Bankroll Management for Sports Betting
By Yaniv Son
Whether it’s in poker or sports betting, bankroll management (BRM) is the single most important factor in a player’s likelihood of success.
That’s because even if you were to start off as a truly horrific player, practicing strict BRM will provide you with the time needed to begin evolving and developing as a profitable player (assuming some self awareness and a desire to improve).
Without BRM, the odds of turning a profit long-term are slim.
So now that we’re in agreement about the importance of proper BRM, what is the best approach to maximizing your odds of success? Well, as with most things in life, the answer is ‘it depends.
General wisdom dictates that you keep 100 units (or ‘buy-ins’ in the case of poker) in your bankroll at all times, meaning that whatever amount you set aside for betting (a bankroll independent of your ‘life-roll’ is a must), divide it by 100 and that’ll equal one unit.
However, if you have absolutely no way to replenish your roll if the worst should happen, or if the thought of losing the entire lot feels particularly painful, a 200-unit bankroll never hurt anyone either.
From there comes a bit more of the ‘art’ side of betting, where you have to decide for yourself how many units you’re willing to risk on each bet. Because while scammy Twitter ‘touts’ will make it seem like betting 10-units per game is the standard, the reality is that – assuming 1 unit = 1% – betting any more than 2 or 3 units on a consistent basis will inevitably run into a tough bout of variance and clean out your account in a hurry.
So whether you want to bet 1 unit across the board, or set yourself a hierarchy of 0.5, 1, and 2-unit bets (the latter of which should be the exception rather than the norm), smart BRM dictates you bet small, bet consistently, and reduce (not increase, as most people do) your bet size any time you lose a significant portion of your bankroll.
By practising proper bankroll management in this way, you’ll put yourself in a situation conducive to learning and growing as a bettor without the stress of a fast-dwindling bankroll.