I am retired with a good pension. I have perhaps $600.00 each month with which to play. If I go broke, I quit for the month. I generally get to play all month as often as I want and take my wife out for excellent dinners without using family funds. Three of the past four months were positive cash flow, for a four month net gain of about $700.00.
I budget only $600.00 at the start of each month. My question is when buying in to a 1-3 game with $100 min and $300 max should I buy short to allow more rebuy opportunities or max. to increase/maximize my potential in each hand?
Good question! This may apply to quite a few players on pensions/fixed incomes. With 2-6 buy-ins ($600) allotted for poker each month, the likelihood of you having months where you lose the entire month’s bankroll before the month is over is quite high. The more often you play, the higher the likelihood would be. If you only played once a month, the chance of you losing the entire $600 in that one session is lower. If you play every day, you are very likely to experience months where you are “out” for the month in the first few days.
This is interesting, because it introduces the concept of Opportunity Cost to cash games. This concept applies most often to tournaments. In a nutshell, if you have limited chips and cannot rebuy, you must take into account future opportunities to use those chips when deciding how to risk them. So in a tournament, you might turn down a 2% edge that puts your entire stack at risk, because you believe you are likely to encounter 5% or 10% edges in the future and losing your stack now will prevent you from ever seeing those opportunities.
Rizen does a great job of talking more about this in this Q&A. (Sorry, this answer is for LearnWPT Members only).
Back to your situation, this means you will encounter spots where you might have a slight edge if you continue, but you should still fold because losing that pot forces you out of action until next month.
Your goal is to maximize the use of your $600 across the month. Being forced out of action, potentially for weeks, is a pretty big downside.
Therefore, to answer your question directly, you should maximize your number of overall buy-ins and buy in for the minimum, $100. Buying in for $100 minimizes your risk of ruin (IE chance of bankroll = $0) for the month. Like you mentioned, this means you will not be able to fully exploit opportunities that you would otherwise be able to with a full buy-in of $300.
Buying in for $100 is also going to have strategic implications for your game, as you will now often be essentially Shortstacking this game. I’d recommend thinking about your Shortstacking strategy by reviewing Episode 40 and 21. Both will help you on this front. (Note: episodes are for LearnWPT Members only).
All of this being said, you should work towards building an appropriate bankroll to move yourself out of this situation as soon as possible. You can learn more about that in Episode 5. This will involve reinvesting any profits back into your bankroll for a few months rather than spending them elsewhere. This short-term sacrifice will allow you to exploit more and bigger opportunities in the future as well as provide you with all the other benefits of a dedicated self-sustaining poker bankroll.
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