Determining what level of stakes you play at, and how much you bring to the table, can influence you long term success at poker. Bankroll Management is a good way of reviewing how well you are doing, or calculating where you could be doing better. It very much depends on your reasons for playing and your long term goals.
Many players occupying the micro tables are there for pleasure rather than profit. Some are there to learn the game, and others are using these tables to practise new strategies and improve their skills. Most experienced players, who are involved in poker to make money, will leave the micro stakes tables alone because of the looseness of play (which often delivers irregular results) and because if you are playing at a level which is meaningless to you – win or lose – then you should not be there at all.
On the other side of the coin are the players who go into high stakes games too early and are not well enough supported financially to enable them to bet within a comfort zone. If you are scared of making your bets for the fear of being re-raised and/or wiped out, then again, this is not the place for you. This is why players use bankroll management as a guide for where they can best perform.
The basics are straightforward. If you are playing on cash ring games, you should be playing at a level of around 1/300th of the total funds in your account. This means that if you have deposited $600 into your account, you should be playing on the $1/$2 games and no higher. Unless you are particularly nervous about losing, prefer to play short-stacked or want to multi-table (not recommended on ring games) you should take enough money to cover a hundred big blinds – or $200 in this example. Not only is it sensible to avoid taking all your funds in, it will also intimidate tables loaded with short-stacked players.
If your preferred game is Sit ´n´ Go´s or tournaments, you should play with 1/20th of your balance. So, a person depositing $600 in their account should be looking at games with a $25 (plus rake) buy-in. As you win more, the value of the tournaments you are entering will increase, and if you start losing, you modify your stake limits accordingly. The benefit of using this system is that when you hit a winning streak, you will win more money quicker and, should you experience a bad spell, a drop down the stakes will limit any potential damage.
Particularly with ring games, using bankroll management to guide you to the level of stakes you should be playing at can prevent the ruinous nature of being on tilt, and provide a good indicator of your successful poker play.