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5 Tips for Responsible Gaming

March 1, 2024
by PokerStars Learn

Responsible gaming is a very important part of the mental hygiene of poker players. In this article, we’ll give you five tips that will help keep you in control of your play.

Don’t play when upset or tired

Don’t play when you are upset, tired, or in any form of distress. It is difficult to make good decisions when you are feeling down, so in these situations, it’s not advisable to jump into a session. We are human, and our decisions can correlate with our mood and general wellbeing. Only start playing poker if you are in a good mood. If you have had a bad day, it’s better to find an alternative activity, one which is physical, like running, can offer great benefits, including stress relief. Check out this article, which includes four healthy habits every poker player should practice.

Play for entertainment

If you choose to play, play for entertainment only. Although there are many professional poker players, poker was intended as a fun and social game in the early 1800s. Thanks to its nature, poker is a game that requires skill, so it’s something you can learn and get better at, but becoming a professional poker player isn’t as easy as it looks. Poker should be played for fun and not as a way of making money. No one wins all the time, not even the pros. If you are good enough at poker as a recreational player it’s a win-win, but don’t look at the game as a source of income.

Never chase losses

If you lose money, don’t play even more as a way of recouping your losses. This will only cause additional emotional frustration (tilt) and can lead to financial harm. Before you even realise, you could find yourself in a deep hole, and coming back will get harder and harder. If you are running bad and need a ’cool off period’, it’s a good idea to take a break and go for a walk, take in some fresh air, turn on your favourite TV show, or just play on your console. You should only return to the tables when you feel ready for it.

Set deposit limits

Set deposit limits and ensure you never deposit more than you can afford to play with. Deposit limits help you stay in control, manage your bankroll and the amounts you spend on playing poker. PokerStars offers many tools, so not only can you set a deposit limit, but you can set a table limit for cash games and a buy-in limit for tournaments. If you feel overwhelmed and you need a longer break, you can exclude yourself from playing for a longer period.

Play with money you can afford to lose

If you are a recreational player and poker is only a hobby for you, the money you set aside for poker should be part of your recreational budget. Never use money that you need for life essentials such as food, housing or bills on poker. Only play with money you can afford to lose, otherwise you will play under pressure all the time, which is the opposite of a fun activity – it will lead you to bad decisions and, most likely, to losses. If you are a professional poker player, your bankroll should be considered a tool you work with. Always make sure you have an emergency fund for your life expenses in case you have a downswing, sometimes they last longer than you’d expect.

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