Razz Money and Bankroll Management
In any game of gambling or poker, bankroll management is very important. Experienced and successful razz poker players know how to manage their money properly and profit in the long term much better. Money management ties in closely with strategy because sometimes you need a big chip stack in order to use power over other players with a smaller chip pile. This is especially true if you are playing no limit razz or a game where players can go all in. This is especially true for high stakes ring games and tournaments as well.
One thing to note is that managing your bankroll and chip count has different strategies involved if you are playing in a casual ring table game or if you are playing in a major tournament. Also, since razz is a type of stud game, there will be a high level of variance involved, so there are likely going to be many people staying in the hand all the way to the showdown. This is why one of the main strategies is to get as many people out early in the round and to go heads up against only one player in order to increase your chances of winning. This is where money management comes in, especially if you are staying long into big hands.
Management for Cash and Ring Games
First we will talk about getting control of your money and your bankroll with regular cash or ring games. These are just casual tables where people can join and leave at any time without forfeiting anything. For example, these tables are often indicated by $1/$2 blinds and allows between 6 or 8 people to a table. A good bankroll is equal to about 400 BB (Big Blinds) on average. So on a $1/$2 table, this would be roughly $800 to start off with.
Note that almost everyone uses much less than this until you get into high stakes. In fact, most people use between 20 BB and 50 BB on the $1/$2 table, which would be bankrolls about the size of $40 and $100. In a fixed razz table game, the most you can really lose is around 16 BB or $32 on this table in a single hand. So it is wise to have a bankroll larger than $32 so you can make the maximum profit on a large hand. If you have something like 400 BB, then you can consistently use any strategy that you would like. Just to be clear, 400 BB is how much money you should have in your total bankroll or how much you deposit, not how much you bring to the table in a single sitting unless you choose to.
Chip Management for Tournament Games
Tournaments for razz use a whole different system than ring games. Usually, tournaments will always give you 1500 chips to start off with, so there isn't much control over how you can manage your chip count. What you can control is how much money you are going to deposit into your bankroll. If you are a tourney oriented player, a good bankroll is equal to 100 buy-ins. For instance, if you plan on spending most of your time playing at the $5 tournaments, then $500 should be your bankroll (100 x $5). This is a good figure for those who are very serious about tournaments. If you just casually join them every once in awhile, then this isn't much of a big deal unless you have high buy-in limits.
If you are into the sit and go tournaments, then a good bankroll is about 50 buy-ins worth of money. So if you enjoy $5 tables, then $250 would be an excellent figure to have in your total bankroll.
The reason this kind of money management is important is because you do not want to run out too early before you are even warmed up. You also want to be playing with a big chip count in order to maximize your winnings without having to go all-in constantly. If you start getting too low, it might be a good idea to head down to lower stakes in order to get better at the game. Personally, I like joining razz tables with the minimum amount of money and working my way up.
A few more tips to get a bigger bankroll
Depositing money isn't the only way you can manage to get a bigger bankroll. In fact, you can sometimes get a 100% match bonus or even more at highly popular poker rooms. So if you need a 400 BB or $800 bankroll, just deposit $400 and you will get 100% more or a free $400 for a total of $800. Another way to get free money and build up a higher bankroll is to use your frequent player points (FPPs) at PokerStars.com. These are points earned from playing often and being involved in large pots. The higher limit rooms you play in will give you more FPPs. You can exchange these for free buy-ins to tournaments or free bonus cash, not to mention the hundreds of other things. If you are a serious poker player, you can get higher VIP statuses and earn a higher rate of FPPs than normal, meaning more money for your bankroll.