It's Ok to Just Quit Poker Sometimes

It's Ok to Just Quit Sometimes in pokerA very common question that I get asked about is what to do when things are going really bad. This is going to happen every now and then if you play this game for any length of time. I call them "disaster days." A disaster day for me is running in the bottom 5 or 10 percentile of overall luck.

And by overall luck I mean things like coolers, bad beats, hitting draws, having them have something when you have something etc. On disaster days these categories will all be overwhelmingly in the favor of your opponents.

It is hard to quantify all of this of course but one of the easiest and best ways to see how you are running is to check the,

stat in Hold'em Manager. Make sure that you have played a decent amount of hands first, at least 500 but preferably 1000. For most people at full ring (might differ slightly in 6max), if this number is between 45-50, you are probably running a little bit bad and you should just grind it out. If it is between 40 and 45, you are running quite bad and should consider quitting. If it is below 40, you are running extremely bad and should quit immediately.

Here is a reply of mine to a pm on this subject recently,

"I have had these kinds of days on countless occasions in the 6 million+ hands that I have played. I'm sorry to say but I don't have any words of wisdom. I don't understand them. I was just writing a section in this for my book recently. I don't know what to tell people. I don't get it when it happens.

All I know is that I win in the long run. Trying to understand what happens in the short term is well beyond me. I don't even try anymore. I just try and gut it out for as much as my stomach can handle and then quit. And by quit, I'm 100% done for the day. I compartmentalize that day and move on. It's definitely easier for me when I play at stakes where the loss is a trivial amount to me.

When I come back the next day I always feel much better. However my fuse is usually shorter and if it goes bad again, I may have to quit earlier. And my fuse is even shorter the next day. And then the light switch gets turned and I go on a heater. I don't understand this game man lol. Hope this helps somehow though."

So I hope this discussion was a benefit to you guys. It's a tough game to deal with at times. Just remember that everybody goes through it eventually to an equal extent. The only question is if you are going to handle it better than the next guy or not.

The vast majority of people reading this don't play for a living. Don't sit there and bang your head against a wall when this stuff happens. You don't have to play! And especially if you are playing your C game or worse, your bankroll will really thank you for quitting.

Don't bother trying to understand what went wrong. Don't even bother checking the hand histories. Don't go tell your friends your bad beat stories (They don't want to hear them, trust me on this one). Don't go whine about it on forums.

Just get up, preferably away from the computer and do something else for the rest of the day. The games aren't going anywhere and you will feel full of energy, rejuvenated and in a much better headspace tomorrow.

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  1. Thanks Nathan , this is a very tough issue i think for all of us .Today i played and ran like god it seemed .I had trips, trips and more trips lol everything went right , but that was today , yep that was today tomorrow i pray for a day like today :) :)...

  2. Excellent post, so, if you feel that things go really bad, you can quit even after 100-500 hands and do not play this day?

  3. Anonymous22 October

    Always refreshing to read this kinda stuff. I've been managing these short term 'disaster days' much better lately. I think it goes a long way BB/100 wise to be able to quit when it starts happening, so in this sense it's equally important,imo, as other stuff we do to boost our winrate. Nice read. Thanks.

  4. Thanks Chris, hope the rungood continues for you!


    The idea is just to quit when you don't feel like you are at least able to play your "B" level game. Tilt is just one potential factor in that. If you aren't feeling it in the first couple hundred hands, for whatever reason, then ya, quitting is just fine then as well.

  5. Ok, I got the point, thanks!