Know When To Fold’Em

Know When To Fold’Em


After part One, Know When to Hold’Em, this is the conclusion of a series on learning when to quit.

Last week we discussed various options when deciding when to quit and the reasons why we love to pull those marathon sessions. In this blog, it’s more thoughts on knowing when to stop and learning to take control of our game.

3) WHEN TIRED:I often quit when I’m tired. Since there are varying degrees of lethargy determining when to quit is difficult. If I’m feeling a little lethargic, I’ll usually have a tea or espresso and see how I feel in a half hour. If nothing changes, I take a walk. If that doesn’t work, if the game is nothing special, I’ll quit. Then there is the other extreme, when it feels like I will miss a wedding to stay in the game. It’s easy to get caught up in the game and forget there is a world outside of of the casino. The delusion is only cured (? – I want something like appeased or relieved) when I remember that no game is irreplaceable.

In the excitement of the game, it’s easy to feel a rush of adrenaline. Thus, I measure my lethargy objectively using the following guidelines.

I am tired if:
1) I’ve played 8 hours or more
2) I’ve been up for 18 hours or more
3) I slept less than 5 hours the night before.

As a general rule, if two out of three apply, I quit.


If the fish leaves and the game is about to break, many will quit. If I just started playing and I’m craving some action, I will seek out another game. If I’ve already logged a decent session, I will take the day off and come back fresh.

Important Note:
I never quit immediately after the fish does. I will always play at least until the end of the dealer, to ensure he is caused out and left the casino. Remember, they are our customers and your job, like the casino, isn’t to earn money, but to create an environment where people can comfortably lose it.

Nobody likes to feel like they are the mark. There’s nothing worse than the fish quitting and three regulars not taking their big blind or after they lose, the players quitting immediately almost mocking his loss. Bad gambler!

THE SOLUTION: Taking Control
The overwhelming reason I always quit a game is if it will ruin my routine. There is nothing that can replace living a healthy and balanced life. Rarely do I think it’s worth pulling a 24 hour session to play in a “can’t miss” game. The reality is, those games are there everyday. Some hobbies are recession proof. Gambling, like alcohol is one of them.

Since we have to sleep sometime, why not just do it when it fits into our schedule? One of the best things about a career in poker is that the freedom it affords. Why let the game dictate when we play?
There are thousands of other reasons I have quit a game. A friend calls and invites me to somewhere I rather be. A more lucrative opportunity arises. I have to be up early the next day.

The other day, I had trouble deciding whether or not to get up when I noticed my friend leaving a lucrative game. I leaned over. “Why are you quitting?” I whispered. He shrugged. “I don’t feel like playing anymore.” It was then the light bulb came on.

The only reason I ever need to quit is I rather be doing something else.

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  • Neil April 13, 2012 3:45 am

    Love reading the blog very helpful as a small stake grinder. After watching the big game though i feel like you should start practicing what you write more! Whatever though you obviously know better than me and im sure you have your reasons. Gl at the tables.

    • Alec Torelli April 19, 2012 5:40 pm

      I agree. Lots of politics and bad decision making on my part. If it were easy, everyone would do it 🙂

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