How to Build a Poker Bankroll as a Beginner

If you’re a new poker player wanting to deposit $50 and expect to turn it into $1,000 over night, just like Chris Moneymaker did build his bankroll, than you’ll be disappointed.

Unlike five years ago, where online poker was practically money for the taking, the game has gradually become a lot harder than before.  It’s not just that there are more better players but it’s also the fact that there’s all kinds of poker software such as “heads up displays” which you’ll have to become accustomed to in the low stakes games and upwards.  This, combined with limited deposit methods for US players has given online poker a bit of a slump in recent times.
However, I’m not saying that you can’t make money in online poker in 2011.  I’m just clarifying that it is not as easy as it used to be.  You CAN still build a bankroll from $0 up to $1,000 over the course of a couple of months if you have the time and patience to do so.
Unless you’re already familiar with the basic concepts and rules of poker (no limit holdem is the most popular variety) than I’d admonish making even a $10 deposit.  You’ll end up losing it in one go. Instead of making a deposit straight away, make sure that you do enough reading on basic concepts such as starting hands, table position, bluffing and bet-sizing.  There are a ton of poker ebooks or poker strategy sites such as which provide a range of free, accessible articles for you.

Build a Poker Bankroll in Freerolls

Once you’ve mastered the basic concepts then I recommend signing up to one or two poker sites to play in their freerolls.  
A lot of people (especially regulars) butcher freerolls or don’t take them seriously however I really think that they are the perfect way for new poker players to build a bankroll.  Freerolls are free to enter, have real cash prizepools (usually around $100 - $500), contains lots of easy/new players and most poker rooms will be running freerolls 24/7.
It might surprise you to learn that WSOPE champion Anette Obrestad built her entire $4 million bankroll from playing freerolls at Full Tilt Poker, and PokerStars – at one point she won some freerolls without even looking at her hole cards.

Free Bankroll Offers

If you want to cut straight into the action than there are a range of poker sites that provide free bonuses to players.  For example, right now you can get a free $8 bankroll just for signing up to 888 poker. There are no requirements for you to make a deposit or “clear bonuses”, you literally just sign up to 888 poker and you’re given free money.
After obtaining your free money you can then play in the real money cash games, SNGs or tournaments.  
The main problem with this method however is that if you’re not good enough than eventually you’ll still lose your free bankroll and you’ll have to start from scratch again anyway. Building a bankroll in freerolls is a lot more sustainable in my opinion – you can always rely on free bankroll offers at a later time.

Take Advantage of Poker Bonuses

When you’re finally ready to make a deposit, bonus whoring is a very crafty way of building your bankroll faster.  Bonus whoring means going from room to room clearing their deposit bonus requirements (e.g. 100% up to $600 or 110% up to $1100).
Bonus whoring poker rooms is perfectly legal and allows you to build a bankroll faster without costing you any money - you can use the bonus dollars to either supplement your current bankroll, help you to build it faster or even offset any of your losses.