Bankroll Management

The idea of bankroll management on Replay may elicit some laughs because they are play chips after all, but good bankroll management is necessary to make it to the higher stakes and stay there (even if you can beat the game with your eyes closed, bad luck can crush you if you don’t have a large enough bankroll). Even if you don’t care about your Replay chips, it is good to practice bankroll management for when you play real-money poker, even recreationally.

Bankroll management means considering the number of total chips you have before selecting a game to play. For instance, it would be poor bankroll management to buy in to a 100k mtt if you only have 100k in chips. You would need to cash against multiple opponents or you would be left with no chips. Even though 100k isn’t much, restarting with 2k after going broke means a lot of time and luck are needed to get back to 100k.

For good bankroll management, according to other sites and sources, you need at least 20 buy-ins to play a cash game, 40 buy-ins to play a SnG, and 100 buy-ins to play a MTT. That means that for the amount you are risking, you should have that many more chips behind. For example, if you want to buy in to ring with 40k, you need to start with at least 800k (20x40k), for a 40k SnG you need at least 1.6m (40x40k), and for a 40k mtt, you need 4m (100x40k). I would say the MTT requirement is too loose because most Replay MTTs do not have very deep fields, so maybe 40-50 buy-ins is a good rule of thumb, and maybe 25-40 for SnGs.

Most players on Replay seem to play above their bankroll because the chips are free and they do not care that much, but in my opinion it is more fun to build your way up rather than have huge swings (though I have also taken these risks). Players may also move up because there are not enough games above medium stakes (for players with between 4m and 100m), so players go up rather than staying at medium stakes. However, the better players at high stakes are waiting to quickly make you go broke if you do step up without a sufficiently large bankroll. You are at an inherent disadvantage because you cannot survive the natural variance of poker, plus they have more experience in those games. If you only play AA, you will still lose ~20% of the time by chance, not to mention all the blinds you will pay.

So here’s my brief guide to increasing your bankroll responsibly on Replay.
0-40k, you basically have nothing to lose. I would start by risking it all and trying to double up to at least 40k because if you lose you can go to the bank and start over. This is part of why the low stakes contain so much wild unrealistic play. There is no real risk to losing.

40k-100k, you want to start trying to incrementally increase your stack rather than just trying to double up because it takes time/luck to get from 2k to 100k. Good games for this level are bankroll builders, MTTs with buy-ins of 2.5k or lower, SnGs for less than 5k, and 25/50 ring. I prefer to play ring at this level because you can play conservatively and quickly double when you hit a good hand.

100k-500k, now you have something to build on. I think it is a better time to play MTTs and SnGs because there are many good ones with buy-ins of 10k-20k, and the payoff from winning them 100k-300k can dramatically increase your bankroll without a huge amount of risk. 50/100 ring is an option, but the value of doubling up (~10k) doesn’t seem as dramatic for the chips you are risking. Also it is noticeably less easy than lower stakes rings (although still incredibly easy in an absolute sense).

500k-4m, now you have a chance to play some of the most of fun tournaments on Replay (because they still have deep fields unlike higher stakes), the 20k-50k mtts and SnGs. However, at this stage it might be ideal to switch back to ring, especially once you have 2m+ to afford 500/1k because the potential value of doubling up (200k) against 1 opponent in 1 hand is much better than the value of winning a 50k mtt (550k from over 1.5 hours against 30 opponents). Plus, the difference in player quality from 50/100 to 500/1k is not as dramatic as the difference from lower and higher stakes.

4m to 20m, you are now one of the better active players on Replay. There are still some fun tournaments to match your bankroll (50k to 250k), and the payoff of 1m chips can be pretty nice, and there are usually 2k/4k rings where you can quickly chip up (I went from 8m to 40m quickly after regularly playing this level). The games get more challenging, but you can start to incorporate more trickery and balance rather than pure value. Ring is the way to increase chips, but tourneys are fun too.

20m to 120m, this is the real no-man’s-land of Replay (rank 2,000 to 550). I don’t play on nights and weekends, so maybe there are times when these games are heavily populated, but usually there are just a couple of ring games available for this bankroll and only 2 mtts from 250k-1m. SnGs at this level are even more rare. According to good bankroll management, one should have 80m-120m to play 20k/40k ring, but it is tempting, but ill-advised, to play this level from 40m to try to move up quickly. Here (and 5k/10k and 10k/20k) is the most crucial time for bankroll management. These games are often populated by players in the top 200 or better who have trouble finding a good game and are just waiting for lower-ranked players to show up. They will spot you right away, and I have seen many players go broke within 10 hands. I have a pretty solid winning record at 20k/40k but I’ve encountered plenty of downswings, and surviving the variance and the tilt that goes with it is essential to surviving. Once I got to 70m, I started playing 20k/40k and even 50k/100k, and swiftly went down to 28m because I didn’t have the experience or the bankroll and the other players could tell from my rank.

120m to 400m and beyond, I cannot really speak to these levels because I am not there and few players are (~120). It seems like they have to wait around to find a game that matches their bankroll, and I have seen a few really good players with 150m lose a bunch going up against the top 5 in elite stakes ring.

I think this guide has become tangential and more of a guide to Replay than pure bankroll management. However, bankroll management at each of these levels is essential to moving up. You want to be able to buy in for the maximum amount in each ring level so that you can win as many chips as possible when you do have the nuts and so that you have more stack depth to make moves with postflop. It is also an advantage not to be scared of going broke or awed by the level of the stakes, so it is crucial to stay within your bankroll. If you are unsure or want to reduce variance, it is ok to buy in for less than the maximum, but you may want to try to play a lower stake level instead.

As @Warlock1 pointed out, it is better to play “good” poker and play an active aggressive game at a lower stake level than to limp and play passively at higher stakes. The passive approach will rarely win in the long term, so if you do not have the bankroll to be active then you should be playing at lower stakes.

So, those are the basics of bankroll management on Replay. Let me know if there are any concepts I am missing or getting wrong.


A friend of mine from South Africa would explain it this way - “There are reasons why you have never seen a Springbok eating a lion.” Everything in poker was about Springboks and lions. I’ll try to see if I can remember some of them because they are not only accurate but also hysterically funny.


Great post! While I understand the intrigue of moving up in the ranks quickly by playing above your roll (understand because I’ve dabbled occasionally myself) consistent progress cannot be made without adhering to something at least similar to what you’ve described. If everyone played this way I guarantee we would hear half the complains we currently do about this site being unfair and biased against “good” play.


great post.

wow, I’m screwed… I started playing 20k/40k buyin @ 2m, with a 7m bankroll…
I guess thats cause this isn’t my 1st poker site, iono …

1 Like

Even the most seasoned players cannot sustain playing with more than a quarter of their chips… surely you agree with that, especially since this isn’t your first rodeo. Anybody can profit over the short term.

1 Like

I practiced great BRM from 10k to 2m, making my way up in about 2 months, than promptly lost it all playing aggressively firing multiple bullets in high stakes. Now I have to grind my way up from a measly 20k (I started the day with 100k!) I will be sure to use some of these tips you have mentioned.


Very nice post Joe. The only thing I might add to it is for newer players to strongly consider at some point majoring in satellite tournaments. It is well within range to win a 5 k ticket in a freeroll . When you do win one, use it to enter a 5k sattelite that pays 5, 50k tickets. If you win one of those, you have a free ride into a 50k tournament of your choice. No worries about a loss of any chips in your bankroll.


All good advice except the 5K ticket isn’t good for the 50K satellite. You have to play a 5K tourney - at least that’s what the MTT lobby indicates. Satellites are wonderful things, especially for lower bankroll players. More work to win chips but you get to play from more than you normally would be and you can make serious strides in your bank this way.

Also good for those of us who are just plain cheap :slight_smile:


Great post, thanks. I would suggest adding the freerolls in pretty early. It’s an opportunity to pick up free chips for very little effort and there are 2k/5k and 15/ tickets up for the taking so entry to tournaments above your ideal bankroll management is possible. Payout in the 15k American Playtime tournament is about 24k for 25th position rising to 440000k to the winner.


This is not rocket science and I hope every new player to replay poker reads this…
Replay gives you 2500 chips each day, on the 5th day & every consecutive day u log in.
From day 1 ( 2 weeks ) no playing, is 32,500
Consecutive ( 2 weeks ) no playing, is 35,000
At any time you can re-stock your bank to these levels, for just a 2 week break.
SnG (9ppl) & MTT for 1k entry is safest way to build bank from there.


Yeah, the free chip bonus makes all of the low-stakes bankroll strategy kind of pointless. If you get the bonus every day and only buy-in for 500 or fewer (plus any possible winnings) you are guaranteed move up. I think it causes problems in the chip “economy” where players would rather take a lot of risk than move up slowly because they get the free chips anyway, which leads to bingo play and all those free chips ending up with a small subset of players (i.e., inflation). But that’s another issue. Bankroll management only becomes important if you have enough chips that you care about keeping them.

1 Like

Its still mgmt, but I see no reason not to just bypass the insane crazies…
Since a SnG/MTT are almost the same… 9 ppl SnG got 1k is a great way to learn alot of things that are usefull + build bank. Also the 1k ML BB or any 2k MTT from there, works fine.

I’d stay away from Ring at this low level for many reasons, and yes supplement that 2 week wait with playing as many freerolls as possible, if not just to get used to the site and the format of MTT… Once you do have 30-50k, a 1k MTT pays alot better than that freeroll, plus way less ppl to roll thru…Work your way up to the 5K MTTs, then start playing 1 of the regionals each day for 5k… to me if you can win a Regional 5k, then you are ready for med level MTTs as long as you have prolly 150k+ bankroll…

1 Like

Nice guide, Joe. Although I disagree on one point:

“You want to be able to buy in for the maximum amount in each ring level so that you can win as many chips as possible when you do have the nuts and so that you have more stack depth to make moves with postflop.”

That is a very nitch case where you would have the nuts and you have someone with a large stack willing to go all-in with you. Buying in at the max when you first sit, means that you have no scalability to buy in for more, if you get stacked, and then would want to buy in for more to more easily get back to even. I maintain, that if you are concerned about stack size for the max you can win, it’s better to play at higher stakes to increase a starting stack size, than to simply start off with the max stack size.

i have to say i agree with joe, just not with this as the main reason.

if this was the only reason, buying in small at higher tourneys would be even better, because it speeds up the winnings since the blinds make you and everyone else way more, so going all-in is easier with strong hands.

the main reason imo is that it gives you a way wider range of play, a bigger freedom in how you can play your hands makes you less predictable, maximizes possible value when holding a monster, gives more information, it’s more intimidating to others, and most of all, you can use any strategy you like most at the moment.
and all those things will maximize your value, purely because you can do more.

[quote=“MaxPokem, post:14, topic:6608”]
I maintain, that if you are concerned about stack size for the max you can win, it’s better to play at higher stakes to increase a starting stack size, than to simply start off with the max stack size.
[/quote]Lets face it, if you sit at say Haggia Sophia 20k/40k … buyin is 2m-6m … and yes I have seen unranked sit on this table, even if he was prolly just bored and wanted a few laughs… Now, I’m sorry but in that case sitting with 6m, not 2m, isn’t gonna make him respect ur stack any more at all, and if he decides to shove against your AK suited, you pretty much make the call, even if it is bingo… Bingo is usually NEVER a good Idea, but if you get the right price/odds … over time it will pay off…

I may be wrong, but that is the only way I can see for a player with 500th the bankroll, to not end up playing “scared” poker… if bank gets below 3x the buyin, prolly time to drop levels to recoup your losses…

I think yiazmat makes a good point about the benefit of being extra deep, that it can increase your options, though that may not matter if the effective stacks are smaller because your opponents have fewer chips in play.

But going back to my original point, look at it this way, if you are playing a pot against a player in the 1/2 ring who has barely played before and you get stacks in against them 100 times, how many times do you think you will be ahead and how many will you be coolered? Because you have skill advantage against them, maybe you will double 70 times and lose 30 (because they make bet sizing mistakes, don’t consider relative hand strength etc.), making it plus EV to have as many chips in play as possible so you can win as much as possible each time. As you move up the stakes, this benefit may be harder to see, but I believe that I would rather be able to win 150 blinds when I have the nuts or 102 blinds than to max out at 100. I may not want to be deep in pots against you, because you probably make better decisions than I do, but against most players on replay…

I’m not saying this is “correct” but I’ve heard it from pro cash game players (in online videos) and adopted the philosophy. It seems to work in that I win most pots that go for stacks.

1 Like

You act like I don’t get it… You’ve never seen me play 500 B&R… where, no joke its not even 3k blinds, its 6k blinds… have I seen 1 player to understand that, not yet… but its illogical to say… " I’m ok with someone bully’n me off 6m but not off 2m " … 1/2 the time the nosebleed players are sitting with 2-3x the max buyin… so how the fekkk does buy’n in for the max help u there against bullies ??? Its called limiting risk, yes there are tradeoffs…

I just don’t give a rats … anymore, I toasted my account, maybe that will force me to go find another site, all that hard work… up in smoke… right when replay might get thier act together… gee that figures… this hypocritical crap the staff says, just blows me away…

But ya know what, Last time I was in Vegas I pull’d cash off the table… if it chg’d since I was there whatever, other sites allow banking … when a player buys on a table 3-4 times for a million each, then wins some back, they should be able to bank some back… in abstract, its simple, anyone joining a table has buyin req’s, anyone can leave a table @ any time… the name of the player is irrelevant… lose ur chips to someone… anyone, assume they are lost… plus look at the add’d strategy on getting ur chips back from someone…

If replay Poker is seriously looking at improving all the things I read in that other post, I sure as hell hope they get it right…

It doesn’t, because they aren’t playing against what you have on the table. They are playing against your total bankroll. This is a structural flaw, IMO. Forget variance for a second - if you sit at the tables you were on and don’t have a deep bankroll behind you, you are going to be bullied and pressured off the table. In cases like this, it doesn’t matter if you buy-in for min or max because everyone can see that you aren’t deep overall and therefore you will be treated like the short-stack on an MTT.

1 Like

I don’t know if any of you remember Chris “Jesus” Ferguson’s “0 to $10k” challenge, but it’s a classic example of strict bankroll management, so might be of some interest here.

The idea was to start with nothing and try to build his bank to $10,000. He predicted it would take him a year, but it actually took about 18 months (March 2006-September 2007). And yes, he did manage to do it.

"Bankroll Challenge Rules and Goals

Ferguson invented a set of rules particularly with regards to strict bankroll management.

He only allowed himself to play freerolls, for starters, as he had to start with nothing. Later he was not allowed to use more than 5% of his bankroll for cash games or SnGs.

MTTs could not cost more than 2% of his bankroll. Satellites were only allowed if the target tournament buy-in would be affordable according to the 2% rule.

If your winnings ever exceed 10% of your bankroll, leave the table before the blinds reach you and step up a level." source