Poker Stop Loss – Work Yours Out

poker stop loss

Poker Stop Loss

Losses will happen in poker players. It’s inevitable and par of the game. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting down for the first time or Daniel Negreanu, you will suffer losing sessions. Losing affects people differently. Some have excellent emotional control but a lot of player’s suffer from tilt. We’re human, not robots, and taking a bad beat or being on the wrong side of a cooler might affect how you play. One of the ways to protect your bankroll is to setup a personal rule called a poker stop loss. In this article, we will look at what a stop loss is and how it can help you.

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What is a Poker Stop Loss?

A stop loss is a fixed rule that triggers you quitting your session and stop playing after a certain number of buy-ins. It is should be an objective number not based on personal feelings.

Different Types of Stop Losses

There are a few different stop losses you can enforce. You can use a few simultaneously or only use one. 

Daily Limit Stop Loss

Setting a stop loss based on a daily limit is a good idea as it give’s breathing space. Some players find this particularly useful if they usually play a few sessions in a day. FYI – This is useful to implement for casino games too, particularly NonStopCasino sites, which have less information on problem gambling and less regulation too.

Table Stop Loss

If you are multi-tabling, having a table stop loss is usually to prevent you losing against potentially stronger opponents. The theory behind it is ok but it doesn’t protect you from tilting on other tables does it?

Session Stop Loss

This is the most common type. It’s easy to understand and follow. If you hit your stop loss, you quit. It’s important to ensure you have sufficient time between sessions though, otherwise, you can bypass stop loss by counting it as a “new session”. I recommend at least 4 hours between starting a new session. Otherwise, if you play again 1 hour later, there is a risk of you being in the same mindset as before.

Considerations for Setting Stop Loss

The amount you set should depend on your emotional control, experience, playing style, proneness to tilt and format you play.
The more experienced, less prone to tilt and shorter handed games you play, the higher stop loss you can have. Some of these measures are easy to assess. You know if you play heads up or shorthanded, you know if you’ve played 6 months or 6 years. But when it comes to rating your likelihood of tilting – you need to be honest and ruthless with yourself. Think back to the last few sessions where you lost. At what point did you feel your game suffering? How likely are you to spew, make bad calls or silly bluffs? Now, rate your proneness to tilt based one the above scores.

1) Cold as ice. It takes a lot to get you off your game and you have a professional attitude.
2) Luke warm. You are generally very composed even after 1 or 2 buy in losses. However, a bad run of hands and several losses will start to affect to your game.
3) Heart on sleeve. You don’t take well to losing buy ins and start to make silly mistakes pretty quickly.

Texas Hold’em Question’s Stop Loss Calculator

Choosing a stop loss for yourself can be tricky. The most important thing is to find out what is right for you and sticking to it. Treat it as a rule and don’t deviate it from. Also, if you feel like you are playing bad before the stop loss, quit before it. That’s an incredibly important thing to remember. The rule is there to protect your bankroll and losing more but if you are already playing bad, leave the game.

I’ve created a stop loss calculator. Run through the table below, tallying up your scores. Use the key at the end to find out how many buy-ins should have as your stop loss.

PointsExperienceBankroll ManagementFormatPlaying Style Proneness to Tilt
5> 5 Years> 100 Buy-insHeads upLAGIce Cold
3Between 1 and 5 yearsBetween 50 and 100 buy-ins6 Max TAGLukewarm
1< 1 Year< 50 Buy-insFull RingNittyHeart on Sleeve

Have you added your points up? Find out what stop loss limit to employ from the table below:

ScoreStop Loss Limit
> 2010 Buy-ins
Between 15 and 208 Buy-ins
Between 6 and 146 Buy-ins
< 6 3 Buy-ins


The table above is a guide to help you calculate how many buy-ins you should set for you stop loss. However, if you ticked heart on sleeve for proneness to tilt. I recommend moving down 1 in the table above. For instance, if your total was 12, move from 6 buy-ins down to 3. Your proneness to tilt is one of the biggest factors to setting a stop loss so it holds more weight than the other aspects.

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Narciso Baldo is the Director and Head Coach of Texas Hold'em Questions. He has been playing poker for over 16 years. After spending many years as a professional, he now runs UK poker training site Texas Hold'em Questions. Narciso regularly writes poker articles sharing tips, strategy, news and experience with gambling enthusiasts. Narciso also writes for reputable gambling portal Casino City Times, (bio here). Contact: