Playing above your bankroll is one of easiest ways to go from a profitable poker player to a losing player very quickly. Playing with money that you are afraid to lose will affect your game no matter how skilled of a player you are. Scared money changes your focus from playing solid poker to worrying about losing your chips. Anything that distracts you from playing your best will keep you from winning.

Playing with a Short Stack

If you are playing above your bankroll you are likely to have a comparatively shorter stack than the other players. Playing with a short stack will make you vulnerable to those players with deeper stacks and bankrolls. Your fear of losing money will allow them to eat away at your chips with aggressive play. When a player buys-in to a table at the table minimum it is a sign of playing with scared money. If your bankroll allows for a $150 buy-in at a 2/4 table your stack should be twice the size when you’re playing at a 4/8, in other words $300.

Withstanding Variance

Variance refers to the ups and downs of the poker game. A skilled poker player must judge not just each hand but also the long game decisions that will make them money. Sometimes this means calling with ten to one odds if the pot is right. If you are playing with scared money your sight in this area is shortened and it is nearly impossible to make these calls for fear of putting your bank roll at risk.

Opponents will Take Advantage

A skilled opponent should easily be able to spot a player with scared money and is keen on applying pressure. They will continue to try and push you out of pots. Your opponents will also have a stronger read on your good hands, as scared money means tighter play and a smaller hand range. If you’re scared to call big bets you’ll always be at a disadvantage.

Staying Away from Playing with Scared Money

To keep yourself from playing with scared money you should always keep track of your bankroll. Make sure you update how much you have in your bankroll regularly. Second, never play with money that you have not already set aside for playing poker. You want to make sure you have plenty of room in your bankroll for bad swings.

Change your focus from how much money you win or lose to making the right decisions. If you play solid poker you will make money over the long run. Poker should not feel like a job or cause you fear.  To stay away from playing with scared money you should focus on enjoying the game and improving your play.

Listen to the advice above and never worry about losing money due to variance again. Your bankroll will grow and you’ll be sure to enjoy your time at the poker table.

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