How to build a bankroll from scratch in poker?

Poker game  (photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
Poker game
(photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
 
It is no secret that you need money to win money in poker. How big your bankroll is can go a long way to determine how frequently you call bluffs, how often you call down bluffs, how you make raises, and ultimately, how often you decide to fold.
But, of course, we cannot deny the fact that all poker players aren't created equal. While some players have got the big bankroll they need to play the game as they see fit, there are still some players that are too scared to risk their real money, and there are others who don't even have any money to risk.
For players that fall into these latter categories, we’re here to inform you that even with your stringent purses, you can still try your luck at poker, build a solid bankroll, and walk away with a handsome stash of cash.
This article covers some of the biggest steps you need to take to launch your poker journey, even with a zero bankrol
Five ways to get real poker money without a deposit
Like we mentioned earlier, you need money to win money in poker, meaning that before you can be allowed at any online poker table, you need to put some money on the table. But, of course, you’re here on this page because you don’t have any money to put on a poker table. No worries, here are five of the surest ways you can get free poker money to play with.
Freerolls
Freerolls are the surest way to go if you’re looking to build your bankroll from scratch. Once secured, you can use freerolls to enter tournaments with real money prizes. Yes, you won’t make millions playing the freerolls, no doubt. But with the little $5 - $10 you make from freerolls, you can enter the real money games.
Free Bankrolls
While freerolls will only offer you little money, free bankrolls are a great way to build a sustainable bankroll from scratch. Usually, most casino sites, including Dewa Poker online, offer a no-deposit cash welcome bonus to entice new players to sign up with them. With these bonuses, you can try out a couple of games on their sites and win real money. Sometimes, some sites can offer new players as much as $80 (in installments of $8 in tokens) to play with. 
Free to enter Sit N Goes
If you get lucky, you can sometimes find some online poker tournaments that are free to enter (that is, without no deposit). Although grinding these tournaments will require some work, patience, and ruthless gameplay from you, you could accumulate enough profit to play at the big money games.
Satellite tournaments 
Play-money players are often invited to enter free satellites to live events or big online championships. Entry to the bigger tournaments can sometimes be exchanged for ‘Tournament Dollars’ and broken down to smaller parts to take a shot at smaller buy-in real money tournaments.
Selling play chips online
If you’re a fan of play-money and you’ve played the game up to the point where you’ve accumulated large numbers of chips, you can sell these chips for real money in the market or through your casino site back-end.
How to win more money once you’ve secured your first poker cash?
Now that we've touched all the areas regarding how you can get free money in poker, the next step is how you can use this little token to make more money and build a sustainable bankroll.
So let’s say you’ve won $10 from the freerolls. What can you do with it? Should you just walk away with it, try another casino site to see if you can win another $10, and keep that up until you make hundreds of thousands of dollars? Far from it! 
$10 is not even enough to enter some games, let alone be called a bankroll. Instead, you need to use it to win more money. 
And here’s how!
Four real poker formats can be used to build a bankroll from scratch. They are:
  • Cash games

  • Fast-fold poker games

  • Poker tournaments

  • Sit N Goes

But as you might have guessed, each has its pros and cons and a different way of helping you build a bankroll. 
Cash games
With a bankroll as low as $10, cash games are the first direction you want to look if you want to win more real money quickly. For starters, you'd be playing the games with 1c/2c blinds. And most experts recommend playing at full-ring (9-player) instead of playing at flat-ring (6-player), because players in a full-ring setting are often easier to beat with a solid, basic strategy.  
Cash games are great for you to build your bankroll because it has the worst real-money players of any other poker game. Most of the players you’ll come across are weak, passive, and loose players, many of whom can be brushed aside with a few monster hands.
Tournaments 
With your $10 bankroll, you can enter a multi-table poker tournament time and time and again because most of these tournaments are played with stakes as little as 50c. And even with this low stake, players still end up walking away with handsome prizes.
You can expect most tournaments to not be as crazy as freerolls and even less difficult than higher buy-in games. But, on the downside, most poker tournaments are often typified by big, unforeseen swings, meaning that you can do everything right and still end up not winning any money despite trying multiple times.
Sit N Goes
Alternatively, you can walk into a sit n go tournament. And thanks to the diversity of the online poker world, there are now many variations of Sit N Goes. But be careful how you enter a sit n go tournament because having a basic strategy is sometimes not always enough. To build your bankroll with a sit n go tournament, you can hit the 9-player games where three players get paid. Again, you only need as little as 50c or as high as $1 to enter these games.
Fast-fold poker
This is a pretty good way to save your small bankroll from crashing down while still taking a shot at real money. You can find this format in both cash games and tournaments formats. In this format, players sit in a pool of players at their buy-in, and then each time they fold, they get sent to a new table where they have to start a hand with players at random from their pool. This format helps you get rid of junk hands and gives you a new shot every time you fold.
Want to win more money?
By now, your bankroll should be speaking in the hundreds, at least a hundred dollars. But is that where you want to stop? I doubt it! If you’re anything like many of the poker players out there, I’m sure you’d want to win more.
But before you do anything with your new, improved bankroll, I'd advised that you take a deep breath and step back from staking your money for now.
There are many bonus offers and exciting incentives on most poker sites available to those new players that are ready to make deposits upon signing up with them. So instead of worrying about how you want to risk your $100 on some higher buy-in games, you should be thinking about how you can take advantage of these exciting bonus offers.
Check out different poker sites and find the ones with the best bonus offers that best appeal to you. Usually, you'll find sites willing to offer you as much as a 200% welcome bonus. But be sure to read their terms and conditions before you proceed to sign up with them.
Adopt bankroll management 
Once you've found a way to multiply your bankroll with the bonuses on these sites, the next thing is to start employing bankroll management as you go back to try your luck at high buy-in games. Remember, it took a lot of work to build your bankroll from zero to whatever it is now, and you wouldn't want to lose all that in just one night.
As a general rule of thumb, once you walk into a poker site with your good-to-go bankroll, use the following guideline to decide how you want to stake your money.
Cash Games: only use 5% of your stake on any table.
Sit N Goes: Only play a maximum of 2% of your stake for a buy-in.
Tournaments:  Only play a maximum of 1% of your stake for a buy-in.