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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.

How to Play the Final Table of an MTT

So, you have reached the final table of a multi table tournament, and the chances are you are going to be getting a decent amount of money for your troubles. When you entered the tournament several hours ago this is what you were waiting for but what do you do now you are here? In this guide, we will explore some tips to help with playing the final table of a multi table tournament.

It is important that you are clued up on playing the latter stages and the final table of multi table tournaments. This is because getting there does not happen all the time for the majority of players. Therefore, your final table experience will be limited. Playing here is nothing like playing the early to middle stages of the tournament so you should change the way you play.

The difference between finishing 9th and 1st

When players reach the final table, there is often a small break and during this time, many open the payment positions to see their potential returns. This is fair enough because you have earned the right to check. However, the issue comes when people start checking to see the difference between 9th and 8th place. Once you look at the next position up you are sub-consciously giving up any chance of finishing in the top three because by checking the difference you are saying to yourself that you want to be a player who hangs around rather than one that is willing to become the aggressor. There have been occasions when people have folded aces pre-flop on a final table of a MTT because there is a bunch of action pre flop, and they want to stay in. This is the exact opposite of what you want to be doing.

This is the general attitude of many players who hit the final table of an MTT, and if you can spot these players you need to become the one that bullies them.

The pay table for a MTT usually looks something like this:

9th: 1.70%

8th: 2.60%

7th: 3.50%

6th: 4.50%

5th: 5.50%

4th: 7.00%

3rd: 10.50%

2nd: 15.40%

1st: 25.00%

So, say there are 500 players in a $20 MTT the pay would look something like this:


9th: £170

8th: £260

7th: £350

6th: £450

5th: £550

4th: £700

3rd: £1050

2nd: £1540

1st: £2500

If your aim is to take 2.6%, you may as well give up on the 25% from the moment you are dealt the first hand, unless you get very lucky with the hands you are dealt. The best players look at what the payment is for first, and they can spot the ones that are trying to hang on. Let’s face it, while earning £260 would be nice if you can afford a £20 entry fee into a MTT your bankroll should be at least £1500-£2000 anyway so in the grand scheme of things it is not going to make too much difference.

The four steps you need to take into account to become a poker professional

Anybody that wants to play poker for a living has made a conscious decision to try, but how exactly do you know it is the right time and what characteristics do you need to become a professional? Here, we will take a look at these points in more detail.

You need dedication

Playing poker for a living sounds like the dream job to many new budding players. If you have made the decision to go pro, you probably love the game and know that you are good enough to make the right amount of money to live. However, before you make this potential life-changing decision, speak to a seasoned grinder who has been making a living from poker for a few years. They will probably tell you that the game they once enjoyed playing has now become like a job to them. While it may start out as the ideal role, playing poker for a living can quickly become tedious, and as it is not a guaranteed salary is only suitable as a career choice to a select few.


Always look for ways to improve

Even the best players are always looking for different ways to improve their game. The day you start thinking that you know everything will be the day that you start can no longer progress because other players will get better, and you will stay the same. Furthermore, do not think that just playing poker means that you are learning. You should be reading books, checking over your past hand summaries and watching training videos almost every single day. In fact, a lot of the professional's set aside one or two hours a day to learn before they hit the tables.


Commit to the game

Unfortunately, when you start out grinding playing online poker, you are going to have to play a lot of hours for a small return unless you are one of the lucky few that has a large starting bankroll. For instance, say you have £500 to play with you should be playing £5 or £10 sit and go's depending on your preference. In order to make a living from these stakes you would need to learn to play a lot of tables for many hours.  It is only when you start to increase your stakes (when your bankroll allows) that you might be able to decrease the number of hours you play.


Become organised

The majority of the very best players in the world are really well organised. Every player who wants to be considered a professional will have to keep close tabs on their income, profit per game, bankroll, schedule and just about any other point you would generally associate with running your own business. If you do not treat playing poker as a business of sorts, you will probably miss out on something very important. For instance, if you are experiencing a harsh downswing, all the signs may point to you having to lower your stakes, but if you are not organised, then you would probably miss this point, and that could lead to all sorts of problems.

How to play somebody on tilt

It is great to catch somebody playing on tilt because more often than not they become very loose-passive. Furthermore, going on tilt is one of the easiest things to spot. Here, we will explore some of the points to consider when playing somebody on tilt.


Hiding Poker Tells

Almost every player will have a very minor tell. If you're lucky, then nobody has picked up on it but maybe everybody knows, and they have not told you for obvious reasons. Some players like Phil Hellmuth (the leading WSOP bracelet winner of all time) generally cover any possible chance of a tell in the late stages of a tournament by utilising sunglasses, a baseball cap and his own hands, and this is clearly working for him. Here, we will explore a few ways to hide your poker tells.

Stop talking

Talking on the table, as long as it is not about the game is fine. However, if you get involved in a hand give you mouth a rest for a minute. Too many people give a lot of information away in their voice tone and what they are saying without even realising it.

Even if you are talking about what you ate for breakfast this morning while you are involved in a hand you may be offering some sort of valuable information to your opponents, information that you would not offer if you kept your mouth closed.


Cover up the face

A very large percentage of the most noticeable tells come from the face or the hands. As mentioned, Hellmuth effectively deals with both issues in the majority of tournaments by using his hands to cover his mouth, sunglasses to cover his eyes and a baseball cap to cover up just about everything else.

In the later stages of a tournament, it does not matter if Hellmuth is betting the nuts or throwing out a bluff he will always make the same move so it is almost impossible for somebody to spot a tell. For a professional that has racked up hundreds of hours of television play, covering up any tell is a must.


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