up the levels.
Nick Nicolaou. March 2007.
Don't be in a hurry to move up the
Although your ultimate goal is to
increase your bankroll and move up the ranks you need
to be careful of moving up too quickly before you
are ready for the next level. Many players run well
when they first start off and believe that having
a sufficient bankroll is enough to move up to the
next level. They could not be more wrong!
There are many factors that should
be involved in this decision and although bankroll
size is one of them, it is not the only one. The higher
you move up, the tougher the competition becomes.
The tougher the competition becomes, the lower your
edge becomes. The lower your edge becomes, the more
variance you will be subjected to. The more variance
you need to deal with, the more stress and frustration
you will face. The more stress and frustration you
face, the more inclined you are to tilt. The more
you tilt, the more likely you will go broke.
It follows that because of this you
require more buy-ins for a $5/10 bankroll then you
would need for a $1/2 bankroll. So just because you
felt comfortable playing $1/2 with a $4000 roll does
not mean that playing $2/4 with an $8000 roll is good
bankroll management. I would suggest increasing the
amount of buy-ins you have in your roll for each level
above $1/2 by at least 5 and preferably 10.
You should feel comfortable when playing
in any game and it is hard to do that if you are feeling
the pressure it is putting onto your bankroll. To
feel comfortable moving up in limits you should be
a proven winner at the limit below it. For many players
being a proven winner means winning a few buy ins
over the course of a few thousand hands and I would
hope that you all realize that this in fact is not
the case. I would suggest logging at least 50,000
hands at a given level before you should feel confident
that you can beat it. The higher the level the more
hands would be required before you can determine whether
you are a winner or not. Most
player's don't bother taking the time to do this,
because they feel they are 'too good' to be playing
so low for so long and it is this train of thought
that leads to people going broke.
I recommend doing research on a particular
level when considering whether or not to play at it.
With the technology available online these days a
player can uncover exactly how a particular game plays
and can therefore determine whether or not they can
adjust their own play to beat it. I am referring to
data-mining games when you are not playing in them
and using this data with Poker Tracker to prepare
yourself for the new level. Looking at the biggest
winners in the games and how they play is always helpful
in understanding what it takes to beat a certain level
and will also give you valuable information on how
to beat the regulars in the game. By doing this before
you actually play in the game you will arm yourself
with the tools required to compete against players
who are most likely much better than any competition
you have faced before and this will give you an edge...
as you will know something about them but they will
know nothing about you.
Once you feel comfortable that you
are well armed and you have made the adjustments needed
for the new limit, you should try and ease your way
into it instead of diving right in. Decreasing the
number of tables and shortening the length of your
sessions to increase your focus is definitely something
that would be helpful in your first few thousand hands
at a new limit. Pay attention and make notes about
anything you see playing out differently to what you
anticipated. Go back and run through each session
you play, working out where you could be playing better.
In some respects playing a new limit
is almost like learning a new game because of the
new dynamics you are being introduced to. Also of
great importance is creating a stop loss, whereby
you stop playing the new limit and move back down
if you lose a certain amount. This will prevent you
losing your whole bankroll in a game that you are
not ready for. By taking these small stabs at the
game you will gain experience in it and will be stronger
next time to try it whilst not risking your whole
It also helps develop your discipline
as a poker player if you can set these rules for yourself
and stick to them. There is a learning curve that
we must all face and it takes time to adjust to new
players and styles, so taking your time will help
you beat the game sooner. Although that may sound
weird it is very accurate. It is much faster to take
your time do things right the first time rather than
going broke over and over again and having to work
your way all the way back up.
By considering the above and putting
it into practice you are taking active steps to move
up the limits in an efficient and profitable way.
Believe it or not but that alone puts you ahead of
the majority of players who, to be honest, have no
idea about what it takes to build a bankroll and keep
it while moving up the limits. You must always have
a plan. Set your goals and then formulate a plan to
achieve them. Execute this plan and have contingency
plans in place for when unexpected events present
Being a successful poker player has
a lot to do with knowing yourself and it is true for
many players that no-one else can beat them except
for themselves. Don't be one of those people who have
a head full of dreams and nothing else. Poker, like
anything else in life, takes hard work and a lot of
discipline. Start doing the right things early and
you will find that it will make things easier for
you later on.
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