What percent of bankroll should a pro risk per day?

This is a deleted scene from Painless Poker in which Charlie and Alf ask and answer some important questions about bankroll.


Alf leaned back. “You have provided much to cogitate, Mr. Angelo.”

“Here’s one I’ve cogitated on,” Charlie said. “What percent of bankroll should a pro risk per day? What’s the maximum?”

“No more than 10%,” Alf said.

“Okay by me,” I said, and Babs nodded.

“That’s my number too,” said Charlie. “What about the minimum?”

Alf said, “If one has set out to climb the poker ladder, then at least 1/20 of one’s bankroll should be in action per day.”

The court agreed.

“So,” Charlie said, “We’re saying that 5% to 10% per day is a sound guideline.”

We agreed again.

“Then answer me this. If you had a 10 million dollar bankroll, would you still use the 5% to 10% rule?”

“That would be $500,000 to a million,” Victor said.

“Right,” said Charlie. “If any of you had 10 million, would you put a million at risk every time you went to work?”

Babs said, “I think I can speak for everyone and say not a rat’s chance in hell.”

“And with good reason.” Charlie stood up and turned on his newly discovered lecture voice. “At the millions level, standard bankroll considerations no longer apply. I—”

Charlie balked when he saw us staring at him. “I think of my net worth as a length of time. If I am worth $30,000, and my monthly nut is $3,000, then my net worth is 10 months.”

Now he had momentum. “With a bankroll in the millions, to determine its worth as a unit of time, I would need to take into account the bankroll’s long-range earning potential. If I invested the 10 million in stocks and real estate, chances are very good that I could live well off the capital gains forever without ever dipping into the 10 million. So if I were to blow the 10 mil, the amount of time lost would be my entire life. But if my bankroll is only $100,000, that’s not enough to be a self-sustaining nest egg, so if I lost it all, I’d only be losing a few years. And that is why the 5%-10% rule should not be applied to massive bankrolls.”

“Bravo,” Alf said, and a few of us clapped.

“Why thank you.” Charlie sat down, buzzing.
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