I had a commenter awhile back who talked about losing more frequently when playing longer sessions. He went on to say that he wish he had the ability to grind out more hands.
Finding the right session length for YOU
Like most things in poker there really isn't a definitive answer that I can give to this kind of question. It really depends on the person. But I think there are a couple of main points that apply in almost all situations.
Firstly, its important to remember, even if its obvious, that a long term winning poker player is really just a person who has made a series of quality decisions in poker hands over time. Therefore, everybody's goal during any individual poker session should be to make as many high quality decisions as possible. This is also often referred to as playing your "A" game.
Playing your A game at all times
So assuming that we sit down ready to play our A game (this is a topic for another article so I am not going to elucidate this point) what signs can we look out for that our play is starting to deteriorate?
- loss of concentration or focus
If you are having any of these types of feelings while playing then it is likely that you have been playing too long and should quit.
It is important to keep track of your session lengths over a short period of time like a week in order to find that sweet spot for you. I prefer to go by number of hands instead of actual time as its generally easier to keep track of.
But the important point is to find out what that x number of hands or time is when you play your best and to play roughly that exact amount each time. This gives you a clear cut plan going into your session and allows you to hopefully cut out that time spent at the tables when you know that you will start slipping into your B game or worse.
A couple of last thoughts
I will finish up by stating a couple of guidelines that work for me personally but probably apply to a lot of others as well. I don't eat or snack while playing poker. Therefore my sessions are never more than about 3 hours in length.
Lastly, I try not to look at my account balance during the session. I do occasionally glance at my Hold'em Manager stats but I have the winnings and winrate columns removed.
I am never going to play a statistically significant amount of hands during a single session or even day so the fluctuations to my bankroll are completely meaningless. If you enjoyed this article please "Like" or "Tweet" it below!