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Poker Bankroll Building Strategy - Cash Games or Tournaments?
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Poker Bankroll Building Strategy - Cash Games or Tournaments?
By Marty Smith

Are you in the bankroll building stage of your online poker career? If you don't even know the answer to that, then you need a lot of luck if you are going to avoid a reload. However, if you do know that you are in a building and learning stage where you want your $50 or $100 to last as long as it can while you are learning the game then you may have a critical decision to make. That is, should you be playing in the NL cash games or sit and go and multi-table tournaments?

If you follow Chris Ferguson's exploits at Full Tilt Poker, while building his bankroll he mainly sticks to the tournament circuit keeping his buys in check, and playing straight-up solid poker. (Yes, the same Chris Ferguson who won the 2000 WSOP!) In fact, on his quest to go from $0 to $10,000 at Full Tilt in a bankroll management challenge, he made his first big leap in a $1 Multi-table tournament where he finished 2nd of 683 entries and earned a whopping $104.

Now this is a guy you can take advice from.

However, we should look at those action-packed No-Limit cash games as well, because a bankroll can grow rather quickly with just a few good hands, not the months it took Chris Ferguson to get out of the penny ranks. Even with limits at .25 and .50 you should probably not sit down at these tables with less than $20, so if you're starting bankroll is only $50 or $100, well you have made your first bankroll mistake already.

The lure of these tables are really based on quick, almost exponential growth of your bankroll where a turn of a card can send your draw into poker lore, while 3 other players in the pot watch in amazement as you suck out on each of them.

That kind of hand happens more than you think, but with you on the losing end facing a reload and/or re-buy to exact your full revenge and let your opponents know how resilient you are. Hey listen, you may actually get out of those tables with a profit, even with your limited experience, but it would have surely been based on luck and happenstance that you did. If you do profit, that is actually the beginning of a problem, not a successful bankroll, because you did it in a way that couldn't have possibly built your skills at the game or money management.

That is what building a bankroll is all about: Getting in your playing time, learning from other players, adopting and perfecting strategies, and seeing real hand to hand combat. The best way to do that is in tournament where you can limit your losses to your entry fee and stretch out your playing dollar to the maximum benefit for learning. Take it from Chris Ferguson. If you do that, and still have to reload, there isn't anything wrong. That's when you know you can try again and again by doing it right and skill building along the way.

Marty Smith has a poker tournament strategy video series that is free just for signing up. He also has video reviews of all the online poker calculators so you can see them being used before you decide which one is right for you.

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