When to step away from the poker table

When to step away from the poker table

Even the best poker players have to take a loss sometimes. If you look at the millionaire poker players, and the ones that have done so well in the last couple of decades, their life looks like one big party. If you ask them what one of the biggest secrets is to their success, they will say it is their ability to play a hand when they trust it, and to step away when they feel unsure.

To me and you, the average poker player, this definitely applies. If you are only playing with $100 and they are playing with a six-figure pot on the line, it is still important to stick to the principles of the game. This is how it is possible to start out at the bottom and grow a small fortune if you are able to hone that emotional intelligence and sometimes accept defeat on the night.

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Going after something that looks like a loss is known in gambling circles as chasing, and that is not the side you want to be on. For a sports comparison, which is useful as many also consider poker to be a sport, when a team is losing, they tend to drop their attempts to defend the gameand instead go all out to try and secure the goal that can get them back into the contest.

While there are many instances in history where this has worked, these games will often be in a final or in a game where there is literally nothing to lose. If there is still plenty on the line, you are not going to see the best batter in a baseball team swinging crazily on a third strike opportunity, and nor are you going to see a reckless goalkeeper heading into the opposition box in a soccer game in the first game of a league season. These moments are saved for the tipping point moments for a reason.

In poker, typically, there is still plenty to lose. You have a home, some savings, a grocery list and some bills still to be paid. Dipping into this when you are having a bad night is not the same as a sporting hero putting everything on the line.

Sure, going all-in when you have a four of a kind or the royal flush in poker is not a bad thing, but when the cards are not going your way, stepping away from the table is one of the most sensible moves you can make.

Having full control over yourself is something you can always have, even if you cannot control the final card that comes out at the end of the five cards. By maintaining this balance, the fun will always remain in playing poker and you can enjoy those dreams of winning big one day.