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Time Management


In this article
  • Concrete playing times are important
  • Set goals on how much you want to study

Poker has a seductive power, affecting the everyday life of all its aficionados. Before you even notice it, you start losing your autonomy and start making decision that cause damage to your progress in life. For most people, poker is a minor matter that doesn't determine their overall lifestyle. You need to make sure it does not start controlling your actions and negatively influence your education, your job or even your social contacts. Because of this, you should consider how much time you really want to spend on poker. The next step is a strict disciplinary compliance to your self-made time schedule.


If you start to play with a noticeable amount of money (with “noticeable amount” being a relative term), you should always try to play your best game. Most people suffer from a reduction of their concentration the longer they play. On weekends you should consider postponing your poker activity until the daytime.

Opponent Orientation
In most cases, you will be playing against Americans. At what time are they most vulnerable? You should play late in the evening or early in the morning. If I were an (active) poker pro, I would get up every morning around 5-6 a.m. (always speaking of CET) take 1 hour to become mentally fit and start poker around 6-7 a.m. Most opponents are tired, boozed and “stuck in the game.” Many players are not able to stop playing poker if they are behind. They keep on playing poker longer and longer and become even more tired. Others become impatient and play too aggressively, or they climb up in the limits to chase losses or take shots at bigger amounts. In most cases, they are not good enough for these limits and represent easy money for the experienced veterans.

Sleeping Rhythm
If you have the problem with stopping play when you are behind, you are in danger of destroying your natural sleeping rhythm, as you will regularly play until late in the night.

Sleeping Quality
Some players have trouble sleeping when they played late into the evening?

During the Week

Experience dictates that playing poker on the weekends is more profitable compared to the weekdays. On the one hand, there are weaker opponents and on the other, the amount of drunk people is higher at specific times of the day.

Fixed Playing Times
Pre-defined playing times are optimum (see above). You should be able to leave the tables with a loss. Often the loss will be the result of other factors than just bad card luck. Perhaps the opponents were good, or you are not playing your A-game. On the other hand, if you are sitting at a table with very many bad players it might be profitable to extend the session. But this should only be done if it doesn't negatively effect other aspects of your life.

Most people are not able to keep playing for 8 hours and longer without losing their concentration. You should try to develop a good sense of when you need a break. If you do poorly, you should definitely take a break.

Theory and Practice
Most people enjoy playing but do not enjoy the studying aspect. Yet it is very important that you don’t forget: You will make more money in the long run if you study constantly. You should aim at studying theory and evaluating your game for 1 hour for every 3 hours that you play. Since many players will have problems doing this, I recommend at least achieving a 5:1 relationship.

Define your Goals
Only define goals concerning the study of the theory. Don't try to set financial goals. It is not practical to put yourself under pressure from an applied point of view. If you follow bankroll management and study, the development will set in by itself. Setting yourself goals on how much and what you want to study, on the other hand, is a very effective way of improving your game.

Comments (12)

#1 alxwm, 25 Jan 08 12:42

whatever.. :P :@

#2 rollkin, 05 Mar 08 15:40

how to collect the points to getr higher rank ?!

#3 mouse89, 06 Oct 08 14:29


#4 rossofosso, 03 Nov 08 22:14


#5 SadisticNature, 02 Jan 09 22:49

This is actually huge if you're ever considering going pro. You need to adjust to managing to playing 40-60 hours a week of quality poker and that means being able to manage your time in a way that you play optimally.

#6 thedrui, 05 Aug 09 16:52

It would be nice if you were more spesific than late evening.When does late evening begin and early night start.

#7 henriklhenrikl, 25 Mar 10 21:17

Probably it would be around midngight and later. The states are -5 GMT.

#8 mancamanca, 26 Apr 10 17:53


#9 Salivanth, 02 Jan 11 14:11

I like that 3:1 idea. I should do this for real-time strategy games too. For every three games I play, I must analyse one of my replays.

#10 ExpertsLV, 07 Jun 11 11:31

Great, i should always play my A-game

#11 JoMidas, 29 Jul 14 00:15

Do not set financial goals... brilliant!

#12 sirilidion, 25 Aug 14 08:12

no more Americans to play against ;(. Do these articles ever get updated?