that will lead to higher hourly rates.

In doing so you’ll add to your bankroll, which can also offset any variance you experience.

Coaching can lead to other opportunities, too, like being asked to coach for training sites, creating your own products and more.

6. Hold off on going pro.

Building your bankroll isn’t all about being on the offense. Sometimes it’s about the defense.

So what can you be defensive about?

Going pro. Instead of rushing to become a pro player, wait. The reason why is because once you become a pro player, you rely on your bankroll for everything – buy-ins, travel, coaching, software, your rent, bills, gas and groceries.

The longer you keep a day job the less you’ll rely on your bankroll, allowing it to grow at a faster rate.

7. Take a shot.

Simple. Jump up into the higher stakes and see if you can handle it. Often times the jump can double or triple your hourly rate / ROI. So set aside so many buy-ins and go for it. If you can play and run good, you might not have to look back.

8. Mix levels / stakes.

A safer, less risky alternative to taking a shot is to mix levels. In other words, instead of jumping from 50nl to 100nl, what you do is play half of your tables at 50nl and the other half at 100nl. That way you can take a shot sooner, play more (higher level) games and scope out the competition. This is the way I suggested my own students move up in levels, and it worked out well.

9. Play fewer tables.

I mentioned earlier that playing more tables can increase your bankroll. However, the opposite is true, too.

Playing fewer tables means that fewer of your actions will be robotic. You’ll actually make plays based on reads, betting tells and the action. There’s more room for creativity, too.

I’ll tell you what – creativity can pay off in poker. For awhile I had one of the largest ROIs in the levels I played because I chose to play 8-10 tables versus 20-30 like some of my competitors. I was able to find larger edges, versus having to play like a robot and take all the small ones – which, of course, only led to more variance and a longer time frame for me to build my roll.

10. Get better at poker.

Another simple tip. Review your hand histories and see where you can get better. There’s always something you can improve. Do you play from the blinds too much? Pay off bluffs when you shouldn’t? Call just to see what your opponents have? Avoid abusing the bubble in fear of being called?

Don’t worry about how big the leak is. Even plugging the smallest leak can pay large dividends, especially if you consider the number of tables, hands and/or hours you play. It all adds up.