Bankroll Management feat. dawhiteninja


A few weeks ago, while Tricia was still in Vegas, I got together with dawhiteninja to record a special podcast episode on Bankroll Management. Unfortunately, we had some audio problems so it never made it to air, but there were some real nuggets in the recording so I transcribed the episode instead.

Gareth: How you doing dawhiteninja?

Dawhiteninja: Hi Gaz. I’m really good thank you.

G: So what have you been up to recently? Have you been grinding hard? What’s been going on?

D: Yeah. I actually recently started a new job. I play poker about four times a week in the evenings in between having two kids, a wife and a career. The new job has some travel involved and I’m currently in a hotel room three nights a week so I’ve actually been getting to play a fair bit of poker undisturbed recently so yeah I’ve been hitting the online felt pretty hard.

G: Have you had any recent success that you want to share with our listeners?

D: I mean, it’s all relative yeah. I haven’t had a losing month (#sickbrag) in about six months…

G: [laughs]

D: …but I haven’t started off this month brilliantly so we’ll see how it develops.


D: But not like you, I know that you chopped the Mini Mill? No, I haven’t had many successes as big as that recently. I chopped the Big 11 earlier this year, for my third time in my career, but that was about three months ago now.

G: OK, so you’ve chopped the Big 11 three times while at the same time as managing a wife, two kids and a career… how does that work?

D: It’s challenging. But the topic we’re going to talk about today, bankroll management, has a lot to do with it. I’ve been playing seriously for three years or so now. I had a very lucky week about three years ago that gave me a bankroll to be able to play a lot more. I’d been working on my game for about a year up to the point as well.

G: Sounds good. I mean I take my hat off to you for being able to manage the full-time career and the family and then the poker on the side. Tricia and I actually talked on the podcast a few weeks ago about how to manage relationships. We won’t get in to that today because we’ve got another topic to talk about, but I just think it’s fascinating. I actually mentioned you on that episode and how you were able to manage things – you have a date night once or twice a week where you make sure you spend that time with your wife, right?

D: Erm… just once a week yeah, let’s not get carried away.

G: [laughs]

D: I hope she’s not listening, but it certainly wouldn’t be moving to two. Once is plenty.

G: Right ok, so I suppose she appreciates that one day that she gets her husband to herself?

D: [laughs]

G: Ok then, I guess we should talk about today’s topic then, which you’ve already hinted at… bankroll management. I think it’s a really important thing to talk about. I’ve had a few questions in about this topic, generally along the lines of, “What should we be thinking about when it comes to bankroll management?” Is there still this idea that we should have 200x the buy-in or 100x the buy-in, which some people were asking as well. And what should we be thinking about? Is it bigger than just how many buy-ins we have? Or the average buy-in? Or is there a little bit more to it than that? What are your thoughts?

D: Well I think bankroll management (BRM) is fundamentally the number one thing that poker players, whether professionally or recreationally, need to be focused on. I think it effectively turns a game of gambling into a game of not gambling. There are a couple of underlying variables, as I say, that turns you from effectively gambling to a guaranteed or very likely success and profit. And that’s what I think is fundamentally brilliant about the game. Sure, it is gambling, and some people will see it like that and if they want to see it as a form of entertainment then that’s great for the people who are practising good BRM. Because they’re effectively giving their money away as far as I’m concerned. So yeah it’s absolutely crucial and a good part of BRM is really game selection.

G: Absolutely. OK, so as we move on I just wanted to talk about a few things you highlighted there about whether they’re practising good BRM or seeing it as a form of entertainment. Would you say that there might be players out there who like to put on $100 a week and play whatever tournaments they fancy? From my point of view, I think that’s an absolutely fine thing to do. You know, if you can replenish your bankroll because you’ve got another job then there’s absolutely no reason to keep a separate poker bankroll. That’s my opinion, you might think slightly differently. But if you’re playing professionally or even semi-professionally then you don’t want to keep replenishing your bankroll, you know your poker bankroll wants to be exactly that. You don’t want to have to add to it or dip into it and you want to keep your poker expenses separate from your life expenses then you need to be stricter with it and have some rules in space. Is that something you agree with or what are your thoughts on that?

D: Right yeah, I slightly disagree, mainly on the entertainment side of things. I haven’t met a player yet, whether it’s for entertainment or not, who plays to lose. I just think you’re setting yourself up for failure if you have the attitude of, “it doesn’t matter, I can reload at the end of the month with my paycheck.”

G: Yeah

D: And the reason why it sets you up for failure is I think it’s going to be really hard, I’m not saying it will be impossible, but it will be really hard to end up getting a bankroll like that and getting good at the game without getting frustrated and effectively leaving the game.

G: So what about that player then that just chases the big scores so they’re happy to just put money on at the weekend and play the majors and chase that big score, what do you think about that?

D: I think it’s gambling. I don’t think they’re looking for any long-term success. I think it’s going to be very hard for them to have any kind of long-term success. I’m not saying it’s impossible, of course you’re going to get a few players who get the lucky bink and that’s what they’re looking for, but very, very rarely does that happen these days.

G: So I guess when we set out to learn poker, we really need to learn how to manage money as well. I think it’s something that perhaps we need to do in life