Always Back Yourself

Yesterday I received a message from a member of MTT Poker Academy asking for some advice. He has some extra disposable income and wanted to know whether it was a good idea to top up his bankroll. But he was also fighting the idea of wanting to grow a bankroll in the right way and not cheat his way to the next level.


The majority of the members in MTT Poker Academy are part-time players with full-time jobs outside poker. This means that generally they have some funds to do with as they please.


Poker isn't their only source of income.


This then brings about the question - does a part-time poker player with a full-time job have a bankroll or a budget?


In my opinion, it depends on your goals.


If you want to see signs of progress by moving up through the ranks, then you should set aside a bankroll and work on growing it. You'll learn discipline and effective bankroll management that will help later.


If your goal is to test yourself at the upper end of your risk tolerance, then you should budget for the tournaments you want to play instead.


At some point though, bankroll management will become very important. Once you have a roll worth protecting, then you need to be good at protecting it. It's more challenging to learn effective bankroll management later down the line.


So I'd recommend going for the bankroll approach and looking to grow it.


But if you want to play higher stakes before your roll allows, then you have a few options, two of which I'll talk about now:


Sell action to a backer or sell action to yourself.


Today I don't understand why you would want to sell action to someone else. If you sell 50% to a $109 then why not keep 100% of yourself and play a $55?


What's the difference?


Is your ego making you want to 'compete with the big boys' at higher stakes?


When it comes to series events I can understand selling action to reduce variance. These are huge field MTTs where anything can happen. Most of the time you'll lose, but sometimes you'll cash and occasionally you'll win. Or have a deep enough run that you can call it a win or 'bink'.


I've never set the world on fire during series like SCOOP and WCOOP. It was a few years before I even made a Day 2. In April of this year, though, I was fortunate enough to win a $109 SCOOP for around $41k!


Imagine, for a moment, if I'd sold 50% of that and had to send $20k to an investor?


If I wasn't rolled for a $109, then I wouldn't have played it.


A few years ago I did feel differently, though...


In the summer of 2018 I sold 50% of all my action (about $10k worth of buy-ins) when I fired some bracelet events at the WSOP. I also played some MTTs at other venues, including the $350 6-max at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.


I finished 2nd for $16,750!


I definitely could have fired the $350 on my own dime, but the $1,500 Monster Stack, for example, was a little outside my roll. So I chose to put together a package that grouped all the tournaments together.


I cashed for about $20k that summer - and then had to send $10k to investors.


When it comes to live poker, it can make sense to sell since the buy-ins are generally a lot higher. If you have a $100k roll, you can play up to $500 MTTs (if you like the 200x rule). While there are some of those available during the WSOP, most of the buy-ins are $1k+.


If your roll is $2k then you're going to budget for the WSOP and not practise good bankroll management.

Back to the bankroll vs budget thing, right?


And that's fine by the way. Who's going to wait until they have $2m in the bank to play the main event?


I can't remember what year it was, but I sold 50% to the Sunday Million to a friend and had my best ever run. I was 9th of 72 when PokerStars suffered a DDOS attack and they cancelled the tournament! They did some kind of ICM chop, roll it forward king of thing and I got around $10k - and had to send $5k of that to my friend.


You don't ever realise what kind of effect selling action will have on you until you bink something. If you don't have a bink then it doesn't matter, does it? You shared the buy-ins and the risk with your investor(s).


Without their investment, though, you wouldn't have had the opportunity to play the tournament. Or play it with enough confidence knowing that you were only risking 50% of the buy-in.


But there is another way...


You can always sell action... to yourself.

If you're a part-time poker player with a full-time job , then this makes the most sense.


Invest in yourself instead.


Let's say you have a $5k bankroll and choose to play up to $25 MTTs (RIP the Triceratops!). If SCOOP comes round and you want to play $109s then you could sell action to those bigger buy-ins to yourself. $25 comes from your bankroll and $84 comes from your bank account... and now you have ~77% of your action.


But actually you have 100%.


You invested in yourself and gave yourself the opportunity to play higher. You then get to choose what to do with that extra money if you have a bink. Do you send 77% back to your bank account? Or do you use it to pad your roll?


If there's a mindset issue of not wanting to let investors down, then you avoid that by backing yourself. And you should always back yourself.


Back yourself to do well.


And back yourself financially if you want to play higher.


What do you think? Let me know in the comments.


Good luck out there.


Speak soon, Gareth.

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