This weekend, I decided to focus all of my intention on online poker and, although I made a nice tidy profit, it could have, and should have, been more. The reason for this was simple… I failed to take breaks at the appropriate times.

Although I don’t quite play online as avidly as I used to, I feel as though I have enough experience in front of the lappie to know better, and to finish the weekend up is not just satisfying, but a total relief.

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On Friday night, I sat down in front of the computer, perhaps in slightly complacent mood, and started playing four tables simultaneously. At first, I was running well. I was a few hundred dollars up after 90 minutes and I had decided, quite rightly, that now would be a good time to take a break.

On my return, my fortunes changed. I suffered two bad beats at the same time for my entire stack and began to lose my discipline. When you lose big on two tables in such a short space of time, it is often hard to maintain your composure. This is perhaps the biggest obstacle I encounter as a cash game multitabler.

Although I have learnt to control my temper and still successfully maintain a solid game, I do have a torrid tendency to keep plugging away until I retrieve those losses. I often manage to achieve this feat, but it frequently results in failing to take the appropriate breaks. I’ll stubbornly adopt the ‘must get my money back’ attitude, and this is a mindset that can be oh so dangerous when playing online.

Initially, as I was still alert and playing well, I did manage to plough back the majority of my losses, but I was still $100 down. I felt myself tiring and I knew it was time for a break. However, I foolishly continued, and this resulted in loose calls, misclicks, and so on. When I did eventually manage to tear myself away from the laptop, I was several hundred down and cursing the fact that I’d failed to take a step back when I knew I wasn’t in the correct frame of mind.

So, no one’s perfect, even someone who has played as much online poker as me can make fundamental mistakes… and this was a faux-pas that I thought I’d seen the back of many moons ago.

The important thing here, however, is identifying the error and making sure it doesn’t happen again. So, the next day, I ensured that I took breaks every 60 minutes (this figure will be subjective depending on you as an individual), whether I was winning millions or removing the shirt off my back. This helped me no end, and I somehow managed to finish the weekend several hundred bucks UP.

The morale here is that ‘tomorrow is another day’. If you’re feeling tired, then have a break, take a Kit Kat, do whatever you have to do to get back in the zone. And, if you’re simply playing badly, then consider stopping altogether and just try again tomorrow, when you are fresh and on the ball. After all, the world’s not going to end overnight now, is it?

The problem is that, like me on Friday, players, who know they are skillful at poker, don’t like finishing a session down, and, although they can continue to play well, fatigue can sometimes creep up on them and cause that small loss to turn into a mammoth financial kick in the balls.

So, be sensible, keep you eye on the clock, and be sure to take plenty of breaks. These are the disciplinary factors that sort the men from the boys, make sure you’re not the latter

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