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Full Tilt Poker

Poker Strategy


Stop Loss Strategy In Poker

stop loss poker

Lately my results and win rate haven’t been that all that bad but I have lacked alot of consistency in my play, especially on losing days. I definitely have some sort of self perpetuating cycle going on where running bad is linked to the feeling of failure and leads me to getting distracted and not playing my a-game. At some point I plan to do something serious about it and get some mental game coaching but until then I am going to set a stop loss to try and minimize the pain of large losing days.

I remember back in the day, maybe 3 years ago when I was first coming up, I set a stop loss simply because I hated losing and I didn’t want to play at all when I was down money (Which is kind of a strange attitude, because most peoples natural attitude is to want to play more to get back the money they lost). I basically had a sick feeling come over me and loose the urge to want to play. Now, because I am very skilled and am obviously a winner in all games I sit in (Even playing my B or C game) the idea of a stop loss seems stupid to me, especially from a financial perspective (The more hours I put in, the more money I will ultimately win). However, from a psychological perspective or a “happiness EV” perspective this could be a good thing.

Benefits of a stop loss

  • You avoid tilting of large portions of your bankroll and stop playing at a defined point.
  • You play longer sessions when you are winning and shorter sessions when you are losing.
  • You get used to losing your set amount and then you are done for the day.
  • Good for your mental health and well being if you handle losing badly.

Disadvantages of using a stop loss


  • You may be forced to quit when the games are good.
  • You play less hours overall so may end up profiting less.
  • A stop loss is not a cure for tilt

For someone like me, a stop loss seems like a temporary fix. Over the coming months I will be experimenting with a 3-4 buyin stop loss per day. I may set some flexible rules such as, 4 buyins if im sitting in specifically good games and 3 buyins when the games don’t seem as juicy. Part of my natural instinct makes this seem very unnatural for me to quit a good game with a fish in it, partly because I’m way over rolled for the game I play in and partly because I have a huge confidence in my 6-max no limit game and skillset. However money is not everything and I am looking for a sustainable way to keep playing poker for the long term without the emotional trauma of large losing days. For me, the total amount of money I make is a lot less important to me now than the way I get there. Ideally I would like to get there in a way that causes the least amount of emotional pain and fiscal swings.

Other notes on stop losses and stop wins

I feel like stop wins should rarely be used. I think the only time a stop win should be used is possibly after a grueling downswing of losing days and booking a win will be real important for you psychologically. I have had a few occasions where I have had multiple losing days in a row, then had a large winning day which I carried on playing and ended up losing big, this type of thing is demoralizing and I can definitely see a case for booking a win.

In general everyone plays better when they are winning, ideally you should keep playing when you are winning until either A) The games dry up and the fish loses B) You are tired or stop performing to your peak ability or C) If you loose some money back and losing more money would be a lot worse for you emotionally than winning the money you just lost back. All 3 of these factors should be weighted together to find a good quitting point for the day.

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