Bankroll Management: What Poker Players Can Teach Entrepreneurs About Finances

Bankroll management. It’s the process by which a poker player or another type of gambler organizes their funds to ensure they are gambling with the right amount of money, as well as knowing when to end their play session.

Budget Setting

Every poker player has a set budget for their upcoming tournament or table. Ensuring they stick to that amount ensures that they don’t incur adverse losses or upsetting defeats. Anyone who decides to play on this list of the leading real money poker sites today needs to be comfortable with the idea of losing a certain amount, or it would not be advisable to play.

Entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners should employ the same tactics. Don’t spend or commit financial resources that they simply don’t have or can’t foreseeably pay back. While scaling back might not be the most attractive business proposition, there’s no need to acquire lots of stock that you simply can’t sell.

Now, if you’re in the process of starting a company and you happen to play poker and win BIG, then you can throw all of your money at it right away! Just be sure to organize the fund allocation while you do it.

Or if you end up down to your last few chips in the game, this can also be a useful lesson. Setting up an emergency fund for your business is a critical idea. It could be that the presiding government will tax your industry more starting next month, and you’ll need to cover it. Whatever the issue, it’s ideal to have an emergency pot of money tucked away. You will often see poker players buy more chips or have a separate stack for when they need it most.

Decision-Making and Keep Emotions in Check

Upstart companies can be emotionally demanding on the people involved. It might be that the money simply isn’t coming in, or it’s taking lots of your time away from normal life, and you might even be working a second or third job in addition to trying your hand at this new business. It’s important not to make decisions based on emotional impulses, no matter what the situation is.

Experienced poker players refer to this as tilt. This is where their luck is seemingly out as they consistently lose on hands, and they become a lot more lax with their betting strategies, with reckless raises or overly passive folds creeping into their game. In other words, their emotions get the better of them, and it creeps out into their game and eats away at their bankroll. The best players understand when it is time to walk away and simply call time on the play session. Entrepreneurs need to do that, too. If they can’t think straight about emotional instability, take a break and come back to that business decision tomorrow.


In general, playing poker is a great tool to help with decision-making. Players must quickly assess their assets while trying to gauge the value and likelihood of winning. This echoes a lot of business decisions that must be made around the customer marketplace and the competitor offerings. The parallel poker worlds will no doubt be of some help to aspirational business owners as they get used to making important decisions.

Stake and Market Selection

The most experienced and successful poker players don’t simply turn up to a casino or poker room and start playing. They fine-tune their tournament appearances and game participation to ensure that they align with their interests, especially their bankroll management. They might want to slightly extend their funds, so they will opt to play at a lower grade, smaller stakes venue to bolster their bank balance by a few coins. Or if they want a sizable injection, they might sit with the high rollers. Either way, it’s an informed decision being made.

By the same merit, aspiring business owners shouldn’t rush to the first empty shop to buy it. While the rent might be low in Wakefield, West Yorkshire – is there a market for a craft beer bar? Or, in one of the driest places on Earth, Aoulef, Algeria – will you sell enough umbrellas to make a living? You might want to sell suncream instead.

Persistence, Skill, and Luck

Poker is truly two games combined. There’s the luck game where everyone is dealt two random cards. The one with the better pair wins. The other game is total skill, where you must adapt and work out what you want to do with your cards. The two metrics put together make for a fascinating game. Even if you have the best hand at the table, you can still lose if you don’t manage it well. Or you can have the worst and win. Poker players prepare for this by understanding variances and downswings in their bankroll.


This teaches business owners that while they can control a lot of assets with their business, there are a few they cannot. I.e., they might have the universally best ice cream stand in the entirety of New York. It’s a pleasant summer morning, and they can predict healthy sales for the day. Ah, that’s until that rain cloud brings an unexpected thunderstorm, and suddenly, nobody wants to be in Central Park, let alone eat ice cream. Business, in general, is a lot like poker, and the latter will teach you that you can’t control everything.

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Jeremy Edwards
Jeremy Edwards
On Chain Analysis Data Engineer. Lives in sunny Perth, Australia. Investing and writing about Crypto since 2014.

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