I hosted a daily poker game in 2020. We played non stop for months before burning out. A new player Akash, a friend of friend joined us. He came in. Crushed everyone. He invited me to play with his other group. I did. And lost ~30K in a month before giving up.

Akash later told me that that it was dumb to play at his table because my risk appetite as well as bankroll was too low. People in that table used to go down by 20K in an hour, and then come back, and recover the same the next day. They did not get upset over a 50K downswing. They survived the swings. And came back again.

I am not a bad poker player. I am ROI positive if you count all the tournaments and cash games I have played in life. But I am not someone who will keep going all in as a joke till I double up. I played with a prominent angel investor once. He kept doing that. Challenging that he will double his money in the next 15 mins. My bankroll was never going to be the same as his. And changing my gameplay because I did not belong to the table would have been sub optimal. So I stopped playing with people above my bankroll.

During the same time, I also saw the graphs of professional poker players on pokerguru. Stats are public. These pros had months of downswings. Would go down by 10L- 50L before they won one big tourney and broke even. But what if you did not win that one big tournament?

Maybe it did not matter as these players were staked. Without staking it is very hard to survive as a poker player today. Yes, there are exceptions. People go on a heater and make a boatload and use the bankroll to play the stakes they want. But even the best Poker coach in India has a losing record [if you checked Pokerguru].

Angel investing and Poker are not different.

You need bank roll management. You have to take sufficient swings. Let’s say the average check size is 3L. You need to invest atleast in 100 startups [similiar to 100 buyins rule of poker bankroll management]. So a bankroll of 3Cr. I don’t have 3Cr lying around. And ideally you should not invest more than 5% of your networth in an asset class that is so risky that it can easily go to 0. And yes, you can go on a heater like Sacca, but most investors will lost money if they don’t take enough swings. I doubt I will make any money with the <10 bets that I plan to take over the next couple of years. Most startups die. And my sample size would be too low. I feel I have only invested the money I can afford to lose. There are other benefits to doing it. So maybe it is okay for me. But it is a dumb idea to start investing from a strictly ROI standpoint unless you can investment in 100+ startups.

So think carefully before starting.