Moving Up In Limits And Raising The Stakes As A Grinder

One of the most important concepts to grasp as you seek to attain True Grinder status will be when to move up in limits and raise the stakes. Bankroll Managementis an extremely important part of your overall game and there's no quicker way to derail your potential True Grinder career status than to lose your bankroll in one game. In this article we'll discuss the proper steps to take to ensure that your bankroll doesn't suffer a fatal blow because you made a poor decision.

Determining Your Bankroll Size

Coming out of the gate, the first thing you need to do is determine your bankroll size based on the game you feel comfortable playing. Sometimes it just the opposite though, if you only have a $xxx.00 bankroll, you should only play a certain limit at the most.

Here's the math – Assume you want to play 2/4 No Limit Holdem. Typically players will want to have a minimum of 50 buy ins to comfortably play at any given level. The 50 number is only a suggestion as opinions vary on this but this True Grinder likes the 50 number. If you don't like, too damn bad because remember, I'm the one writing the article! Based on this number, the equation will look like this:

Minimum buy in for 2/4 NL Holdem is $200.00 so 50 X $200 = $10,000. Again, if that 50 number sounds too high to you, consider that you EASILY drop 5-10 buy ins on a bad night playing online poker. You need this buffer to maintain your sanity, trust me.

If you only have a set amount to start playing with, let's say $500.00 then you should do the following type of math to determine what limit your should play:

$500.00 starting bankroll / 50 buy ins = $10.00. So find the game that has a minimum buy of $10.00 (usually something like .25/.50 No Limit) and start grinding it out.

Another reason for the “high” 50 buy in number is that if you do lose 10-15 buy ins, the mental comfort of having another 35 buy ins left keeps you from going on tilt (we'll talk about that later as well). Let's face it, when you're playing a game with your FINAL buy in and you know you're going to be broke if you take a bad beat, it's tough to play your best.

When To Move Up In Limits

This one is not so simple. Using the 50 buy in rule from above, you should only move up in limits when the math tells you to. What the math won't tell you is when YOU are ready to move up. Your bankroll may be healthy enough but you must make sure that you're healthy enough as well.

You will want to take baby steps at this point and allocate only a few buy ins of your next limit before playing it exclusively. That way if you take a few beats and lose your buy ins, you can go back to your regular game and make the subtle adjustments that may be necessary to be successful at the next limit up. This stop gap measure is in place to guarantee the health and safety of your bankroll.

Taking Some Profits

Taking money from your bankroll to pay mundane stuff like bills and taking your significant other out on a date is a must. Like it not, there's more to life than poker. Ideally, you will structure your weeks where you're winning a few extra buy ins to cover these expenses. If you're not, just use a simple formula and “borrow” from your bankroll. Just remember to pay it back! In most situations you will never want to borrow any more than 20% of your total bankroll unless it's an emergency.

It's also good for your confidence to be pulling out money from time to time. If you remember at the beginning of our poker strategy articles we talk about treating poker as a real job, so if your following our script and your successful at it which is hope, then your supposed to grab your biweekly paycheck.


Common sense wins all arguments here. Use it as it applies to your game and your bankroll and you'll have a long, successful run as a True Grinder.