I get a lot of questions from readers about when they should quit playing poker.
While there is no one size fits all strategy, I have noticed (both from coaching clients and experimenting with myself) that these 4 factors are the most common signs that you need to quit playing poker for the day.
I encourage you to experiment with what works for you. Test each one out individually.
Use what works. Scrap what doesn’t.
Before you begin testing, you should consider making this one commitment: I won’t play poker unless I’m playing my absolute A-game.
This one approach has revolutionized my game.
Not only has it made me more disciplined before sessions (forcing me to better engineer A game poker), but I respect my playing time more and as a result, my winning percentage has increased.
I talk a lot more about this in detail in a course I created called ‘Four Step Poker‘ and give you actionable ways to customize this for your personal situation, but for now here are the 4 signs that you should quit a poker game.
The 4 Signs to Quit Playing Poker
1. Poker isn’t your number one priority.
I can’t tell you how often this gets in te way of playing A game poker. If there’s something else you rather be doing, quit immediately and don’t play again until it’s complete.
I find that most often this is some form of unfinished business that’s hanging over my head, and preventing me from fully being present and concentrating during the game.
2. You hit your stop loss or win cap.
While most people have a set stop loss of 3 buy-ins, few people have ‘win caps‘, which I define as a monetary target which will cause you to quit.
Both have value and should be used depending on the circumstance. I recommend stop losses to most of my clients because it reduces downswings, and lessens the likelihood that they play while stuck, tilting or off their A game. It absolutely prevents you from getting buried in one session, which has long term consequences such as reduced confidence.
Win caps are great for securing wins or when you’re feeling the pressure of the money at the table.
People like to bash those who quit while winning.
There’s no shame in walking away.
3. You’re off your A game for any reason.
It doesn’t matter if you’re tired, lacking focus, or just plain tilting, any time you’re not playing your absolute best is a good reason to quit.
4. The game will affect your schedule.
This has been something I’ve prioritized a lot recently and noticed higher quality of life, more enjoyment during my sessions while ultimately has translated into more winning sessions.
I no longer allow poker to affect my life schedule. I’m fortunate to be in a position where I don’t have to play daily, but I wish I implemented this even when I was grinding.
There’s so much value to me in having a regular schedule and rarely do I find it worth getting in an extra 3-4 hours in a game at the expense of altering my sleep schedule or compromising my productivity the next day.
This has become increasingly important as I have more projects outside of specifically playing poker, but again, I wish I implemented this more even when I grinded 60+ hours a week.
Here’s perhaps the most common example you may face.
Let’s say you normally sleep from 11:00 pm – 7:00 am. If you find yourself in a game at 9 pm, you should think long, hard and objectively about why you’re still playing. Are you stuck and don’t want to accept the loss?
Even more reason to quit.
Ask yourself: is the additional 3-4 hours in the game really worth affecting my routine and sleep schedule for the next day or two?
I find that playing the long game is way more valuable and sustainable. It’s easy to get tempted with the seemingly unmissable opportunity that’s in front of you and convince yourself to stay in the name of expectation.
Try quitting next time, maintain your schedule and see how you feel.
I bet you’ll be empowered that poker doesn’t control your life, but fits into the life you want to live.
After all, why chase the freedom that poker allows, only to become a slave to the game?
If you liked this style of content and want my best resources for turning poker into a profitable business, making money long term, and creating your ideal schedule around poker, check out my course ‘Four Step Poker.’
See you next time!