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Grow your bankroll

Those of you who have been around the online poker scene for the last few years, may have noticed a challenge that Chris “Jesus” Ferguson set himself at the beginning of 2007.

The Full Tilt poker professional decided to try to earn $10,000 with no starting bankroll, and although the start may have been a bit slow he achieved his goal just nine months later.

Chris “Jesus” Ferguson

While the money has long since been donated to charity, the quest got many online players talking about how their bankroll could be stretched to maximum value.

Now, very few of us could claim to be up at Ferguson’s standard when it comes to poker but we do have one thing in our favor: the online poker bonus. With various Poker rooms now offering new players hundreds of dollars in bonuses, you don’t have to be Chris Ferguson to build a substantial bankroll from a fairly average starting point.

The key to achieving this though is time and perseverance. Patience is key, especially when you’re just starting out at the lower level tables and any wins you get are quite small in the grand scheme of things.

One of the biggest mistake made by new players is that they try to grow their bankroll too quickly. They move up levels to the bigger games too soon and end up losing a lot of cash on one small mistake or a piece of bad luck.

Make sure you don’t fall into this trap. Find a game where the table can maximise your strengths and therefore help your performance. My own personal suggestion is to avoid paying more than one dollar for a buy-in until your bankroll has grown to at least $50. Only once you have that $50 in the bank, should you think about moving up to the $5 games.

Setting limits and boundaries is a very good idea when trying to achieve something like this. Even when you have moved on from the $1 games, keep an eye on your bank balance. Don’t be tempted to move up again until you have trebled or perhaps even quadrupled your winnings.

By doing this, you minimise the chance of you getting out of your depth too quickly. You need to make sure that your skill and confidence grow along side your bankroll which therefore minimises the risk when you make the step up to a new level.


There will, of course, be times when things don’t run smoothly. You may find yourself losing or not progressing as quickly as you’d like. During periods like this, it’s imperitive to remember your boundaries. If your bankroll shrinks to under $50 then you need to accept that the best way of moving forward will be to take a step back to the $1 tables until your winnings grow again.

Whatever you do, please don’t use money that you can’t afford to lose. With so many poker bonuses on offer, there’s just no excuse for it. Learn to recognise and then manage the risks involved in your poker play. When you hit a run of bad luck, STOP PLAYING. Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to chase lost money by increasing the size of your bets.

On the flip side though, when things are going more you way make sure you set aside some of your winnings so that you have something to fall back on if you need to in the future.

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