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Sun137 has generally provided a well-designed course for understanding bankroll management in poker. Here is an excerpt for your benefit. If you want to see the whole series go to www.TournamentIndicatorForum.com and look for the Bankroll section.

The great Gary Player, when called a lucky player at one of the major golf events, smiled as he turned to his (idiot) accuser and said 'it's funny, the more I practice the luckier I get' and went on to win another major title.

Poker is the same (as is anything competitive). There may currently be legal challenges (in the UK) to decide if Poker is a game of skill or luck, but in reality, for the individual, it is far more than that.

It is a continuous path of application and learning, combined with an ability to master our emotions in the face of misfortune and maintain a cool head to allow a proper analysis of the next hand - because we only have about 5 seconds to pull ourselves together before the cards are dealt and making good decisions on a consistent basis is the NUMBER ONE factor that produces a growing bankroll with (ultimately) a successful poker career.

But how do we reach this point?

I stated in part 3 you are on a poker degree course. Some of us will come out with 1st class honors, some with 2nd class, some with 3rd class and some with a pass. The level is not important, as long as you pass - because a pass means you are a profitable poker player. You are maybe not as profitable as the 1st class honors guy, but so what? You are profitable, and 95% - yes 95% of poker players online are not. For a huge number of reasons, but mainly because they do not apply themselves, do not take the time to 'learn, play, review, repeat'. There is a huge amount of information available to learn the game properly, online, in forums, in poker books, videos, lots of sites to practice at with little or no risk - but there are probably 10 times the number of poor players (fish, hare, gifthorse, call them what you will) out there than when there was limited information available. The current release of the Dan Harrington Cash game books will not help them, because by their nature, poor players will not read them.

Learn, play, review, repeat. Forever. That is now you do it, for it is a process of continuous improvement.

In part 1 I showed you the basic model/guideline for a cash game bankroll builder.

In part 2 I outlined the many elements required to build a proper structure for a multigame bankroll.

In part 3 I showed you how to put it all together with examples and identified the cut off point for moving from a 'training stage' poker player with no bankroll to a profitable player with a new 'starting' bankroll.

Now we look at training and analysis in more detail.

The training period, IMHO, is a minimum of 6 months. If it takes you longer, that's ok. we are all different. When you start to become consistently profitable and build a BR (as advised in part 3) your training period is over. But if you, later on, bust your BR, you are BACK in training mode - because if you are rigidly following the BR guidelines you should NEVER (well 95% of the time) totally bust out.

What is included in the training period and how much does it cost?

I take it for granted you have computer, printer and internet connection. We use these items for our everyday life, so they are not part of the cost. However the following ARE all included:

Poker Books...............$200 (not all at once)

As you learn different aspects of the game (and different games), you need a book (or books) for reference. Yes, you can browse the internet, but you do need about 3/4 books per type of game during this period. I have about 20 I still use as core reference and I will buy any new books that I perceive will help me improve my game. But $200 over 6+ months is a good starting point. Marty has a very good book review site, so I will not compete with his listing here (there are some I have he doesn't list).

A training site............$100

Every poker site has play games. Don't waste your time, it bears no relation to real poker. You need somewhere to practice that will give you advice and as near a real life game as possible. Poker School online is good, Turbo Texas Holdem is another simulation option, but there is only one place to go (IMHO) and that is Poker Academy. It is the most advanced simulation software on the market, light years ahead of the market and has a 'real' feel to it with online advise as you play. If you watch Marty's poker strategy videos and want to try out some moves, PA is the play to do it. They have a downloadable version 2 for around $100.

Software....................$300

Before you go into the competitive poker world with your 'new' bankroll, following successful training, only a player who is going to lose does so without any software. There are a huge number of poker calculator software aids out there (Marty has another site reviewing them) but not all are any good. But what do you need? There are 4 areas:

Statistical assistance for Cash games
Statistical assistance for SNG/MTT
A database to record all your hands and provide analysis of play
A specialist database to analyse specific areas of your game.

I have used a number of aids over the years, but currently the following mix is by far the best (again IMHO):

Holdem Indicator (for statistical assistance in cash games)
Tournament Indicator (for statistical assistance in SNG/MTT)
Poker Tracker (a database/analysis tool - records all your hands)
PAHud (on screen statistical display linked to Poker Tracker)
Prospector (a top of the range specialist database to analyse your game).

(Poker Office 2 is a database/statistical aid I did use but it has too many crashes after updates)

I have provided a detailed description of how I use these software aids elsewhere, but basically I use PAHUD/PT/HI for my cash games and PAHUD/PT/TI for my SNG/MTT. I use PT as my main database and export areas I wish to analyse to Poker Prospector (part of the Poker Academy software family) for detailed review.

All the above programs can be purchased within the $300 budget. I recommend using them during the training period, as you will be fully experienced using them when you go 'live' with your new BR and they will also improve your skills/ability during training.

Poker Videos.................$400

I only recommend this towards the end of your training and beyond. Sign up to one of the numerous training sites (Marty has a site recommended) only when you have a broad understanding of the game, its terms, style of play etc. Otherwise your money will be wasted. poker Videos build on existing knowledge gained by your own hard work and research, they are not an easy route to learn quickly and bypass the hard graft. During my maths degree, the tutor would give us printed notes to learn, but make us write them out, because when you do that it stays in your mind as you are thinking as you write. If we just read the notes, a lot of the information would drift. So do the hard graft, then sign up to the site, because by then you will have a solid foundation and know what they are talking about.

It is a nice round number ($1000) but I believe it to be a good estimate of the money required to learn the game during the initial stages of your poker career. There are always offers linked to software (usually to sign up to sites) and that is fine, as you are usually on limited funds at this stage, so take advantage of the offers - but choose your site/games carefully to tie in with the type of practice you want.

You have (as defined in part 3), a minimum of 200 hours training to undertake. This is a slight understatement as the 200 hours refer to gameplay only. There is another guideline here:

For every hour at the tables during training, equal time should be allocated to reading/research, practice and review. (Play on Poker Academy is part of this element, as the 200 hours at the tables only refers to live tables).

Therefore the training total is 400 hours. If it seems a lot, it isn't. This is a poker degree. It is real money you want to play with. If you do not want to put in the time, go to the bookies, give your money to charity or (worse Smile ) your partner to spend. The 800 hours can be as long as you want. 6 months (30 hours a week), 1 year or more.

Now you know why 6 months is the minimum time period..................

I hope this is of help to you. In part 5, I will look as some of the key elements we use to analyse our game and make the right decision regarding the game you should be playing.

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