Know When It’s Time to Stop Playing Poker

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BetMGM Oct 27, 2022, 7:35 AM

Knowing when to leave a game is crucial to online poker. It can make or break your winnings. And it doesn’t only apply to losing positions. Deciding to leave a game when you’re holding a large stack of chips can also have a significant long-term impact.

Unfortunately, not every game returns profits; some may be fruitful, others not. Play too long and you risk making mistakes from exhaustion, too short and you may not give yourself a fair chance of success. But it isn’t always easy to recognize when to quit. Here are some signs to look out for that will tell you it’s time to stop playing.

Signs that it’s time to leave a game

If you find yourself doing any of these, it’s probably a good time to step away from the felt: 

  • Bluffing more than usual for no apparent reason
  • Placing more and/or larger bets than usual
  • Experiencing a bad beat
  • Beginning to tilt

Other indicators lie within your mental state. If you feel hopeless between each round or are dwelling on your mistakes, it can cause you to place bad bets – even when you know you should fold.

For beginners, feeling hopeless becomes common if they judge their skill level against more advanced opponents. Remember that you’re still in the early phases of playing, while others may have been playing for several decades. So, don’t let pride overrun your decision to leave a game.

Tilting in Poker

Outside of these indicators, there are scenarios that tell players when to leave a game. It’s easy to get into the mindset of wanting to recover after a few bad rounds – or a bad beat – but playing when emotionally driven often doesn’t end well.

It’s unrealistic to expect success from every game you play. Understanding that you will lose at least occasionally is necessary, otherwise you risk tilting. Tilting occurs when a player is gambling while in a poor state of mind (such as frustration) and it leads to costly mistakes. If you feel yourself tilting, it’s time to leave the game.

A tilt can happen for a number of reasons, such as playing when tired, making mistakes, opposition chatter or experiencing a bad beat (to name a few.) Tilting can cause players to make a series of mistakes: 

–   Over-bluffing

–   Raising more than usual

–   Playing more aggressively

–   Staying in the game when you know your chances are slim

–   Wanting to beat a specific opponent and calling their bets (regardless of your hand)

–   Not thinking through your moves thoroughly enough and playing too quickly 

However, there are also ways to avoid a tilt in online poker. If you make a mistake, don’t dwell on it. Pick yourself up and move on – even experienced players make mistakes. By maintaining composure, you’re putting yourself in a far better position than your opponents who do conform to tilting. Additionally, don’t be too harsh on yourself. Enjoy the moments of success and try to learn from failure.

Setting boundaries

A great way to avoid tilting or leaving a game is to set boundaries for your time at the table. Win and loss limits are the perfect place to start. Decide on an amount that you can comfortably lose. Once you approach or reach that marker, you leave the game. This means no matter what, you’re leaving the poker game with no greater loss than you can afford. 

Setting a win limit can also be beneficial. It can save you from exhaustion and it can save your bankroll from a major hit. Decide on a realistic profit that you’d be happy to take home and once you’ve achieved this goal, step away. Knowing when to leave in a winning position is as important as knowing when to quit in a losing scenario.

A time limit is another important boundary to set. Overplaying can lead to silly mistakes and becoming over-emotional if they occur – a common trigger for tilting. A game of online poker can last for several hours, so, by setting yourself a four-hour limit, for example, you know that you won’t open yourself up to fatigue-based errors. Or you could set a limit on the number of hands you play for the same reasons. 

Gamble responsibly

From poker and online slots to roulette, it’s important to gamble responsibly. BetMGM advises gamblers to only bet what they can afford to lose. By adhering to responsible gaming practices, you’re setting yourself up for an enjoyable and long-lasting gambling career.

Test your skills on BetMGM

Now that you know what signs to look out for, why not find your next poker game at the best online poker site, BetMGM. We host an array of poker games and online poker tournaments of varying buy-in amounts that can be played anytime, anywhere on mobile, tablet and computer.

So, register today and unlock our endless range of live dealer casino games, online slots, and much more.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.