How to Build a $500 Poker Bankroll Fast (2024)

How to Get a $500 Poker Bankroll Fast
People ask me all the time how they can build a good bankroll fast. And the truth is that it is not so easy these days.

However, I would say that quickly building a $500 poker bankroll is still pretty doable for most people.

And a $500 poker bankroll is a great milestone to aim for because this allows you to start finally moving up the stakes a bit and feeling confident in your abilities.

Also, in these crazy times right now a lot of people are locked down in their homes looking for a way to make some extra money.

In fact, my latest YouTube video talks specifically about which games to play if you want to make $500+ per month with poker as a side hustle.

So, online poker is potentially a way to at least make a small part time income from home. But you need to build up your bankroll first!

So in this article I am going to give you my top 5 ways to quickly build a $500 poker bankroll.

Let's jump into it!

1. Play Micro Stakes Cash Games and Use Aggressive Bankroll Management

The best way to quickly build a $500 poker bankroll in my opinion is to play micro stakes cash games and be very aggressive with your bankroll management strategy.

What do I mean when I say the micro stakes cash games?

I mean the online poker games starting at 1c/2c blinds on most poker sites all the way up to 50c/$1 blinds. These are the games with a maximum buy-in of $2 all the way up to $100.

We typically refer to these cash games as the "micro stakes" because the amount of money involved is relatively trivial for most people and the competition is also the weakest.

No matter how experienced you are as a poker player I would still suggest starting at the very lowest stakes game, the 1c/2c blinds, also known as NL2.

By the way, you can find my complete guide on how to smash the NL2 games right here.

The reason I always suggest starting at the lowest stakes is because online poker is a totally different animal than live poker in the casino or private games.

Therefore, many people struggle with it at first.

You can also watch my 4-part series on YouTube to understand how to make the right value bets at the micro stakes like this, and also, when to make a tough fold.

These are the same strategies that I have used to create some of the highest winnings of all-time in these games by the way.

But the other thing is that we are going to use an aggressive bankroll management strategy.

Because after all, you can't build a bankroll "fast" unless you cut a few corners. So ideally, you won't actually be playing in these very small stakes games for very long.

The bankroll management strategy that I would suggest for quickly building a $500 bankroll is 20 buy-ins for each limit.

So this means that starting at NL2 with $40 (which is 20 buy-ins - $2 x 20 =$40) you will move up to the next limit when you have 20 buy-ins for the next limit:
  • NL5 (2c/5c blinds) - $100
  • NL10 (5c/10c blinds) - $200
  • NL25 - (10c/25c blinds) - $500

So as you can see, by using this aggressive bankroll management strategy, you will successfully achieve a $500 bankroll by the time you get to NL25.

For the average person who is dedicated to playing consistently and improving their game away from the tables, this can be done in a matter of months.

Now, it should be noted that there is some risk associated with any sort of aggressive bankroll management strategy.

And that is why it is important that if you run bad at NL2, NL5 or NL10 that you move down and allow your bankroll to recover.

But once again, even if you have to move down a few times, this is a surefire method to quickly achieve a $500 bankroll.

If you need more help with the correct strategy to use, I highly recommend downloading my free poker cheat sheet.

2. Play a LAG Style in Low Stakes Poker Tournaments

The next method for achieving a $500 bankroll fast that I would recommend is to play a LAG poker style in low stakes tournaments.

What do I mean by a LAG poker style?

By this I mean a loose and aggressive style of poker which is designed to quickly build up a large stack of chips and win a tournament.

This means:
  • Getting involved in a lot of pots especially in position.
  • Stabbing at lots of pots even when you have nothing.
  • Re-raising frequently both preflop and postflop even with weak hands.
  • Floating the flop with a weak hand in position, in order to take it away on the turn.
And so on.

Because the mistake that most people make when playing poker tournaments is playing too tight and waiting for the perfect spot to play a big pot.

And before they know it, they are whittled down to a tiny stack, they lose a coinflip, and they wonder why it is that they can never win a poker tournament.

Poker pros, especially tournament poker pros, know better than this though. By the way, if you want to know my complete strategy for low stakes poker tournaments, you can find that right here.

And the stakes that you should be playing are once again the lowest ones. I would recommend the $2 or $5 multi-table tournaments online.

With a very small bankroll of say only $100 you will have a ton of "bullets" (entries) to play. And usually, the first place prize in these tournaments will be $500, $1000 or even more sometimes.

This is why I highly, highly recommend playing a LAG style especially in the middle to late stages of the tournament in order to build up a large chip stack and win the tournament.

Because if you want to build a $500 bankroll quickly, you aren't going to achieve that by playing tight and min-cashing like everybody else.

You must remember that all the "real money" in poker tournaments is almost always in the top 3 positions, and especially first place.

So you need to steamroll these low stakes players and apply the maximum pressure on them especially in the middle stages and around the bubble

This will allow you to hit the final table with a big chip lead. And then from there you can proceed to smash them all and win the tournament.

A LAG style of play is not very simple to explain but it becomes more and more easier to implement once you get used to it.

You can find my complete guide to transitioning from a TAG (tight and aggressive), to a LAG (loose and aggressive play style right here.

3. Play Small Stakes Sit and Gos

My next strategy for you to quickly build a $500 poker bankroll is to play small stakes sit and gos. Now they typically start for as little as 25 cents in some cases online.

And the great thing about sit and gos is that compared to large multi-table tournaments, you don't have to beat nearly as many people in order to win one of these things.

Most sit and gos online involve only a few tables at the most and often just one. So you may only have to beat as little as 6 or 9 other players in order to win.

Also, just like in large field tournaments, the players in small stakes sit and gos tend to be incredibly weak. What I mean by this is that they play:
  • Very passively
  • Don't understand position
  • Don't understand the basics of value betting
  • Have poor starting hand selection
  • Chase every terrible draw
  • Call with any pair

Basically they make all of the classic mistakes of beginner level poker players. This is something that Daniel Negreanu for example discusses how to exploit in his MasterClass training program.

By playing small stakes sit and gos, if you can manage to take down a couple of these, you can start quickly building your bankroll up $5, $10, $20 or even $50 at a time.

This will allow you to quickly build a $500 poker bankroll.

Now you have to remember though that just like with poker tournaments, you are sometimes going to face a lot of stiff variance in sit and gos.

And what I mean by "variance" is the the natural ups and downs of the game. In other words, you can go a very long time without even cashing if you hit a downswing (bad run of cards).

It is extremely important that you keep your cool when this happens and keep making solid poker decisions.

Don't allow tilt to ruin your results like so many others. Poor emotionally charged decision making is the number one reason why people lose at poker.

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4. Play Heads Up Games and Hunt the Fish

The next way to quickly build a $500 bankroll is to play heads up versus the recreational players (fish).

The reason why this strategy works so well is because these are by far the easiest players to beat. They make massive glaring fundamental issues and by playing them heads up, you get to play every single hand against them.

In fact, playing against these players is so profitable that I even wrote an entire book on how to crush them.

Now, the downside to this strategy though is that it requires a lot of patience and a lot of waiting around and not playing in many cases.

And this is because you aren't the only one who wants to play these players heads up. Every good poker player does.

So in many cases, playing heads up poker these days often requires a lot of waiting around for the fish to join your table.

But I have also discussed a more proactive approach many times on this blog which involves hunting for them on short handed 6max and full ring tables.

Basically, what you do here is look for all 6max or full ring tables where there are currently only 2 or 3 players. Usually one of the players involved will be a fish.

Just observe a few hands at the tables and it will be immediately obvious who the fish is because they will be:
  • Limping in heads up (almost always a bad strategy)
  • Severely under-betting the pot
  • Calling down with tons of trashy hands
  • Never folding their big blind
And so on.

Once you spot the fish, immediately take the seat to their left. This is extremely important because there is a good chance that the table will fill up.

But if you have direct position on the fish, then you will still be able to get into a ton of hands against them, isolate them, value bet them and bluff them whenever you want.

By the way, if you play online and want to be able to spot the fish right away, I recommend using a good free poker HUD.

5. Take Advantage of First Time Deposit Bonuses by Signing Up at a Bunch of Different Poker Sites

This last strategy to quickly build a $500 bankroll can be highly effective if done correctly. Basically, almost every online poker site out there these days has some sort of a sign up bonus.

This is their way of saying "come play on our site, we will give you this bonus to play here."

So you should absolutely take advantage of this. I initially built my first bankroll by taking advantage of many of these bonuses.

Basically how they work is that in most cases they will release "free" cash bonuses as you play. These are entirely separate from whatever profit you make at the poker tables.

It is important to make sure you read the fine print though first because in some cases it will be difficult to release the cash bonuses if you are playing at the lowest stakes.

But even if you start at the lowest stakes like I suggest in this article, it is still a good idea to try and play on sites that offer large bonuses because once you do move up, they will help you build a $500 bankroll much, much faster.

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So it is important that you shop around when choosing which online poker site to play on and make sure that you go where you are being treated the best.

Remember that you are the customer and you have all the power!

6. Bonus Tip For Quickly Building a $500 Poker Bankroll - Play Satellites

Alright, here is a bonus tip for building a $500 bankroll that has really helped me out in the past as well. And that is to play satellites to large poker tournaments.

What is a satellite?

A satellite is a tournament (or sit and go) with a very low buy-in where the top few finishers will automatically earn a seat in a much higher buy-in tournament.

How to Get a $500 Poker Bankroll Fast

In some cases you can use the player points that you earn on many poker sites to enter these satellites. And then when you win, you can actually just un-register for the target high buy-in tournament and take the cash instead.

This is something that I have done on many poker sites in the past to quickly build up my bankroll because quite frankly, the players in these low level satellites tend to be very bad.

So in many cases, I find that I get a much higher percentage of "rakeback" from my player points by playing in these satellites than spending them on the cash bonuses.

You will have to decide if it is worth your time, but I think in most cases it will be.

Also, the other thing is that you can play satellites and actually play in the target tournament when you win.

This will allow you to play a high buy-in tournament ($100+), and potentially take down a very large score with a high finish.

Final Thoughts

So is it easy to quickly build a $500 poker bankroll these days? Well, yes and no.

I think that for the average person, if they stick to low stakes cash games, tournaments or sit and gos and use an aggressive bankroll management strategy, it shouldn't take that long.

You really don't need to even know much about advanced poker strategy in order to hit this target. Because the players in these games tend to be pretty bad and therefore easy to beat.

You also want to make sure that you are using a LAG play style in tournaments so that you are giving yourself the best chance at earning a high finish, preferably first place.

LAG stands for loose and aggressive and basically it is a play style in poker which is designed to put the maximum pressure on your opponents and build a big stack quickly.

Lastly, you should also look to take advantage of the first time deposit signup bonuses that many online poker sites offer, because this will really help you build up your bankroll quickly.

You should also look into low limit satellites to high buy-in tournaments. In many cases you can enter these just by spending your player points.

You can then un-register from the target tournament should you win, or actually play the thing and potentially hit a large score.

If you want to know my complete strategy for crushing small stakes poker games as a 10+ year poker pro, make sure you grab a copy of my free poker cheat sheet.


Let me know in the comments below what strategy you used to quickly build a $500 bankroll.

$500 Poker Bankroll


  1. Nice article, thanks! What kind of win rate (#bb/100) do you think is reasonable/necessary to move up relatively quickly in cash games?

    1. Thanks OR!

      I don't think there is one particular number that works for everyone. It is best to move up when you are a confirmed long term winner at your current stakes, you have the bankroll for the next limit, and you are feeling confident.

  2. what if I have bankroll for higher limits than 2nl 5nl but pokertracker shows me a loser at those levels?

    1. I would suggest that you continue playing at these stakes before moving up and fix the fundamental issues that are preventing you from winning.

      My free poker cheat sheet gives you the exact strategy to beat 2nl and 5nl. You can find it here:

  3. What online sites do you recommend

    1. I just teach poker strategy, I don't recommend sites.

  4. Unser more and more super loose winning players in the past weeks. VPP 45-55, PFR 10 or less. And usually they have huge stacks.

    So they limp into most pots, call down lots with draws and small hands. They always have something that has me beat. If I check and they check back down to the River, they usually hit it on the River or have nothing. And when I have something, the always have me beat with something ridiculous.

    Anybody else noticed those players lately? It feels like they are good players disguised as fish.

    What approach do you suggest against those players? Or is that maybe a technique to adapt in those times?

  5. Tighten up against calling stations and increase your value bet sizing. If they call your isolation raise for lets say 4bb with garbage, maybe they'll call 10bb aswell, do this on all street.