Playing online poker can be fun, even exciting, but many people lose more money than they can afford to when they are comfortably playing on a cyberspace poker site in the privacy of home. This may be, in part, due to the fact that losses in the virtual world never seem as bad as they do in the real world. Or perhaps it's because the losses aren't as physically immediate. The average online poker player does not feel the pain that offline players feel when the chips that were just in his hand are now being stacked in front of an opponent.
Online poker can be a very costly hobby if you don't keep close track of your wins and, especially, your losses. If you find that you are consistently losing more than you are winning, perhaps it's time to take a breather from the game until you feel your skill level and luck have changed.
If you can't afford the financial losses, then play poker in the play-money games. Otherwise you will be playing with scared money, which is money that you cannot afford to lose, especially if it's for your rent or mortgage.
Luck seems to be elusive: Just how much more money am I willing to invest without risking the quality of my life?
First, you have to figure out exactly how much money you can afford to lose without straining your finances. Then ask yourself what game and limit you feel you do best in. Then decide if you would rather play in tournaments or cash games. One of the benefits of tournament play is that you know exactly how much money it will cost you to enter. And if you are lucky enough to finish in the money, you will be well on your way to feeding your starving online cash account.
If you do not know how to figure out how much money you should have on deposit, one school of thought is that it should be ten times the amount of the big blind. Therefore, if you play in a $4/$8 Limit Texas Hold'em game, you would need at least $80 at your disposal. Another school of thought says that you should have at least 100 times the small blind in your account. Then you would need a deposit of $400 in your account for the same game.
I want to play in a no-limit game but I'm afraid that I could lose all my money in just one hand. Is that possible?
You may very well lose all your money in just one hand, and quite possibly the one and only hand you play. So to protect your bankroll, play only in games where you feel comfortable, play only the premium cards, and gamble only with money you know you can afford to lose.
Tournament play also needs a bankroll, and this bankroll should be larger than your non-tournament poker games if you plan on playing in the better and larger buy-in tournaments on a regular basis. The size of your online poker account should depend on how much disposable income you are willing to invest, what limit you're playing in, and whether or not you can withstand bad beats with a modicum of self-control. If not, you could be setting yourself up for losses that you cannot afford.