Stop loss in poker

Stop loss in poker

We’ve already told you about tilt in poker and we remind that you need to recognize when you are in that state and immediately quit the tables when you notice you are really playing under this condition. However, there are other rules that may help poker players to management and control their game. One of these rules is stop-loss.

Each of us faced with an everyday phenomenon usual to poker called a losing streak. We all lose hands and lose part of our bankroll at the cash tables or when we get out of the tournaments outside ITM zone losing our buy-in. However, following major bankroll management rules this losses won’t hurt that much. On the other hand, series of losses is able to get us in tilt condition and unwillingly we might lose more than we could afford.

Therefore, we must firmly realize when to stop, make a break and have a rest. In this exact case we imply stop loss tactics. It allows controlling the negative bankroll balance and stopping the bad session at the right time basing on numbers only.

What is stop loss in poker?

Stop loss is the rule of stop losing at the certain point that are universal as they allow us to act based on objective criteria, not our personal opinion.

In the game of many poker beginners there is a certain sequence of events - they play for some time and after winnings come small losses, though the bankroll keeps growing. Then very bad session occurs and all that beginner won or even more is lost. That’s where poker stop-loss rule comes to help.

Stop-loss term came to the world of poker from trading. There having stocks our other actives and expecting them to increase in price you can get in the situation when things go not the way you’ve expected, and those active become cheaper. Experienced stock traders developed a rule: should the stocks cross the certain level of price, one needs to sell at this price and take a loss averting further losses from the continuous fall of the price.

One more example can be demonstrated by online casinos. They are able to disallow players from certain countries play at their facilities. Leaving all the political and judicial motives of these prohibitions aside, they follow the same rule: if for the certain period of time representatives of some countries win more than the lose (which is statistically impossible if the players don’t cheat), the access to the casino closes for all the players from that country. Casino may not be sure what are the reasons behind these results - whether it was a software hack or some other manipulations... these losses just nipped in the Bud.

That is the main advantage of stop-loss rule in some spheres.

Stop loss in poker

The poker players who apply stop loss before the session starts, define a certain bankroll level falling below which they stop playing. In case of the great bankroll boost one might correct stop-loss limit during the session.

For example, if the player had $500 before the start of the session and thought about stop line of play if the bankroll falls under $450, after catching an up-streak which boosted his bankroll to $600, he should change the stop loss limit. Investing 10% of his money into play in the beginning of the session, the player could have allowed himself losing $50. After the up-streak and designating new stop-loss limit he will have to stop when his bankroll falls to $540.

You may be unaware where losses come from, or think that you know the reason behind this losses but be wrong about it, if the losses cross a certain limit, you need to stop playing (at this table or the whole session). This rule is closely connected with averting losses from tilt as an unnoticed tilt is very often the reason behind the losses. This rule also helps in other cases and averts all the losses on all reasons you weren’t able to find during the game. For example, you got to the table where a couple of pros decided to have fun at the lower stakes and you keep losing to them thinking you’ve had a bad run of luck. Or the table is bad for you to play on some other reasons. Or you are not in shape and can only lose at all the tables today. It is possible that Fortune turned her back on you today and the reason behind the losses is bad luck. After the series of losses even the best players start playing worse so stop-loss rule will be good for you.

Setting stop-loss limits - types of stop losses

You should find three stop-loss limits for you

  • Stop-loss limit for the table. Had you lost more than your table limit, you should leave the table regardless of what the reasons behind the losses were.
  • Stop-loss limit for the playing session. Had you lost more than your session limit, you should stop playing at all the tables regardless of what the reasons behind the losses were.
  • Stop-loss limit for the playing day. Had you lost more than your day loss limit, you should stop playing at all the tables regardless of what the reasons behind the losses were.

Those simple rules will help you save you your bankroll from huge losses that could otherwise really upset you.

Setting stop loss limits - how much can you lose

What should your stop loss limits be, you are to decide for yourself but we recommend sticking to those numbers:

Short stack play (20ВВ):

  • Stop loss limit for the table - 4 buy-ins (80 ВВ).
  • Stop loss limit for the playing session- 8 buy-ins (160 ВВ).

Full stack play (100ВВ):

  • Stop-loss limit for the table - 3 buy-ins (300 ВВ).
  • Stop-loss limit for the playing session- 5 buy-ins (500 ВВ).

Set these limits or something close to it, remember them firmly or write on the paper and promise to yourself to immediately stop playing while reaching the limits and do that on practice. Don’t think you are better than other in realizing when you need to stop. Trust us, these rules have been checked by the experience of thousands players throughout many years. They will help you as well.

Stop-loss limits correction during the game

It is a common thing that session starts good, but then things get worse and you start losing. It is important to correct the limits after big wins. For instance, your loss limit for a session is $250. You won $200. In that case after making intermediate results you should set your limit of losses considering current winnings. So you should stop your session after losing $50. Those correction need to be made after winning big or about every half an hour and always only to increase the limit. This rule of correction is based on the fact you won’t be playing worse after winning but if the circumstances changed or your play became worse, there is no need to keep on waiting until you lose everything you’ve won before. You should limit your losses after reaching a certain positive result.

Attention: stop-loss rule doesn’t cancel rules of behavior when tilting. If you feel yourself nervous, have a worse control of your actions and in stress - stop playing immediately. Don’t wait until you lose money to your loss limit.

As a rule, stable down streak during the session speaks of non-optimal game rather than RGN subtleties. An adequate player will, of course, blame random numbers generator in losing buy-in after buy-in but will also think about his game belong far from ideal and will probably take a break to get himself together and find his A-game. Stop loss tactics in poker allows players not to fall in despair and avoid getting in troubles in further play.

Break can also be useful, one might analyze played hands and study poker theory more closely. This will allow to strengthen one’s skill and probably give an answer to the question why this session was so bad.

If you like cash games, you should know about stop loss tactics. Besides, there is more 'local' stop-loss tactics usage in cash games. If the game is good on the most tables but you keep losing at one of the tables, you can apply stop loss directly to this table and have a seat at another table. If you will continue losing there as well, then it’s time to close out the gaming session.

The key problem in using stop-loss tactics, surprisingly, is in the lack of discipline of the player. Should you define a limit for yourself, you must follow your own recommendation no matter how much effort it will take from you. No one is going to follow your action and take care of your money instead of your.

Only you can control the process so take care of your discipline and the willpower. And your poker results depend only on you not RNG or any other mystical force. Work hard. Study the articles and you will manage to win money from poker.

More similar articles can be found at the section fundamentals of poker.

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