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The Dangers of Playing over your Bankroll Limit

Speak to any professional poker player and they will tell you that one of the worst things you can do when playing poker at any level is to play over bankroll limit. You may not notice it because of the stakes they are playing for, but every professional alters their stakes depending on how well they are doing at the time. Here, we will explore the dangers of playing over your bankroll.

Poker is a game of variance

Even the very best players in the world go through terrible downswings. When this happens, they have to be sure that they can bounce back from these swings. Poker is a game of skill, but with luck as an element, so even if a professional player continues to play at the same standard from day to day they will win some tournaments and lose others. If you have the right bankroll in place, then you will be able to recover from even the biggest downswing if you continue to play your normal winning game (assuming it was a winning game beforehand.)

An example of one of the biggest names having to drop their limits was Tom Durrrr Dwan, who was playing high level cash game on Full Tilt before Black Friday. He went through a terrible downswing after challenging a player to some huge cash games and losing so he had to drop his stakes, but after stringing together a good series of results he quickly moved back up to his ‘normal’ level. This is proof that it even happens to the very best players in the world, and this happens all the time as well.

The dangers of playing over your limit

If you are losing a lot of money, there is a temptation to try to play above your bankroll to recover some of your losses, but this is a huge mistake. If you are on a downswing, the chances are, even if you think you’re not, you are playing slightly more aggressively than normal, so moving up is the worst idea you can have. The chances are as you are playing poorly you will just get picked off, and do even more damage to your stack. Yes, sometimes you may get lucky, but all you need is to lose at a higher stake on one occasion, and that could be the difference between you continuing to play poker for a living and having to get a job again.

The bankroll limits are tried and tested to stop downswings and still capitalise on the good times. Remember, if you are a losing player, exercising the right bankroll limit is not going to make you into a winning player, but if you are a good player, then it will really help. In fact, it helps so much that every single professional you see on the television and any player you play against that wants to be serious has a strict bankroll management that they follow to the letter every day.

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