It’s the dream dilemma for every poker player. You’ve built up your bankroll and now it’s time to convert some of those numbers on the screen into crisp dollar bills. But how do you know how much to take out so that you can meet your needs, but still have some green in reserve to play?
Keep reading. You’re about to find out!
When To Cash Out
Don’t Force Yourself To Drop Limits
The most important thing when it comes to cashing out is making sure it doesn’t affect your ability to play. You don’t want to take out so much that you’re forced to drop limits unless it’s a necessity. Also, you never want to cash out your entire roll, unless you’re tilted and concerned you may blow it.
One big point, especially to the new players: don’t be in a rush to cash out. It’s only when you’ve become confident in your ability to make money consistently that you should start thinking about making cash outs.
Cash Game Players
Treat It Like A Salary
Treat cash games like a job, whether you’re doing it part-time or full-time, by cashing out a regular amount at a regular frequency. More on this in the next point, but keep in mind this holds true so long as you’re not moving up limits, in which case you’ll need more in your account to climb the ladder with the tighter buy-in’s.
Aim For A Regular Cash Out Time (Weekly, Monthly, Bi-Monthly, etc.)
Since your poker earnings are your salary (primary or supplementary), you want to set a regular cash out schedule, much the same as a paycheck. This gives you something to work towards and will help keep you on track. Bad runs happen, and you’ll either need to skip a cash out or build up enough of a cushion so that you don’t have too. All that surplus from your good runs will make it possible for you to withdraw even if you’ve had a bad run.
Have A Target Minimum Cash Out Amount
To help set your minimum cash out, for full-time players, figure out what your regular expenses are and use that sum as your minimum. For part-timers keep with the salary idea, but at a smaller amount, like $50. Use this additional income as a treat or to help pay bills.
Don’t Cash Out When Shot-Taking (Even If It Goes Well)
When it comes to shot taking, don’t cash out when you kill it, because it encourages taking shots when you shouldn’t. The point of shots is to establish yourself at the next limit, meaning you need a padded bankroll. Cashing out will hinder that ability and destroy your cushion.
Cash Out Whenever You Have A Big Score
Since the scores in tournaments can be huge, any time you win big, you should take out a huge chunk of that money because you don’t need it online unless you’re planning on playing bigger limits. It’s fine to take out 80-90%, and while you’re at it treat yourself. Set an achievable goal like a nice jacket, computer, trip, car, etc., something you can work towards that won’t ruin your ability to play and isn’t money itself. Cashing out and buying yourself something nice is one of the best feelings in poker because you get a reminder of what you’re playing for.
Recognize The Variance In Tournaments – Long Dry Spells
Approach tournaments realistically. You’re not going to win every time you play, and there will be long periods of breaking even or losing small amounts between those massive scores. You’ll hit your big scores, but you’ve got to wait it out. If however, after a big win, you want to move up a limit, recalculate your baseline based on the new ABIs.
Leave At Least Your Baseline Bankroll (100x ABI)
You should always have enough money in your account to withstand the dry spells. Which means having 100x your average buy in (ABI) . Example: if $10-20 is your buy in rate, your average ABI is $15. Doing this protects you against the risk of losing your entire bankroll and taking you out of the game; something that should never happen.
Choosing A Cash Out Method
Fees, Speed, In-Out Balance
Choosing a preferable cash out method depends on your needs. Do you need cash fast, do you want to avoid service fees – what’s important to you?
If you want your cash fast (e.g., courier) and to avoid paying fees, cash out the minimum amount. Overnight courier checks will cost you $20 in fees unless you have a minimum of $1000. If time is not of the essence snail mail is free. However, the time saved by getting your paycheck sooner is worth the small fee because once you get that money, you can put it to work immediately. Ultimately, it boils down to what works best for you.
Cashing Out 101
You’ve worked hard to build up your bankroll, so treat this money as a scheduled paycheck based on your expectations. If you do this, you’ve always got enough to cover your expenses while keeping you profitably in the game.