# 10,000 to 1,000,000 Bankroll Challenge

Inspired by @love2eattacos legendary Low Stakes Challenge and Doug Polk’s “\$100 to \$10,000 Challenge”, I propose the Replay Poker 10,000 to 1,000,000 Bankroll Challenge. As the name suggests, the goal is to start with a bankroll of 10,000 chips and increase it to 1,000,000 chips by playing ring games and following some (minimum) bankroll management rules.

Rules:

• Starting bankroll: 10,000 chips.

• Bankroll management: I will level up once I have reached a bankroll of 2,000 big blinds for the next higher level. I will drop down one level when my bankroll drops below 2,000 big blinds of the next lower level. 2,000 big blinds are just ten 200 bb buy-ins, so this is quite aggressive bankroll management and may not be suitable for everyone. If you want to try out this challenge yourself, you can always follow more conservative bankroll management rules (i.e., levelling up later and/or dropping down sooner), but you cannot break these minimum requirements.

Here is a table with the relevant bankroll thresholds:

Level Stakes 200 bb stack Level down Level up
0 1/2 400 8000
1 2/4 800 4000 20000
2 5/10 2000 8000 40000
3 10/20 4000 20000 100000
4 25/50 10000 40000 200000
5 50/100 20000 100000 400000
6 100/200 40000 200000 800000
7 200/400 80000 400000
• Starting level: The starting bankroll of 10,000 chips equals 2,500 bb at the 2/4 level, but only 1,000 bb at the 5/10 level, so I will start at the 2/4 level.

• Table selection: I will primarily play 6-max games, secondarily 4-max games, and only play 9-max games if I can’t find players at the other tables.

• Tracking: I will track my progress and post my results here along with some other stats.

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Results of Session 1
Blind level: 2/4
Hands played: 1,142
Profit & Loss: 10,335
bb/100: 226
Starting bankroll: 10,000
Ending bankroll: 20,335

Percentage of hands that ended

• preflop: 8%,
• on the flop: 10%,
• on the turn: 10%,
• on the river: 72% (with or without showdown).

Let me know if you can think of any other stats that are worth tracking and can be inferred from the hand information on the activity page.

Notes: I got off to a rough start with some insane runouts. After about 750 hands, I was basically back to my starting stack. The final hands of the session went quite well and I was able to profit from some ultra aggressive players who were not afraid of getting it in with weak hands preflop or postflop. Here is my bankroll graph hand-by-hand:

I’ve managed to reach 2,000 bb at the 5/10 level, so the next session will start at 5/10 stakes.

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This reminds me of Chris Ferguson’s original “\$0 to \$10K” challenge he did at Full Tilt starting in 2006. He did manage to get to more than 10k some time in 2007.

His run was also all about bank management. His rules were…

He wouldn’t buy into a cash game or SnG for more than 5% of his bank.

He wouldn’t buy into a MTT for more than 2% of his bank.

If he was playing in a ring game and accumulated chips such that his stack was more than 10% of his bankroll, he would leave the table.

Sounds like a fun challenge BW, good luck.

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So - I imagine he started with a Freeroll game?

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Yes he did.

I tried to do this challenge back in the day, and was thrilled when I cashed my first freeroll for 17 cents, which I lost 10 minutes later playing .01/.02. Getting started is brutal.

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Results of Session 2
Blind level: 5/10
Hands played: 1,060
Profit & Loss: 7,670
bb/100: 72
Starting bankroll: 20,335
Ending bankroll: 28,005

Percentage of hands that ended

• preflop: 12%,
• on the flop: 13%,
• on the turn: 12%,
• on the river: 63% (with or without showdown).

Notes: I think I didn’t run very well overall in this session and I also played relatively poorly, especially in the beginning. While my opponents on 2/4 were almost all very loose, I’ve noticed that some players at 5/10 play quite tight and trappy (and often also have 1M+ in the bank, so they could play for much higher stakes if they wanted to). Bluffing still almost never works and yet there are still quite a lot of bluff-heavy players at these stakes. Stacks still go in relatively frequently, so the ride can be rough…

That’s a very good rule (although it should be applied to effective stacks). Of course, this requires that enough tables are running so that you can easily sit at a new table, which is not always the case. Also, sometimes it’s worth the risk to stay at a table with the same players that you’ve already played with for a while.

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you are probably way too conservative with your bankroll. This is fake chips not real money and players are way worse. given how bad people in low stakes are you should be able to get to 1m chips from 10k in around 1000 hands. just don’t sit with more than 25% of your bankroll and u’d be fine.

I don’t think this is possible on demand and without specifically choosing your opponents. Perhaps it’s possible to achieve it with sufficiently many attempts and with the right players at the tables, but that’s not the point of this challenge.

That being said, how far you can push bankroll management depends on many factors such as your win rate, your playing style, your opponents’ playing styles, table selection, etc. I agree that I could get away with more aggressive bankroll management, but I choose to stick with this plan.

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i will try this, lets see! (i will play slow, so see, yes, but later). Thanks, for the idea.

Results of Session 3
Blind level: 5/10
Hands played: 200
Profit & Loss: 15,047
bb/100: 752
Starting bankroll: 28,005
Ending bankroll: 43,052

Percentage of hands that ended

• preflop: 6%,
• on the flop: 6%,
• on the turn: 9%,
• on the river: 80% (with or without showdown).

Notes: There was only one 6-max table running, so I decided to play the 9-max tables at 5/10 today. On almost all of my tables, I had one or more players who were willing to get it in preflop with almost any two cards and hence I mostly employed a variation of @Yorunoame’s Preflop Hammer strategy: open shoving or limp-shoving really strong hands and folding everything else. Luckily, all but one (where I still got the side pot) of my all-ins held up and I have now reached a bankroll to start playing at 10/20.

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I see. if your the bankroll management rule is that strict by choice, I can respect it.

But hypothetically if you were to try to get there in as few hands as possible on average, the optimal table sizing would be higher. You can take a look at Kelly Criterion for optimal risk management. You can estimate your edge with a specific stat that maybe you can check. How often do you double up your buy in vs going bust. for top level players playing at low stakes, this number should be above 60% possibly close to 70-80%. so if you take a gamble and have 70% chance of double up vs bust then your average ROI is 40%. for optimal sizing, the kelly criterion would say that you can bet at most 40% of your bankroll. you can. of course be more conservative and say maybe you only double up 60% of the times instead of 70%. in which case you can optimally sit with 20% of bankroll. Not trying to change your decision, but just want to let you know the math lol.

as for the claim of consistently doing so in 1k games. I guess it’s hard to know the exact percentage. maybe 1k is aggressive but 2k hands should be very consistently possible. I think it took me around half a day of play to get above 1m from the 4k or so starting stack when I joined last week, and I didn’t do any table or player selection. I estimated it at 1k hands but idk for sure

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Results of Session 4
Blind level: 10/20
Hands played: 647
Profit & Loss: 43,132
bb/100: 333
Starting bankroll: 43,052
Ending bankroll: 86,184

Percentage of hands that ended

• preflop: 8%,
• on the flop: 14%,
• on the turn: 14%,
• on the river: 64% (with or without showdown).

Notes: Back to 6-max tables at the 10/20 level. I ran much better than in the first two sessions, I got a lot of strong hands and opportunities to get it in with them. Compared to the 5/10 9-max tables, there were only a few players who were willing to call a preflop all-in. However, there were still many who were willing to call a 10-20 bb open raise with relatively weak hands. I found myself adopting a strategy of limping with speculative hands and heavily raising (and occasionally open shoving) all my premium hands. Only 700 bb to go for the next level.

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I love that you’ve included the percentage of hands ending on each street. That’s a defining difference between micro-stakes and higher stakes, and shows how much less folding occurs on the lower tables. Kind of shocking to see how many hands actually go to the river…

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How did you get the data to build those charts with? Does Replay have an API?

You joined in March and this is only the 9th day of the month and your chip count went from zero to over 240 million. Did you accumulate that by playing this style ?

yeah I just moved up by sitting with 50bb at whatever stake is around 25-30% of my bank roll. the low/mid stake strategy for me was basically what BW mentioned now. big raises with premium hands, limp hands that have good straight/flush/set potential, pot it any time you hit a very strong hand because almost always someone will call. higher stakes are less easy to exploit of course so adjust accordingly.

Interesting stuff. I looked up the Kelly criterion and while it is not really applicable to poker in general, seeing it as an approximation of the low stakes games here is actually quite reasonable. I also find the idea of “speedrunning” 10k to 1M quite intriguing… But there is always a trade-off between the expected number of hands it takes to reach the goal and the probability of busting, so I’m not sure how a meaningful formulation of such a challenge would look like.

Your rise from the starting chips to 280+ M in a week or so is quite impressive. How many hands have you played in total? (You can look it up under “Statistics” in the menu.) Would you say that you ran particularly hot at the elite stakes level? Would you mind sharing your bankroll graph (using this Chrome extension)?

You can extract the data from the activity page. @love2eattacos made a spreadsheet available here or you use your own tools.

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That is quite an achievement. To meet the challenge one has to multiply the initial bankroll (10,000 chips) by 1000, which implies total dominance over the opposition.

However on RP the vast majority of players clearly play only as a pastime, meaning that they like to see a flop if they have a couple of connected cards, and are not particularly concerned about building a bankroll.

So what you need to exponentially increase the bankroll is a) dominance over opponents, b) to exponentially increase the buy-in level after each success, c) hitting a successful run when good luck runs in your direction.

Playing in MTTS one can use a similar approach. Winning a MTT should bring a return of at least 15x, so if you increase your buy-in by 10x after each victory, you will soon be hitting 1 million as first prize, and then entering tournaments that cost 1 million chips to enroll.

In reality, the returns in MTT tournaments are much better than that at the lower levels on RP. For example, just looking at today’s results, for your initial free allowance of 2500 chips, you can buy in to a 30-player tournament with a first prize of 60,000 chips.

With the 60,000 chips, you could have three buy-ins to a tournament with a first prize of 500,000 chips, and with 500,000 chips, you could buy into 2 tournaments with a top prize of 2.5m chips.

As an example, a tournament today was 250,000 to enter with a guaranteed prize pool of 5 million, and had 25 entrants so the actual prize pool was over 5M. Even 4th place would have returned you 750,000 chips, so getting you pretty close to 1M.

Thus it would be entirely feasible to go from 2500 chips to 1 million chips in one day just with two soft tournament wins and a third place finish. (OK, you might not succeed the first time, but all the same.)

Of course as you go up the ladder, it does become harder to win, for example in the 1M buy-in tournaments most of the opponents are in the top 1000 on RP, so a little bit tougher, but not much. Players within the top 200 are definitely a bit more tricky, and of course in the final stages of tournaments when blinds are high and there is a lot of stack shoving, an element of good fortune will increase your win rate.

The highest price entry tournament on RP is 5M chips, and is only held one time per week, but if you win it, it can return something like 50M chips.

The real problem with the 1M and 5M buy-in tournaments is that there are not enough entrants to provide really big prize pools. At 1M there are usually 30 to 40 players, and at 5M about half that number.

Even so, if you achieve just one win and two money places every 10 MTTs, your bankroll will steadily increase.

So all you need to grow a big chip balance in MTTs is a modicum of good fortune. A couple of years ago, I was on a very bad run (I guess that means I was playing really badly) and my bankroll went down to just 5M, but then I had a good run, and took it from 5M to 150M within 6 weeks of playing one tournament daily on most days.

However, such exponential success would be very unlikely in real money tournaments, whether online or in real life, because as you go up the buy-in levels, one would expect the toughness of opponents to increase exponentially, which is generally not the case on RP. Additionally, on RP, as you tend to be up against the same opponents all the time, one soon gets to know their patterns of play and weaknesses.

Results of Session 5
Blind level: 10/20
Hands played: 236
Profit & Loss: 16,786
bb/100: 356
Starting bankroll: 86,184
Ending bankroll: 102,970

Percentage of hands that ended

• preflop: 3%,
• on the flop: 7%,
• on the turn: 13%,
• on the river: 77% (with or without showdown).

Notes: Same 6-max tables as in Session 4, same strategy. Next up: 25/50.

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Oh neat, I can see his spreadsheet scrapes the activity page HTML.