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.