Sometimes losing in poker can feel like an avalanche.
It doesn’t matter if you’re losing because you’re making poor decisions or you’re losing because the cards are against you. The more money that comes off your stack and gets pushed to somebody else, the worse you will feel.
When this happens, it’s easy to go on tilt and lose more money. The best way to lessen that factor is to not let your emotions get the best of you. Another way is to adopt a stop-loss strategy.
What is it?
The stop-loss strategy is a simple concept. You set a limit for how much money you are going to allow yourself to lose in a single session. If you reach that limit, you leave the game – no questions asked.
The specific number will be different for everybody. It might be one buy-in for one person, but it could be three buy-ins for another person.
No matter what your number is, it should never be less than what you have on the table. If you don’t want to lose more than $400, but you have $500 on the table, what are you going to do when you’re facing an all-in bet?
Eliminate that complicated situation by not buying in for more than you want to lose.
You might be tempted to stay in a game if you’re playing well but running bad and losing, but if the amount of money matters beyond your stop-loss figure it is probably best to leave.
If you become a better player, and your bankroll significantly increases, you can increase your stop-loss figure. You can even take a shot at higher stakes, but if you have been using a stop-loss strategy up to that point, it is even more important to use it at the higher stakes because you could lose more money.
Benefits of the strategy
The stop-loss strategy has several benefits in the long run.
The best one is you avoid letting emotion take over. Once that happens there is no telling how much money you will lose. Going on tilt is perhaps the biggest mistake a poker player can make.
Also, if you leave a game after losing a large amount you’re going to be in a bad mood, and that likely will affect you outside of poker. On the other hand, if you only lose an amount you’re comfortable with, your non-poker life likely will not be affected.
Poker can be fun, but not when it negatively affects your mental health.
When you’re still learning the game, employing a stop-loss strategy can prevent that from happening.