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  • How And When To Set A Stop-Loss In Poker

    poker downswingsStop losses are used when a player is struggling, be it through their own bad play or when they are just running bad. The intent of a stop loss is to essentially stop the bleeding. Some days nothing will go your way, and it is often a good idea to just throw in the towel. When you are off you are off. Nothing you can do about running bad, sometimes it just happens. The stop loss itself is usually quantified in buy ins as set amounts of money mean something different for ever player. A $1,000 loss at 5/10 is nothing, where a $1,000 loss at .50/1 is a big deal. Some players do not even need to use stop losses and others believe that they are useless. The fact, however, is that the vast majority of players do need stop losses, but many do not realize it or care enough to implement one. The lack of a stop loss is often an indicator that ego is getting in the way of what the best choice is. This is a common theme in poker, ego hindering success. Stop losses definitely have their place, but there are a few people who can truly get away without using them.

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    Which players need stop losses

    Pretty much every player should heavily consider putting a stop loss in place. There are far more players that need them than don’t. A lot of players like to tell themselves that they are beyond needing a stop loss, but the odds are that they do not meet the requirements for a non stop loss player.


    So what are some of the characteristics of a player who should be using a stop loss? Have you ever felt prone to tilting? Use a stop loss. That is pretty much the only guideline. This means that virtually all players should be using a stop loss. The reasons may be obvious to you. When you start losing a few buy ins, no matter the cause, you will undoubtedly become frustrated. Frustration will not allow you to play to your full potential, emotions in poker are almost always bad. When a player is angry they will be making plays that are far from optimal. The hardest part of a stop loss is not setting one, it is actually sticking to it. If you tell yourself that you are going to take a break when you lose 8 buy ins, take a break when you lose 8 buy ins. Many players say they will quit at an 8 buy in loss but instead keep going until they are down ten or twelve. Don’t make this mistake.

    What players don’t need stop losses

    If you are one of the rare players who can honestly say that they do not ever tilt, you do not need a stop loss. A stop loss is used to help players quit when they are playing below their potential. If you don’t tilt there is no reason that you should not be playing your best. To help illustrate the difference between players who do and don’t need stop losses, think about your favorite sports team. One of the players who doesn’t seem to ever get injured would be the non stop loss player, the chronically injured player(s) would need a stop loss. You bench players who are hurt; you let the healthy ones play. The same goes for poker players, when your mentality is hurt, quit, when you are fine, keep playing.