Poker Bankroll Advice: Knowing When to Quit

There are a lot of aspects to the game of poker that you have to master in order to become a really good player, a player who wins money playing poker. One of the important lessons is one that is very hard to learn – knowing when to quit.

Poker is a Mind Game Too

For all its mathematics and odds and probabilities there is also a large psychological element to playing poker and knowing when to pack up your chips and call it a night is something that even poker pros sometimes still have a hard time with occasionally. There are no hard and fast rules and it is a skill that is hard to teach. Almost every professional poker player has their own opinion on the issue and their own methodology. But in order to maintain your bankroll (and your sanity in some cases) it is vital that you make a plan before you hit the table. Here are some basic tips.

Quitting When You are Ahead

If you ask a lot of people who play real money poker on a regular and serious basis they will tell you the beat possible time to call it a day is when you are ahead. Simple enough advice but what is ahead? Are you supposed to win once and then give up? How are you ever actually going to make any money that way, or at least an amount of money that might be considered significant.

Quitting while you are ahead is the best case scenario, no one wants to leave the casino, real life or virtual, broke. But you need to set a dollar amount that you want to be ahead by, based on the bankroll you have to play with, before you sit down at the table. When you reach the dollar range that you aiming for (even if you have experienced a few losses along the way which you are almost certain to) stop.

Quitting while you are ahead may not always be the fastest way to make money but it is a great strategy to follow if you want to make money on a regular basis, which is the aim of most serious real money players.

Quitting When You are Behind

Knowing when it is time to quit when you are down – and actually doing so – can be much harder than quitting while you are ahead. It is almost human nature to want to try just one more hand, play just one more in order to try to recoup some of your losses. Poker after all is very much a game of chance, your luck has to change at some point surely.

Again the key is planning for potential losses before you ever begin playing. Determine just how much of you bankroll you are actually willing to lose – how much of a loss you could live with (if unhappily) When you reach your loss limit leave the table, at least you will have something left to come back and try another day.

Quit When You Get Rattled

As mentioned before there is a big psychological element involved in the game of poker. It is easy to get aggravated playing poker but when you do so things have a tendency to go downhill very quickly, however skilled you are as a poker player. A few minutes frustration can probably be played through, but if you feel yourself getting angrier and angrier it is time to get up and walk away as soon as possible, at least for a while.

Last Resorts

There are those people who have real problems following any of the advice above, however hard they try. When they are up a gremlin in their head just seems to tell them to keep going to win even more and when they are down it insist that their luck will turn if they just just stick it out for a few more hands. So should these people quit playing real money poker and go back to the play tables? Some would say yes. Others would say not necessarily, there is another way.

In this situation the last resort would be to take a long hard look at your poker bankroll and cut it. Even this will take some serious willpower in some cases though. If you have $X to take the table it can be really hard to leave some of it behind. After all what if this is the night that Lady Luck really is on your side and you do not have enough in your bankroll to really take advantage of this stroke of good luck? However by limiting your bankroll you can still play but you won’t go completely broke.

As you have probably figured out by now knowing when to quit when you are playing poker and good bankroll management are two concepts that go hand in hand. If you learn how to manage a poker bankroll properly then you will also, in turn, learn how to decide when it is time to stop playing so that you can come back and play poker another day.

PokerStars is a free online poker guide offering articles and tips for real money poker players.
Our mission: to help you make money playing poker online. Disclaimer - Privacy Policy - Responsible Gaming - Terms of Use