When deciding to play a game of poker, I always base my decision of what game levels to play based on my bankroll size. Your bankroll is the total amount of money that you have available to play poker. It includes the money that you have set aside strictly for poker. Bankroll refers to total monies not just what you plan to spend at one session.
I have read lots of differing views as to what your bankroll size should be. The whole idea of having a bankroll is to allow you to play your best but to allow for a streak of bad beats. Even the best of players can get stuck, not winning, for hours, days, weeks or even months. During that time a sufficient bankroll will help them continue to play until they start winning again.
One thing that a new player turning pro should also consider is that after a few months of straight decline, they might just be a losing player. Maybe they should consider just playing for fun or very low limits instead. They may just need to change the way they play.
There are so many suggestions by various people as to what the bankroll size should be that I picked the following one. I try to allow myself to have a bankroll worth 4,000 times the big blind.
That size of bankroll would allow me to sustain losses for up to:
20 sessions minimum playing No Limit games with a buy-in amount equal to 200 times the big blind.
40 sessions minimum playing No Limit games with a buy-in amount equal to 100 times the big blind.
100 sessions minimum playing Limit games with a buy-in amount equal to 40 times the big blind.
200 sessions minimum playing Limit games with a buy-in amount equal to 40 times the big blind.
The math is not perfect but the above formula allows the following games amounts to be played based on the following bankrolls. Using a spreadsheet will get you more accurate results.
$100 bankroll allows you to play reasonably in $ .01 / .02 games that have a big blind of .02
$1,000 bankroll allows you to play reasonably in $.10 / .25 games that have a big blind of .25
$5,000 bankroll allows you to play reasonably in $ .50 / $1.00 games that have a big blind of 1.00
$10,000 bankroll allows you to play reasonably in $1.00 / 2.00 games that have a big blind of 2.00
These are just my opinions and I am trying to be conservative as well.
You can always try to play above your level for a session or two, but it is a good idea to stay in your bankroll level or comfort zone even if that level is lower.
If you are on a losing streak, check your bankroll size and move down a level based on the remaining size. This will keep you going longer.
Only move up a level when your bankroll can sustain that level.
Best of luck and be careful out there.