Stud: Playing quality hours

by Adam "STUDstood" Roberts

In last week’s blog, we began to cover money management, specifically in “per session” situations. This week, I would like to address this important issue in broader terms.

I am a big believer in playing as many “quality” hours as I can, as opposed to a larger “quantity” of hours.That’s a big reason why I adhere to the money management principles I discussed last week.

Those quality hours should include the hours that you are on a positive run (which for me translates into any upswing of more than 10x the big bet in the game). During those hours, you should take as few breaks as possible away from the table, or sitting out.

Although I do not recommend playing “looser” or using a strategy other than what you know and are comfortable with, while you’re winning (on a rush) you will have more of an intimidating persona at the table. This table image might help to decide if you want to try and bluff to win a hand; your persona might give your bluff more of a chance of working.

If your rush is continuing over many sessions, (days, weeks, etc.), I would consider playing more poker to capitalize on my current image, but would still follow my per session money management guidelines which I covered last week (please also refer to some of my previous blogs with regards to changing limits).

What about when a bad “rush” is happening? The opposite applies.

To elaborate, when things are going bad in a game (and you are still within my game money management guidelines to keep playing that session) I recommend the following:

Play tighter. Just like you may be intimidating while winning, you will look like a “target” while losing, no matter how well you or others think you are capable of playing.

Don’t “steam”. It is human nature to get upset while losing, and this can affect your play. Many times you may not ever realize that this is happening. That is why you should……

Take short breaks from the table. Sit out hands and take walks away from the table. Not to the point where you get your chips picked up and have to leave the game, but just to where your head clears and you will be back playing your “A” game when you return to the table. Further, if your table image is bad from a losing streak and you seem to be the target, walking away for a while can redirect your opponents’ attention away from you.

Change seats. Is there any mathematical reason for this? No, but it sometimes works for me. If a player on your left is torturing you, then getting away from his right can actually help.

Take extended breaks. When the losing continues for days, weeks, or more (it happens to every player), time off will only help. This applies regardless of what category of player you fall into (please see other previous blogs about this). When you’re “running bad”, your hours may not be of the "quality" that you are looking to maintain. There is also no way to determine when this negative rush may be over. When you feel ready to play with confidence again, just go back into the casino and try playing. You will know soon enough, lol…

Tighten your budget. On a personal note; my biggest downfall through the years has been overspending money away from the poker table. This is a death wish for a poker player. When you are on a winning streak, which applies whether you are exceeding your per hour, day, month, etc. expectation, you tend to feel that it will never stop. This may entice you to overspend money, whether it be frivolity or otherwise. Remember, your winning streak will stop at some point. Trust me on this. When it does end, you will need to have that money you may have frittered away when you were winning, as well as the ability to reduce your spending even further.

Play in less concurrent games. This is for online players only, obviously. I may devote a future blog on the topic of how to play in multiple online games concurrently. For now, I will say that when on a losing streak, you may want to consider not multi-tabling at all, both for bankroll considerations and to maintain concentration and focus.

As always, I hope you have enjoyed reading my thoughts and opinions. You can usually find me in the $10/$20 and $30/$60 limit Stud, stud Hi/Lo, and Razz games on our site. We now offer $215 buy-in weekend tournaments (with guarantees) in those games as well. Please check the Tourney > Special lobby to find out when they start.

Feel free to contact me at

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in Strategy