How much money are you willing to lose before
you leave an online poker table? How much risk can you tolerate, before you begin spewing
your chips? Winners in poker are made when they take their money and stand up, not when
sitting down. This question haunted me when I started playing
blackjack at the land-based casinos. No, I wasn’t gambling my money away; I was card
counting and had a proven edge over the casino. At times though, lady luck, also known as
variance in professional gambling, was looking after other players, and I was losing a lot
of money. Still, that didn’t prevent me from playing. I didn’t return home waiting
for the next day to sit back down to the blackjack table. After all, luck and gambling don’t
have ‘days’. For a moment let us assume I did leave the
casino, when I lost, say $2,000. When I would get back to the casino and dealer dealt my
first hand on the following day, it would still be the very next hand since my last
hand of the previous day! The only thing that changed is that I rested, and I was feeling
more energetic and concentrated. It would make no difference though to variance.
The same principle applies to online poker. You may stop playing poker one night and resume
playing two days later. As far as risk and money management concerns, nothing has changed.
It’s like you never stopped! Simply put, if you played a thousand hands on Friday,
the first hand on Sunday is your 1001st hand. You shouldn’t change anything as long your
strategy is a profitable one of course! Tilt. Fatigue. Life. Three good reasons to
leave the poker table. Tilt is when you are playing bad, because
opponents drove you mad or you can’t cope with losing money. Often, it’s the number
one reason you are not a successful poker player.
Fatigue is when you are playing four hours straight. Here’s an advice: take a break,
poker never stops. Life is around you when you turn off the computer.
Go shopping, meet friends, get into a relationship, that sort of things, remember?
Still, at times money management does dictate when you need to stand up. But usually, it’s
when your bankroll has taken a severe hit. That is a very simple rule to follow in online
poker. First of all, you should be playing within your budget and at the same limits.
That is having 50 buy-ins in no-limit tables, or 200 buy-ins in poker tournaments. Therefore,
if you are playing $50NL, your starting bankroll should be $2,500 and $4,000 if you are competing
at $20 tournaments. Ok, you sit down and play a thousand hands
in No Limit poker tables. Your bankroll now stands at $2,400. Tough luck. Perhaps you
were outplayed, maybe you should blame variance. We can’t say that soon.
You play a thousand hands more, and you are now down $200. As long as you believe you
are playing your A game, losing money isn’t a reason to stop at this point.
Fast forward to several days ahead, your starting bankroll is now $1,400. In the next 2,000
hands, you lost another $100. No worries, keep on playing.
Be careful though. If you lose one more buy-in ($50), your bankroll equals to 25 buy-ins.
That is half of the bankroll you started playing on day one.
Stop playing! Stand up. And more importantly, drop down a level! You are now bankrolled
for $25NL tables! Keep on playing until your bankroll increases to $2,500 again and allows
you to return to $50 tables, or drops to $600 and forces you to drop down to $10 tables.
You can’t blame variance at that point if you lost 50 buy-ins though! You are a bad
player. Stop poker altogether and start studying and improving your skills because… you suck!