Poker pros need two bankrolls

Jan 18, 2005 6:16 AM

Today I would like to just give a few tips on life and the expense of living and playing poker. Let’s start with this axiom: if you wish to become a professional poker player I recommend that you create two separate bankrolls.

In life and the living of it you must have money to pay for the house you live in, the car you drive, the clothes you wear, the food you eat, entertainment, education, the care of children, plus all the other bills that must be paid. And then you must save enough for your retirement.

Everything in life’s a gamble, they say, but some items are a sure thing. For example, you’ve heard that nothing in life is sure except death and taxes.

I want to add another axiom that’s is so very true. That is that spending automatically adjusts to fit income. The more you make the more you spend.

Another truism is the law of gravity — what goes up must come down.

This law often applies to poker players.

I have seen poker players on the way up and I have seen them on their way down. It is sometimes amazing how the entire character of a poker player changes with his winning and losing, almost like a thermometer going up and down.

Many of the professional poker players live a very emotional life. They like to live on the edge and consequently, many like to play very high.

I remember the advice I gave my grandson Eric a couple of years ago when he turned 21 and Eric wanted me to teach him a little about playing poker.

One of the things that I told him was that he would win or that he would lose and that both could be bad for him.

He would not be happy losing his money, and if he won he might believe it was too easy, so that he would try to win again and then lose all he had won plus all of his own money — and he would not like that.

One of the worst things that can ever happen to a poker player is to win a large tournament and not know how to manage the money.

Let me give you a little bit of good old country advice to those of you who are considering become professional poker players.

First, don’t do it.

Second, keep two bankrolls. If you think being a professional poker player is really what you want to do for a living, establish two bankrolls.

The "left pocket" we will call the poker pocket and "right pocket" we will call the expense of living pocket.

Out of the right pocket, take your ordinary living expenses for the house payment, your car and other necessities. In the left pocket keep your poker playing money.

If you win, its okay to take money out of the poker pocket and put it in the expenses-of-life pocket. Your playing bankroll is one of the tools of your trade, it is what you work with everyday, in every game that you play. So when you win it is okay to take part of that money and put the money over into the other pocket.

But you must never go the other way. You cannot take money out of the expenses of living pocket and use that money to play poker.

If you cannot follow this simple rule, you should not try to be a professional poker player.

Until next time remember to stay lucky.