I've always had a policy of never playing poker with grocery money. In reality this means I have never and will never play poker with money that is needed for other things. In other words I only play poker with money I can afford to lose. Money that I can't afford to lose is what I call "grocery money". While this may seem like a no-brainer for most of you it always amazes me how many people are gambling with money they can't afford to lose.
I ran into a guy one night that had "got broke" at the casino that very night. The money he had lost had been set aside to pay the car note and now he didn't know what he was going to do. His wife wasn't speaking to him and indications were that his marriage was on the rocks as a result of his ill advised adventures.
I had a good friend whose long standing marriage had withstood infidelity including an illegitimate child but was destroyed by her gambling (not poker) addiction.
I have another friend who plays a lot of tournament poker and some cash games. He tells me he budgets $5000 per month to play poker and $5000 for each tournament series he attends. The difference here is that he can afford to lose $5000 each month and never even begin to touch grocery money. He has a thriving business that can easily support his hobby.
My wife reads from time to time about some young guy that has just won a lot of money playing poker and sometimes wonders aloud why I haven't hit it big. The reason is simple. I don't play in big tournaments because my poker bankroll won't support the entry fees and I refuse to use grocery money to enter a tournament. It's not that I don't consider myself a good gamble. (At this writing I have won four of the last thirteen tournaments I've entered. See my blog "To Chop Or Not To Chop" to fully understand what I mean when I say "won" a tournament.) I just simply WILL NOT gamble with money I can't afford to lose.
You can't win the big tournament with the big payout if you don't enter the big tournament with the big entry fee. Conversely, I will never go broke playing poker if I don't risk "grocery money".
There is another side to this philosophy. The other day I stopped at a store to pick up a few groceries and the only money I had on me was my poker bankroll. I used the credit card to buy the groceries. You see, I won't play poker with grocery money and, conversely, won't buy groceries with poker money. My poker money will readily revert to grocery money if and only if we run out of grocery money.
I realize that most of the people that may read this blog already have the same or a similar philosophy about not risking too much on poker but maybe someone will read this and, as a result, manage their money a little better and avoid "going broke" at the casino.
Never play poker with grocery money.