There are times we are playing for higher stakes than our bank roll allows. There are times, where we get busted and not even have money left to play for. To an addicted professional gambler this is much more serious than actually having money to pay for food and other bills. If you must play these high stakes to pay for your expenses... Then you are probably in the wrong business and would do better with a work and/or have lesser expectations of your results. This article is especially dedicated to whom the money won or lost makes a big difference in the ability to play again.
What is bank roll management?
To me it means protecting your bank roll. In other words, it means not to risk too large an amount in one session or one game. To have your own rules before we play and follow them. In the heat of a battle, anybody could lose self control or simply evaluate some factors wrong. That goes for even the best of us. There are times, where the best option is to not play, though it may seem as unclear as it can. To get straight on the topic. In general I recommend you to play with a limit of 8-16 points in the game. I recommend you to have at least 100 points of the stakes you are playing. If you go any lower than this, you will have a pretty good chance of getting busted. It might not happen today or in one session. But it sure will happen sometime in the future. Your only obtion to defend is to play for a lesser amount of your bankroll per point. This regardless of you being a great favorite. 100 points is a great rule, because it is so easy to remember 100. Sometimes more and sometimes less can do it. Some fundamental factors to evaluate:
1) How big is your advantage in the game. This includes expenses.
Your expected win/loss in a session usually changes. When you are the best player, usually your advantage is better the longer the session is. This is because weaker players do not have ability to concentrate about backgammon for that long a time. And weaker players go on tilt more easy. You as a strong players are suposed remain cool. If you go on tilt, then just quit. There is always an other day to play a new game. Be aware that your advantage changes in the game and it is not always in your favor. The bigger your advantage, the lesser bank roll you need to play in the game. With a advantage of 0.1 per game and all expenses paid, I recommend you to have at least 100 points of bankroll when you take a shot at a higher stake. And if you lose at most half of it, then you should go down in stakes. What happens if the advantage is greater than 0.1 per game? You probably need an advantage of at least 0.3 per game to go down to 80 points of bank roll. And in a game with an advantage of 0.5 you probably need at least 60 points of bank roll. The higher amount of your bank roll you are risking per point, the more important it is with a low limit.
You must consider eventual rake when you consider your advantage in the game. If the rake is 5% per game and you are playing 25$ per game. Then in average 5$ per game is paid to the server per game. You are winning half these games, so you are paying 2.5$ per game to the server or 10% of the 25$ you are playing for. Therefore you can say. If you are paying a rake of 5% you must subtract twice as much from your expectation. A rake of 2.5% eats 0.05 of your juice and 5% turns into 0.1 of your expectation etc. Also you must consider other expenses that sometimes are there, and other times not. I am thinking of expenses such as hotels, travels, restaurents etc. And if you are a pro simply the money you need to live. It all adds up and it adds up by a lot.
2) Limit on the game can change how much can be won or lost in a session.
In the old days Danny Kleinmann wrote you needed 200 points of bankroll. It is kind of difficult for me to understand. He played at a time, where it was common with high cubes. You must also take into consideration if you have a volatile style or not. Are you taking deep? Are you doubling early or late? If you are on the aggressive part, where you are doubling early and taking deep. You probably need the 200 points of bank roll Danny Kleinmann recommends. And not only that. If your opponent is the volatile type. Then you need even more. I can tell you this. If you got a conservative style. And your opponent is an aggressive player. And the stakes are high according to your bankroll. You will have a lot less advantage, as his early doubles will be correct, as there is a good chance you are passing. Hhis deep takes are still bad, but you will suffer, due the increased volatility. So if your opponent is aggressive, then better stick with more points on your bank roll.
Also notice I have not considered chouettes yet. In chouettes you are not in control of many of your decisions. You will also experience bigger swings in chouettes. A lot also depends on the persons in the chouette. So you could easy need at least 500 points of bank roll to play in a volatile short handed chouette and probably 1000 points of bank roll in a big volatile chouette. Notice your advantage is smaller in a chouette and the results are a lot more volatile.
In todays new era of backgammon limit games have become common. I do feel tempted to say, that in a no limit moneygame, it is a bit like gamling if you are against a volatile opponent. You risk very high cubes. So better stick with the limit and you will never lose more than your budget allow. I recommend you to have at least 8 points of limit when you play, so your recubes can win gammon. And when you have a limit of 16 points, it starts to become real backgammon again. When you get higher than this, a lot argues for you need a higher than 100 point limit in a game. The exception is of course when you are playing low volatile opponents who double late and pass border line decisions. Here you need only at least 100 points.
3) When you win. What is your chance of getting paid.
On the internet the server you play on will make sure you always get paid. This is part of game. You pay a high rake to the server and they take care of your investment. Though many people do not consider this important.It is a factor that should always be considered.
What happens when your opponent beavers you almost every game and he doubles after the first roll? Oh yes, this is juicy. I can tell you this. When you see this an alarm should go on. Your chance of getting paid in full has decreased a lot. Some times you will get paid a lot later, which is temporary bad for your bank roll. But not only that. Getting paid late can hurt your emotional state of mind. Getting paid late is bad. And sometimes when you get paid late, you dont get paid in full. Or you simply forget about it.
Did you consider the chance the server might confiscate some or all your money? You probably believe you have followed the rules on the server. But in the end, not you, but they decide what happened. When your friend had problems depositing and you transferred to him by losing straight to him so he had money to play, you might have thought you helped everybody. But in fact the server might consider this as chip dumping or manipulating your rating down. The same could be true when you are having a bad beat. The people making important decisions to pay you, might not know anything at all about backgammon. Might not see any other things than what their minds chose to see.
4) Chance of not being cheated.
Depending on your cultural background. Cheaters are there in every shape. At some point I will write an article more closely about cheating. When you are cheated, most often you dont know and will never find out about it. Here are some areas, where you can be cheated. Scoresheet, draws, people playing together in chouettes, illegal moves whether you are looking or not, loaded dice, neural networks on an online server, someone else playing from somebody elses internet account, super users (ability to see the roll before it is rolled and many more. And also the chance of not being hustled. You must always rely on your own information. People might lie to induce you to a game, which you should avoid.
In matches it is important how long the match is. The longer the match. The greater is your advantage. In a DMP I recommend you to have a bank roll of 50 matches. In a 9 point matches 25 should be enough. I have not that much experience with money match sessions. It seems low to me. An advantage in a match session, is steam control and not losing too much in one session is a lot easier. And with a lot bank roll it is important not to increase the stakes when you are losing.
6) What is your steam control like?
What is your ability to not steam or go on tilt. Some go on tilt very easy. Where others control themselves a lot easier. Your actual score on the scoresheet and how the latest game(s) have been are usually major factors, as well as how long you have been playing for. Also be aware, that problems in your personal life can play a role here. You must know yourself better than others know themselves. You must also understand. That sometimes it does matter your opponent is on tilt. But the more important factor is whether you yourself is on tilt. If you both are on tilt it is a very tricky cocktail and usually better to avoid playing. There are exceptions to this of course. But usually the advice is to stand up and not risk hurting your bank roll. The larger your bank roll, the less important this is.
How can we spot whether we are on tilt or not? It is quite easy. Are we getting annoyed by things we usually dont. Is the music too loud? Do we get upset when people are talking to us? Do we get distracted easy? Are we remembering the big swings, rather than focusing on the reasoning factors? Do we care about the pip count? Are we counting the shots? What is the speed of our decisions? Is our body temperature hot? Did we drink alcohol?
The higher your steam control, the more you can abstract from the factors and remain cool in the heat of the battle. When you see the red flags rising. Take a break or just quit. Very few people are able to ignore tilting when the tilting signs are there.
7) Never lose too many points in one session/day.
When we lose something inside us happens. Rather than thinking in numbers, percentages and reason, we get emotional. In other words we go on tilt. Everybody has a point getting emotional. When ever you get emotional you are not making rational decisions anymore. Better you have a limit to how long you will be playing. If you are playing in a game with a small advantage like 0.1 you are probably better off to quit playing when get down about 20 points on the scoresheet. There are people who can go on. There are people who go on tilt a lot easier than that. To those who go on tilt easy. It is better for you to play just short sessions of 5-10 games. The more experienced you get, you can move up in the number of games. Also notice the amount of time you have played makes a difference.