Are You Overstaying Your Welcome in the Poker Room?

Picture of a Crowded Poker Room

Successful poker players are often lauded as marathon runners able to spend endless days at the poker table. Their only breaks are for the requirement of occasional sleep, and they’ll eat their meals at the table.

Indeed, professional poker players spend a ton of time in the poker room. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should follow in their footsteps.

Spending 12 or more hours at the poker table might sound like an excellent way to enjoy your casino vacation. Still, the reality could be something different entirely.

When you put yourself on the tables for too long, the focus becomes elusive, and mistakes begin to pile up. Are you overstaying your welcome in the poker room?

Let’s look at a few of the warning signs, factors, and how to improve your time at the tables.

Determining How Much You’re Playing

Before you can even consider if you’re playing too much, it’s vital to get a clear picture of how much time you’re spending at the tables. This requires you to account for how long your sessions last and the frequency of the poker runs.

Sometimes a straightforward answer on whether or not you are playing too much can be found by merely considering the amount you’re playing.

You have a routine to your poker play; online, and casino poker players typically play between the same hours on the same days of the week. How easily can you confirm that you’re sticking to a predictable routine?

If you’re regularly extending your sessions for any reason, it could be that you’re overstaying your welcome. That could be a warning sign for players who have no set routine and merely play as much as possible.

Objectively Looking at Those Results

Once you’ve put the total number of hours you’re playing and how long your sessions are, it’s time to look at the results.

Suppose you’re playing poker for real money several days per week for moderate periods. In that case, you may be okay with the time you’re spending at the poker table. However, if these poker sessions are longer than 4-5 hours, you could be sitting for too long.

Pai Gow Poker Table

Poker pros will often spend upwards of 8 hours a day playing poker. Still, they have a level of focus that is unparalleled by amateur players. Not to mention it’s their job, and they are the most elite players on the planet.

When you decide to draw comparisons between pros and yourself, don’t fail to make them across the board. If you happen to be excelling in a particular area, that won’t negate failures lurking elsewhere.

Factors that May Assist You in Prolonging Sessions

I don’t believe there’s a right or wrong amount of time to spend playing poker. Obviously, when you’re winning, you should play as long as you can withstand.

However, when you begin to lose focus or start making simple mistakes, you’ve definitely overstayed your welcome. If you are wearing down sooner than you’d like, there are ways to prolong your focus and improve stamina.

Not all poker players are built the same, and it could be something as simple as the time of day you play. I prefer to spend no more than 5 hours at the table.

This length of time seems to fit my ability to focus quite well. Still, I’m used to a regular routine that has me in bed by 10 pm. So, suppose I’m starting my session later in the day. In that case, I’ll undoubtedly be affected as my body prepares its normal shut down for the night.

In my case, it’s critical that I get an early jump on things when I’ve got a long poker game ahead.

How Many Tables You Play

Another noticeable factor that can affect the productivity and longevity you see is playing multiple tables. I prefer to play live cash games over online. Still, many poker fans enjoy the anonymity and convenience of online poker.

It’s not that uncommon for poker players to have multiple games going at one time. That allows them to maximize the fun and profits where applicable.

Poker Room

However, playing multiple tables also requires much more concentration. Keeping up with table position, opponents, and your hands can become a tremendous juggling act.

Compound that multiplying the variables and being on the tail end of a session can lead to many mistakes.

Your Health is a Contributing Factor

You shouldn’t expect to play solid poker for any amount of time if you’re not in a healthy routine. You may not consider things like diet and exercise critical components of a well-rounded poker regiment, but they are vital.

Eating a healthy meal before your session will give you sustained energy that can help you through the mental gymnastics you’re forced into at the poker table. Eating foods high in sugar and piling caffeine on top of the concoction will lead to a lack of focus and an eventual crash.

Sleep is another factor that you need to stay on top of before a poker session. Trying to maintain a heightened level of focus on a few hours of sleep is pointless.

Sleep deprivation plays such an important role that I’ll often look for tables with players that look like they had a rough night when scouting tables. Even if a player is slightly better than me under normal conditions, I can take the edge as their lack of focus causes mistake after mistake.

Many players prefer a workout before they hit the poker room. The endorphins are kicking, and they feel a heightened focus and awareness. I rarely work out on poker days; it wears on my “old” body.

However, I agree entirely that regular fitness will increase your focus and stamina for the poker room. Take care of your body, and you’ll be able to spend more time at the poker table.

Your Poker Ambitions

Your goals as a poker player will significantly affect how long you should be spending in the poker room.

Suppose you’re on vacation and merely want to play as many hands as possible before you have to head back home. Then you may be entirely within a healthy range to play for 7-8 hours a day.

Still, you should appreciate that you’ll hit a wall at some point and begin making unforced errors. It may help if you try to break your sessions up into several shorter sessions.

Players trying to earn a living in the poker room should plan for long sessions where you play fewer hands and capitalize when the timing matches up with opportunity.

Poker Room at Derby Lane

Another important area is how your goals match your poker schedule. Trying to cram 6 hours of gameplay into 90 minutes is as reckless as staying on a table for 22 hours straight.

You should make a detailed schedule for when you’ll be playing poker. Online poker players will be able to log more hours because they are constantly a few clicks away from the casino.

That doesn’t mean that they should spend every waking minute of their spare time playing poker.

Are You Gaining Valuable Experience?

Look at what you’re gaining from long poker nights. Are you gathering valuable experience or making a profit? What’s keeping you at the tables?

If you can’t answer the above questions pretty quickly, you may be over-staying your welcome. Additionally, if you start out hot and seem to finish cold, you’re probably playing too long.

Experience at the poker table is precious. The time logged in cash games can help you immensely when similar situations arise down the road.

Still, if your focus is waning and you’re not at your peak, you could be doing more harm than good.

Catalog Everything Poker Related

I don’t know a single successful gambler who doesn’t keep a detailed journal of every session. The same goes for my sports betting friends that log the data for every bet they make.

This information is beneficial to see how far you’ve come and spot strengths and weaknesses in your poker ability.

Las Vegas Poker Game

Write down a brief synopsis after each poker session. Include the game, date, hands played, duration, number of players, notes on how you felt, and profits or losses.

You can then use this to critique yourself. If you’re overstaying your welcome in the poker room, this should make it clear.

Keep It Fresh

Head into the casino with a fresh outlook on each visit. Walking into the poker room still fuming over last week’s losses won’t contribute anything productive to your situation.

When you’re at the poker tables and feel boredom, start kicking in to get up and take a break. Sometimes all it takes is a little fresh air to clear your mind and renew your purpose at the tables.

Keeping things fresh will do miracles for keeping in the correct mental headspace.

Are You Overstaying Your Welcome in the Poker Room?

By now, you should at least have a good idea. Whenever you start costing yourself money through misplays due to fatigue, you’ve probably missed the perfect opportunity to make an exit.

Don’t compound the problems by trying to get everything back this late in the game. That could lead to further disaster.