One of the most important aspects of good bankroll management is keeping records of your sessions so you can track your progress and know when to move up or down in stakes.
own cash game challenge I've just been using a spreadsheet on Google Docs. The nice thing about using Google Docs is that I can access the spreadsheet from anywhere using a web browser, it's free and I can include a bankroll chart on my blog. It instantly gets updated when I update the spreadsheet.
Because a lot of people have been willing to share their knowledge online I've been able to have good results in online poker I figured I'd try and do the same and share my spreadsheet. I even made significant updates to it so it's even easier than what I first started using.
Hopefully my bankroll management spreadsheet helps your game but to really improve check out my BlueFirePoker review as well.
VersionsThings don't work out perfectly the first time and there may be changes and updates as time goes by. Check back here to make sure you're using the latest version of this spreadsheet. There is a Subscribe by email link further down the page by the Comment Form. If you subscribe you'll receive emails whenever there is a new comment. I'll add a new comment when there is an updated version.
To find out what version you have check the last sheet named About/Version. If your spreadsheet does not contain an About/Version sheet, you need to upgrade. Click on the version number below for the current version of the template.
Current Version: 1.3
To upgrade your version, use the new template to create a new spreadsheet, then copy your session data to the new spreadsheet, as well as your bankroll rules.
Getting Started With the Bankroll Management SpreadSheetStep 1: Get a Copy
Click on this link to create your own copy of the spreadsheet. You'll need a Google Docs account. If you don't already have one there are steps on how to create one.
Step2: Set up Your Bankroll Management Rules
First thing you'll want to do is define the rules for your bankroll management strategy. To do so, open the Bankroll Rules sheet by clicking on the link marked Bankroll Rules at the bottom left of the spreadsheet as shown below.
This will open up the following sheet:
The spreadsheet comes pre-filled with example rules but you are free to change them to suit your preferences.
- Starting Bankroll
- This is pretty straight forward. How much money are you depositing or setting aside for your cash games? Just enter the number in the cell. This number along with # Big Blinds Per Level will determine what stakes you start playing at. If you want to start out at higher stakes, I recommend increasing your starting bankroll instead of decreasing # Big Blinds Per Level too much.
- Buyin % of BR
- This number should be entered as a percent. Make sure it didn't accidentally get changed or it will screw other parts of the spreadsheet up. If it doesn't have the % sign after it, add it. This number determines how much you will buy-in to a table with. The lower the number, the more conservative the bankroll management strategy is. The higher, the more aggressive. A number most people would recommend is around 5%. That's what Chris Furgeson used in his Bankroll Challenge. If you want to be more aggressive you can enter a bigger number. To simulate Daniel Negreanu's Bankroll Challenge you would enter 20%. Personally I think that's a little high. I'm going with 5% myself.
- Leave when % of BR
- You need to know when to take your winnings and leave the table. Both Chris Ferguson and Daniel Negreanu would leave the table when after they basically doubled their initial buy-in. So a safe number would be to set this to twice Buyin % of BR. Ferguson's idea was to never have more than 10% of his bankroll at risk at any one time and I think that's a safe rule to follow. The spreadsheet isn't going to give you exactly the number Ferguson would use but it's close enough.
- # Big Blinds Per Level
- As your bankroll increases (or decreases) you'll want to move up (or down) in stakes to increase your profits. You're not going to win every session so you're going to want to give yourself a cushion to account for bad beats, bad decisions and variance. A good rule of thumb is to try and buy in for the maximum and give yourself 20 buyins. Since the maximum buyin at PokerStars is 100 Big Blinds, a conservative value for this field is 2000. If you want to have a more aggressive approach and move up in stakes faster set this number lower. Daniel Negreanu's bankroll challenge used 500 big blinds per level. I wouldn't recommend going too low. The relationship between this value and your Buyin % of BR determines if you're playing deep stacked or short stacked. It's better to play deep stacked to maximize your profits.
- Safety %
- As you move up in stakes, you'll encounter tougher competition and your variance will likely increase. To account for this I added a safety factor. For each new stake level the # Big Blinds Per Level will increase by this amount. So for example if you have 2000 BB's set up with a 5% safety factor, for the first level you'll use 2000 big blinds, the next level will require 2100 BBs before you advance and the one after that 2200. Chris Ferguson didn't implement anything like this in his bankroll management strategy, Daniel Negreanu had some loosely defined provision for it when he reached higher stakes, but this is a common practice by many. A number between 5%-10% should be adequate for most people.
Entering Session DataNow you're all set to start playing cash games and enter in your session information on the sheet named Sessions
On the top middle portion of the sheet you'll find Current Stakes which will tell you which stakes you should be playing. Under that and towards the right is a field marked Next Buyin (max) which will tell you how much you should buyin for. These values are determined based on your current bankroll and the bankroll management rules you set up previously.
You'll also notice on the top portion of the sheet is information to let you know how you're doing and also let you know what stakes to play, how much to buyin for, when to leave the table, how many big blinds you have for your current level and how much more money you need to make before you can move up to the next level.
These fields are all calculated for you automatically and you should not overwrite the data in them. Any field that has a colored background should be left as is.
You'll enter your session data in the lower portion of the spreadsheet in the cells with a white background. Cells with grey backgrounds are calculated based on the data you enter.
The template you started with has 4 rows of sample data to give you and idea of what to enter. The easiest thing to do is copy the entire last row into the row below and then update the data in the white cells with the new session information. If you're using the spreadsheet for the first time, delete the sample data in the white cells and replace it with your actual session data.
- The date of the session in format month/day/year. ex: 3/15/2010
- # Tbls
- The number of simultaneous tables you played in the session.
- Big Blinds
- The amount of the big blind for the tables you played. if you're playing $0.2/$0.05 stakes enter $0.05
- Start Time
- The time you started your session in the format hour:minutes:seconds. The time gets displayed in 24 hour format but you can enter 9:12 pm and it will convert it for you. You don't have to enter seconds if you don't want to. I don't.
- End Time
- The time you ended the session and left the table. Same format as Start Time.
- # Hands
- The number of hands you played in that session. On PokerStars there's a tab marked Stats where the chat box and note box is. Click the Reset button before you start your session then at the end of the session, just see how many hands you played.
- Start Chips
- How much you bought in for. ex: $10.00. If you rebought during the session, make sure to add those amounts to this field. You can use formulas here so if you started with $10 and added $5 in the middle of the session you can enter =10 + 5 so you have more detailed information. If you're playing multiple tables, enter the amount for all your tables. If you bought in for $10 on 2 tables, enter $20.
- End Chips
- The amount of chips you left the table with. Again, if you're playing multiple tables add the chips up from all the tables. You can use formulas again here so if you had 2 tables and you left one with $25 and the other with $0 you can enter =25 + 0.
- It's a good idea to leave yourself some notes of how the session went. Why you lost or won. How you think you played. Also it's a good idea to enter the name of the table you played at to make it easier to find the hand history files if you choose to review the session later.
When to Leave the TableI added a new feature that gives you a more accurate chip count to decide when to leave the table based on how much you have won.
Before you start a session you can see how much your next buy in should be based on the Next Buyin (max) field. Underneath that you see Leave Table (chips) which gives you a rough idea how much you should win before your bankroll management rules tell you to leave the table.
The problem with that is it doesn't factor in the chips in play and should only be used as a guide. Those count towards your bankroll. Once you enter your starting chips in your new session, the Leave Table (chips) field is useless.
To give you a more accurate a new field was added, Chips In Play. After winning a big pot, or a lot of small ones, enter the amount of chips you have in front of you at the table. The Have to Leave Table field will let you know if it's time for you to leave the table or if you can keep playing. Next to that field is a summary that tells you your current bankroll including the chips in play and what percent of your bankroll is in play.
To change when you should leave the table, edit the Leave when % of BR field in the Bankroll Rules sheet.
Updating the Bankroll ChartI couldn't figure out a way to have the chart update automatically so you have to take a couple of steps after your session to have the chart include the new data.
Click on the Bankroll Chart link at the bottom of the spreadsheet to open up the Bankroll Chart sheet. Then highlight the last row in the table. On the lower right you'll see a blue square. Click on it and drag it down to fill the rows below it with the data from the new sessions. (You can also copy and paste the last row into the row below it. Whichever you find easier.)
After that you have to update the chart to read the new rows. Click on the chart and you'll see a light blue box surround it. On the upper left hand portion of that box will be the word Chart with a down arrow. Click on it and select Edit Chart to bring up the following dialog box.
Under the label What data? is a text field that defines the range used in the chart. It will look something like A1:Bxx where xx is the number of the last row of information. So if you're last session was session number 14 this field should read A1:B15. The last row is one more than the session number because the headings take up the first row.
Publishing your ChartYou can post your bankroll chart on your blog or in a forum post if you wish to let others see how you're doing.
To do this, click on the chart to show the Chart menu in the light blue box and this time select Publish chart...
The first thing you'll get is a message asking you if you want everyone to see the chart. Click OK.
Next you'll get the following box that provides you with the HTML code to display the image. Just copy and paste the code into your blog. Click Done to close the popup.
If you are trying to post the image in a forum that uses BBCode instead of HTML, just copy the URL and use that. The URL is what's in the src attribute (between the quotes) and starts with http://
That's it. I hope some of you find this useful. If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below.
If you use this spreadsheet and include the chart in your blog I'd love to know about it. Just leave the link in a comment.
Disclaimer: This spreadsheet is provided free of charge with no guarantee or warranty for entertainment purposes only. Use at your own risk. When you gamble with real money there's no guarantee you won't lose.