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OTB #012: Hybrid approach for part-time poker players looking to shot-take while growing their roll

Updated: Mar 4

The majority of poker players who sign up for my popular Train & Play Like The Pros program and then graduate to my MTT Poker Academy are part-time, recreational players with full-time jobs outside poker.

This means they generally have some extra funds to do with as they please since poker isn't their only source of income.

As a recreational or part-time poker player who has an income outside of poker, there are 3 ways to fund your poker playing:

  1. Bankroll

  2. Budget

  3. Hybrid of both

Today I want to compare bankroll and budget and then explain how to implement a hybrid of both to give you an opportunity to play higher stakes while continuing to grow and protect your roll.

Bankroll vs budget

If you want to see signs of progress by moving up through the stakes, then you should set aside a bankroll and work on growing it.

You'll learn discipline and effective bankroll management that will help later in your poker career.

If, on the other hand, your goal is to test yourself at the upper end of your risk tolerance and you can continuously top up your account, then you could budget for the tournaments you want to play instead.

Some players like to grow a roll.

Others like to set aside money each week or month and use that instead.

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

I recommend growing a bankroll so that you learn how to manage and grow it from the start.

But what if you want to play higher stakes before you roll allows?

Selling action

If you want to play higher thank your bankroll allows, you have a couple of options:

  1. Sell action to a backer or...

  2. Sell action to yourself

Selling actions means you give another person (or group of people) an opportunity to invest in you.

Let's say you want to play $2k worth of tournaments during a series - you can sell a portion of that to others. If you sell 50% then you would take on $1k worth of risk and your investors would take on the other 50%.

This means they would expect 50% of your winnings in return.

Many players do sell action to others to reduce the risk and give themselves an opportunity to play higher.

But if you have the disposable income to invest in yourself, essentially becoming your own backer, then it makes a lot more sense to keep the action 'in-house'.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this newsletter is provided for information purposes only. This is not professional financial advice. Only ever risk what you can afford to lose.

The hybrid approach

Let's say you have a $10k bankroll and choose to play up to $50 MTTs, but would like to play higher during a big series.

WCOOP comes around and you want to play some $109s and you have to decide whether to sell to investors or actually sell action to those bigger buy-in tournaments to yourself.

If you can afford it, I'd always recommend selling to yourself.

$50 would come from your bankroll and $59 would come from your bank account. You have 100% of your action split across the bankroll (46%) and the life roll (54%).

You invested in yourself and also gave yourself the opportunity to play higher, which is important as you progress through the stakes and test yourself against higher quality opposition.

Pro tip: Selling action to a backer for a $109 when you're rolled to play $50s means you're playing in a tougher game for no extra reward since you're essentially still only playing a $50 and only have $50 of your own action.

Let's continue the dream and discover that the stars align and you win a $109 WCOOP for $50k.

You've grown your bankroll by $23,000 (46%) and you get to send $27,000 (54%) back to your bank account.

So a quick question...

Would you rather send $27,000 to investors or to your own bank account?

If you've ever struggled with a mindset issue where you don't want to let investors down, then you can avoid that feeling altogether by backing yourself.

And you should always back yourself.

Back yourself to do well.

And back yourself financially if you want to play higher.

Good luck out there!


Whenever you're ready, here's how I can help you:

The Final Table: Play your best poker when the most is at stake. Detailed analysis of over 100 hand examples at different stages of play. Learn how to make great decisions every time and set yourself up for daily progress.

Poker On The Mind: Listen to my podcast with Dr Tricia Cardner as we discuss peak poker performance and tournament poker strategy.

Train & Play Like The Pros: Join the next cohort of my flagship program that will take you from amateur to training and playing like the pros in the next 8 weeks. There are only 12 spots for each cohort, and when they're gone, they're gone and I close enrolment until the next one.

Purposeful Practice for Poker: Gain a clear theoretical understanding of the science of purposeful practice and how you can apply it to your poker study & training. Includes specific exercises designed to create an infallible plan for poker improvement.


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