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A Cash Out Strategy For Grinders
Every poker player dreams of hitting a massive score, withdrawing it, and treating themselves to some new toys. Those large prizes do not come around frequently unless you one of the best poker players in the world, but you should cash out often to keep you invested in the game.
Readers of these pages know I am a stickler for bankroll management. Following bankroll management prevents you from going broke and keeps you in games you can beat. But should you ever cash out some of your bankroll? How much should you withdraw, when, and why?
Tournament players often go through periods of not making any profit for several weeks. The flip side of this is a glut of good results follow. Playing tournament poker is either feast or famine, with little separating the two extremes.
Your biggest problem is you have little control over your results, at least in the short term. You can play perfect poker and still lose if the cards do not fall your way. This is why the most intelligent professional players have at least six months of living expenses tucked away.
What if you are not a poker pro but still want poker to make you a nice side income. How much and how frequently should you cash out?
Cash Out After a Big Score
Setting a figure for how much to cash out is simple. Those of you following bankroll management do not need any of your bankroll to pay for life’s expenses, so that is not an issue. Cashout a significant chunk of money if you manage to enjoy a large win.
For example, you tend to play $11 tournaments at your favorite online poker site. Your bankroll is hovering around $1,100 when you win a tournament at Americas Cardroom for $8,000. There is no point in having a $9,100 bankroll when playing $11 tournaments. That is overkill even in my book! Withdraw the entire $8,000 if you have no ambitions of moving up stakes. Cashout half if and treat yourself and your family, and add the other $4,000 to your bankroll if you plan on moving up limits.
We already stated these big wins do not come around often for us mere mortal. We also said you have limited control over how much money you win. This is why your volume, not your results, determines your cashout strategy.
Withdraw Based on Your Volume Not Results
Cashout a percentage of the buy-in of each tournament you play—every single one. For example, withdraw between 5-8% of each MTTs buy-in you register. Those players grinding $11 games would cash out between $0.55 and $0.88 each time they buy in.
This seems a tiny amount but stay with me here because it makes perfect sense. Making frequent withdrawals is a good idea for two reasons:
- It gives you a steady income from your hobby
- Doing so keeps you in games you are profitable in
Withdrawing a percentage of each buy-in makes it possible to plan. Got your eyes set on a new TV costing $2,000? It is all well and good, hoping to win $2,000 from a single MTT, but that is primarily out of your control. Withdrawing $0.55 for every tourney you enter means playing 3,636 tournaments (2,272 at $0.88 per MTT) buys you that TV. Hopefully, you win plenty of money while playing those games, too.
You have complete control over your volume; only you decide when you can and cannot play poker.
Furthermore, making these cashout from your bankroll keeps you in games you are profitable in. Removing 5-8% of the tournament’s buy-in will ultimately see you cash out your entire balance if you do not reach the money in some of the games you play.
It is not possible to make withdrawals of $0.55 at a time. Additionally, some online poker sites limit the number of possible withdrawals each week or month. Save up your cashouts until you hit a certain amount if this is the case. $50-$100, perhaps; just ensure you separate it from your available bankroll.