The Importance of Bankroll Management in Online Gaming

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If you’re going to avoid going broke then impeccable bankroll management is an essential part of online gaming survival. It’s something even the best players have to do in order to be able to carry on playing for longer and if you ask any pro for a priceless tip to for getting started, they’ll all tell you to practice your bankroll management.

What is bankroll management?

Being told you need to be a master of bankroll management is all well and good, but first you need to understand exactly what that means. If you’re unsure about what you need to get started then this guide to bankroll management should cover everything you need, but the first thing to recognise is that the contents of your bankroll should be the only thing dictating the stakes you’re playing with.

Your bankroll is essentially the money you have behind you which you’ve set aside specifically for gaming. When you’re just starting out, it can take a few months to build this up but it’s a fund that’ll ensure you can carry on even after a day of losses – providing you use it properly, anyway.

Your bankroll is for gaming and gaming only

The first and perhaps most important rule is that your bankroll is for gaming and that’s it. You need to be disciplined with all elements of your bankroll but first and foremost you should only be putting funds in there that you can afford to be without.

It is essential that this money is not required elsewhere; if it is don’t even bother playing with it because not only will you be gambling with money you can’t afford to lose, you’ll also stop yourself from playing at your best as you try to prevent losses.

Money is an essential

A chef cannot work without knives just as a mechanic cannot work without tools. A similar analogy can be applied to gaming, except in the world of online gaming the tool is money. You cannot play without money so the only way to play is to maintain your bankroll, manage it responsibly and play to your means.

Without money you can’t play poker, nor can you make money from playing poker. The first step to managing your established bankroll is to work out how much you can afford to lose. This amount will vary from player to player, and the amount really doesn’t matter, you should just be sure that you can afford to live should you lose it.

Reinvest or pay?

The way you use your winnings will essentially depend on what you feel comfortable with, and what your personal goals are. If you’re keen to continue building your bankroll and play professionally then putting all your winnings back into your bankroll will allow you to play bigger games and stakes much more quickly. However, if you’d prefer not to put all your eggs in one basket then pay yourself a proportion of your winnings and use the remainder to carry on playing.

Why is it so important?

Essentially, your bankroll is there to save you when you’re on a string of losses. They don’t happen very often but when they do, they can cause devastation to players who haven’t managed their bankroll properly. Bad beats are hard for any player to swallow though so here’s some advice on how to get over and avoid them.

It really doesn’t matter how good a player you are, poker is a long game and although in the end a good player will win far more than he loses, proper bankroll management will ensure that in those horrible downturns there will still be the funds to play.

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Posted on April 12, 2016.

Rob Gronkowski, Personal Finance Guru

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Today sports media will spend their billionth day talking about whether air was deflated out of football instead of using simple common sense. Now that we have simple independent scientific analysis it should be clear that it had more to do with Roger Goodell trying to maintain credibility.

(Sorry, had to get that out there.)

The footballs have gotten more than enough attention (the NFL's witch hunt could use a lot more, but I digress.)

And now for something completely different.

If you haven't heard of Tom Brady's teammate Rob Gronkowski (Gronk), you probably soon will. The runner-up for the EA Sports John Madden cover this year will be on an upcoming episode of Celebrity Family Feud and probably a few things.

Gronk is known as the ultimate party machine. Or maybe that's just his party bus. Sometimes it gets him into trouble with the media. For example, there was the time he partied after the Patriots lost the Super Bowl. Or the other time he was caught partying while injured. And then there were the PG-13 pictures of him with adult actress(?) Bibi Jones. He'd be the first to tell you that the media catches only 69% of his antics. That's just his style of humor.

The other side of Gronk is the hardest working gym-rat/athlete the world may ever meet. He's talented enough to be a legit MVP candidate, which is unheard of at the tight end position. As that article says, "Rob Gronkowski probably isn't a real human being." The best comparison to him physically is Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, except with 28% more DNA from The Hulk.

I've read and watched dozens of interviews with him and he seems to have a two-track mind: party and football.

That was until yesterday when Sport Illustrated wrote about a possible third dimension. They quoted him as saying:

"To this day, I still haven’t touched one dime of my signing bonus or NFL contract money. I live off my marketing money and haven’t blown it on any big money expensive cars, expensive jewelry, or tattoos and still wear my favorite pair of jeans from high school... I don’t hurt anyone (except Gord with the occasional kick to the groin), I don’t do drugs, I don’t drive drunk, I don’t break the law... I’m a 23 year old guy just looking to have a fun time."

(Gord is his father who has a very similar personality.)

When I started this article, I didn't realize the last sentence revealed that he was 23 when he said this. He's 26 now, so the information is a little old. Maybe he's spent more money now? Maybe this quote isn't valid anymore?

I'm thinking it might even be more valid.

My guess is that he hasn't spent more of that money now. Why? Because at age 23, his marketing money wasn't near what it is today. I'm sure that income has grown exponentially as his football résumé has grown. While some lifestyle inflation is to be expected, the marketing money growth can probably cover it and then some.

More importantly, think of how much financial sense the average 23 year old has... especially one that has come into a lot of money. Either he's smart himself or he surrounded himself with some wise advice at an early age.

This is in sharp contrast to the statistics from ESPN's 30 for 30:

"By the time they have been retired for two years, 78 percent of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress; within five years of retirement, an estimated 60 percent of former NBA players are broke."

I like stories where athletes are being fiscally responsible (Daniel Norris qualifies too). It seems like a rare commodity these days.

If Gronk continues to live off his marketing money and invests his contract money, his net worth will be the real Gronk Spike. Of course these aren't half bad either (sorry piggy bank):

Correction: The quote above is actually from Gronk's upcoming book It's Good to Be Gronk. I had just read it in the Sports Illustrated column. (Side thought: Even if all of it was ghost-written, I'm very embarrassed that Gronk will be a published author before I am.)

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Posted on June 23, 2015.

Is Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited A Good Deal?

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Amazon has just announced a new service, Kindle Unlimited.  For $10 per month, you get access to 600,000 books and 2000 audio books.  Is this a good deal?

Well, first of all, in classic Amazon style, there's a free 30 day trial.  Give it a spin and if you don't like it, just cancel.

What's included in Kindle Unlimited?  The "Big 5" publishers (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Simon and Schuster) are not included.  That eliminates a lot of best sellers ...  but the smaller publishers also publish a lot of good books.  According to Laura Hazard Owen, the following publishers are included: Algonquin, Bloomsbury, Harvard University Press, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Open Road Media, W.W. Norton, and Workman, among others.

Are any good series included?  Yep - Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Ed McBain's 87th Precinct are a few that immediately jump out.  There are even 46 books and stories by my favorite author, Lawrence Block .

Let's flip through a few more shelves.  Water for Elephants (if you haven't read it, I strongly urge you to read it), The Life of Pi, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Hangman's Daughter, Lawrence Sanders's Archy McNally series (which continues to grow, in spite of his death), Jim Bouton's seminal baseball book Ball Four, The Boxcar Children series for children ... suffice it to say, there's a lot to choose from.  A couple of other books that I had been intending to buy were displayed in Amazon's recommendations for me.

OK, I know what you're thinking.  "So what, Kosmo?  Scribd and Oyster have similar offerings at similar prices.  This isn't a game changer.  You're just being a shill for Amazon."

Audio books.  BAM.

I spend a lot of time in a car, and fill most of it with either podcasts or audio books, because most radio programming drives me nuts.  I recently moved to a smaller town, and I'll have access to a much smaller audio book collection in Overdrive.

The collection of audio books is much smaller - 2000 as opposed to 600,000 - but there are still some winners.  39 books in McBain's 87th precinct series!  That should fill a lot of commuting hours.  Unlike the library, there are no wait lists.

Is Kindle Unlimited worth it?  If you enjoy audio books and have a limited selection at your library, I think it's a pretty obvious slam dunk, considering the cost of audio books.  If you're a voracious reader, it could also make a lot of sense.  As mentioned earlier, it's not a comprehensive collection, but I found a lot of gems in the short time I spent poking around.  I signed first thing this morning and I suspect I'll waste a lot of time in the next few days just perusing the collection.

Amazon Prime Update - Amazon Prime has also seen some recent changes.  First, the price jumped from $79 to $99 per year.  Then Amazon added access to the Prime Music catalog of roughly one million songs.  You can listen in the cloud or download for offline listening.  Again, not comprehensive, but it's a pretty strong collection.  I had tried Prime once before and had canceled after the trial offer.  This time around, I think they have me hooked for good.

[Editor's Thoughts: The audio books are certainly tempting. I have a collection of regular books that I'd love to read, but never have the time to. I've gotten into podcasts recently, especially the awesome ones on Microblogger because I can listen to them while walking the dog or while doing some types of work (not writing). The audio books would be an extension of that. Unfortunately, it looks like the audio book collection is small. Since there are almost limitless podcasts that I'm now interested in might as well go the free route.

I'm surprised the pricing doesn't have a tie-in for Amazon Prime subscribers. It seems like a no-brainer to price it at $11 for non-Prime subscribers and $9 for Prime members. The idea would be use the non-Prime price to subsidize the Prime members a bit. It would be another thing to hook the Prime members in a little more... as Kosmo alluded to here. It also shows them a little love for being loyal Amazon customers.]

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Last updated on July 20, 2014.

The 15 Most Profitable Movies of All-Time

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I was listening to the radio in the car yesterday where I heard a local talk show discussing the most profitable movies of all-time. I made a mental note that I should write about it, when I got back home. Unfortunately for readers, just as I walked in the door I noticed a ball of yarn on the floor. After some play, which lead to some cat nip, I curled up in a ball for a nap. Waking up from the nap, the idea was gone.

Well the news of Elizabeth Taylor's death last has brought the idea back to the forefront of my mind. I went through Elizabeth's Taylor's movies and I sadly have to say that the only memorable experience that I had of her acting is as the voice for Maggie Simpson in one episode of The Simpson's. This is a time to remember the valuable entertainment that actors and movies bring to us. With that in mind, it is even more appropriate to look at the financial perspective of movies than it was 24 hours ago.

CNBC brings us the research of the 15 Most Profitable Movies of All-Time. There are a couple of different ways you could define that. I would define it as the one that netted the most money. CNBC chooses to define it as movies that percentage of gain for each dollar invested. Thus, in this list, it is better if you can turn a $100,000 movie into a million dollar movie than a million dollar movie to a 5 million dollar movie. Again, I'd rather have the $4M of profit than the $900K, but this analysis tends to make for a more interesting list in my opinion. All CNBC's money data is adjusted for inflation.

One big thing to note here is that DVD sales aren't included. Thus some of my favorites low budget movies like Clerks and Office Space get the short-end of the stick.

    15. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

    Return of the King made a 1008% return on the investment. The key to this seems to be that all the movies were shot at the same time, and most of the major actors were unknown. Orlando Bloom couldn't cash on his popularity (other than being swarmed by hordes of women). There are few other big actors or actresses. It's not like Liv Tyler's bit part was going to break the bank (though she'll still be one of my top actress crushes of all time).

    What they saved on actors, I imagine went to sets and special effects. After all it still cost over $100 million to make.

    14. Mrs. Doubtfire

    This was a movie that starred one major actor, Robin Williams and no complex sets or special effects. It's just great humor, suitable for the widest audience - the whole family.

    13. Something About Mary

    Cameron Diaz wasn't a leading actress until this role. Ben Stiller was mostly a TV actor. The budget was kept low and word of mouth pushed this into being a box office smash.

    12. The Hangover

    Following the Something About Mary plan, this movie was built around a bunch of no-name actors. It also was big on word of mouth. I heard about it because my wife heard about from a friend. I went with a friend who hadn't heard about it. Quite honestly, I went to a lot of movies that summer, and it didn't have ANY competition. It was worth seeing the movie twice before seeing almost any other movie once. I have bought one DVD of a movie that was in the theaters over the last five years. This was it.

    11. Jaws

    Jaws is one of the classic movies of all-time of course. The mechanical shark wasn't expensive and the actors were cheap. I think of it as the blockbuster movie that wasn't a blockbuster. If it were made today, I can imagine a ton of special effects making it expensive. Another thing to note was that with there being no PG-13 rating at the time, it slipped in a PG rating that made it suitable for families. Of course suitable is relative. The same movie rating system decided that Gremlins was suitable for a 8-year old Lazy Man - a mistake.

    10. Ghost

    The movie's budget came in at an inflation-adjusted $35 million. One might ask how it was possible to get established actors like Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze, and Whoopi Goldberg for this price. Demi Moore wasn't the leading lady that she would be become. Patrick Swayze had Road House tarnishing his Dirty Dancing success and Whoopi Goldberg was 5 years removed the Color Purple. I was shocked to hear that it made an adjusted $506 million at the box office. It was a very good movie, but I think I need a recount.

    9. Home Alone

    This was another budget movie. Joe Pesci was just starting to get popular with Goodfellas being released in the same year and My Cousin Vinny coming later. Macaulay Culkin was well, a kid actor who hadn't tone much. The set of a house wasn't expensive. Much of the humor was slapstick, so you didn't even have to hire witty writers. However, the concept was fairly original and suitable for the whole family - a lot like Mrs. Doubtfire.

    8. The Passion of the Christ

    I can't say much about this movie as I haven't seen it. However, I know quite a few people who went to see it, multiple times.

    7. American Beauty

    This is one of those cases where you have an established actors Kevin Spacey (Se7en, Usual Suspects, The Negotiator) and Annette Bening signing on because of the script. The characters were unique and noteworthy enough to garner many awards. It was one of those movies that as an actor you take as a B-level actor in hopes of becoming A-level. The Beauty (pun intended) is that it only cost an adjusted $20 million to make. Mena Suvari's bit part in the movie probably would have been worth that alone.

    6. Star Wars Episode IV

    I never realized that Star Wars' budget was so low. It was just an inflation adjusted $40M. That played a key role in profitability. The box office total was $775 Million. I'm not sure if that includes re-releases of movie though. If so that would also play a key role.

    5. Grease

    The original article mentions, both John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John "were major stars." I'm going to have to take CNBC's word for it, because at the age of 2, I wasn't into movies. I didn't see Olivia Newton-John in anything else big before it. It seems she was more famous for her music. John Travolta with his role in Welcome Back Kotter, but also Saturday Night Fever, would have been like signing Ashton Kutcher early in his career - you could probably get him for a good price.

    Of course the movie became extremely popular with kids with people seeing it multiple times. However, the key to making it this high on the list was keeping the budget at 20M.

    4. Pretty Woman (15th Anniversary Special Edition)

    Richard Gere had been pretty far removed from his big role in An Officer and a Gentleman. It was Julia Roberts first leading role. The lack of special effects and expensive scenes kept the costs to down to an adjusted $23 million. So when in became the hit of the year, it earned this high ranking.

    3. Slumdog Millionaire

    With no big stars or sets, the film cost an adjusted 15M to make. The movie had wide appeal. Not only was a good family movie, but it was a good ethnic movie. When you have a story good enough to win the Academy Award for Best Picture and spend so little making it, you are going be quite successful.

    2. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial

    The article makes a great point that at this time Spielberg could sell just about anything he made due to his prior success. He had a great story that didn't require expensive actors. The article makes particular mention that it ran in theaters for months. I remember it running for years near me. It was the only movie that I remember not being able to get into for months and months.

    The only surprise here is that it isn't #1.

    1. My Big Fat Greek Wedding

    Huh, that's a surprise, isn't it? Maybe it isn't. The small indie movie only cost an adjusted $6 million to make. So at 1/3rd the cost of Slumdog Millionaire it benefited from having similar success. The key to this success was keeping the denominator low with no-name actors and sets. It was an entertaining movie suitable for the whole family that resonated with people who weren't Greek.

Final Analysis

There are a few things all these movies have in common. They don't have a ton of A-list actors and actresses. You don't see an Ocean's Eleven in there. In addition you'll see that costs were kept low. Of course the methodology of looking at percent gain versus dollar gain gives benefit to those movies with more room to grow.

It is a little bit like investing in small cap. stocks. You may get profits from the big companies, but you aren't likely to hit the home run with outstanding growth that this analysis measures.

Article Hat Tips: CNBC's 15 Most Profitable Movies (via: Sarah and Vinnie and MovieFone)

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Posted on March 23, 2011.

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