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Texas Holdem : Closing your Leaks

We have all heard the term leak as it relates to the game of poker. Closing your leaks is something we should all be conscious of if it applies to your poker game. Just in case you are not familiar with what a leak is I will define it for you.

Leak: any activity that is detrimental to your bankroll. Unnecessary spending of bankroll money on activities not related to poker or paying necessary bills.

The bottom line is that the poker lifestyle of both amateurs and professional poker players alike can be a very entertaining and expensive one if not kept in check. Even the small rollers like to go out and party and have a great time. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with going out and enjoying your hard earned money grinding away at the $2 /$4 Limit Texas Holdem game you play religiously every weekend or even every day for some. However, when you are having such a great time that your bills are not being paid or your bankroll is now down to one – third of what it should be simply because you lacked the discipline to stop spending or gambling then you have a serious leak. Not good!

I have seen guys win $10k in a No Limit Texas Hold’em multi-table tournament and then go blow it all in the sports betting parlor next door on the sport of their choice.

Bizarre?

Perhaps.

Does it happen?

Absolutely!

I also see very good players drop hundreds and even thousands of dollars at the roulette wheel and in the craps pit for no apparent reason other than the fact that they love to stay in action. The problem is not the fact that a poker player may enjoy some other game in the casino. The problem is that the player does not understand the overall impact of over indulging in any activity that can adversely affect their bankroll. Remember, bankrolls are not the easiest thing in the world to build up. You should be protecting yours at all times from frivolous spending or reckless endeavors that can potential put you out of action for long periods of time.

So how do I protect my bankroll?

There are a few ways to go about protecting your bankroll but each method requires the player to maintain financial discipline. Speaking for myself I will give you my secrets for maintaining my bankroll. Feel free to pick and choose the methods that work best for you.

1. Never take more to the casino than you intend to play.
2. Never pull out more from your cash box than you intend to use.
3. Stop playing games with –EV like Roulette and slot machines.
4. Find other activities outside of the casino to enjoy that do not involve gambling. Hiking, bike riding, golf, swimming or just about any other activity that you can simply enjoy being relaxed.
5. Hang out with players that share your bankroll philosophy.

These activities are all things that have become fairly routine for me. In other words I don’t have to think about how I am going to approach a tournament or cash game in relation to my bankroll. I know that I am going to that particular casino to play in that cash game or tournament and I take the amount necessary to do so. The same rules apply to my cash box. I never take out more than 2 buy-ins for cash games just in case I get drawn out on or take a bad beat. If the game is juicy you probably want to buy back in immediately. If I lose my second buy-in no matter what the circumstances I am disciplined enough to leave the table. It’s just not my day that day. No big deal. It happens.

If you can make a few very conscious decisions to close any leaks you may have you will find that your bankroll will remain intact a lot longer than most and that is how you grow it over the long hall. Remember, the more partying you do the more pressure it puts on you to win. Be smart and protect the most valuable tool you have – your bankroll.

Curtis Mayfield III