When You’re Thinking of Quitting Poker…

quitting poker

Everyone who has played for a long time has considered quitting poker at some point. It’s a game that will test you in so many ways. Whether you’re always losing, running bad, burnt out or just lost the passion, there will be times you will want to quit for good. In this article, I’m going to share some reasons for hope but also give a dose of reality too. I hope you find it helpful if you’re considering quitting poker.

Take a Step Back

The most common reason for quitting poker is without doubt the losses. People play to win and if things aren’t going well, it can make you want to quit. The underlying reasons for losing will vary from one reader to another so there is no universal truth here. What I will say is that in the midst of a prolonged period of losing, it’s wise to take a step back. Assess the situation with impartiality, if possible, and be frank with yourself. Consider getting opinions from those around you who know poker well to offer some insight into your situation.

Find out whether you’re losing because of a bad run of luck or if there is more to it. Perhaps you’ve been in the wrong games, playing above your head or playing too many tables. There are loads of reasons why a player might be losing. The best advice I can give is to take a step back and analyse the situation as if you’re helping a friend.

Stop Playing & Have Fun (but stay involved)

Once you’ve taken a step back and assessed the reasons, you can attempt to fashion a solution. This might mean taking a long break, investing in poker courses to learn fundamentals or just choosing your games better.

Now you have the solution, don’t rush back to the tables yet. If you’ve been thinking about quitting poker, it’s probably a good idea to at least stop for a little while. I highly recommend you use this time to enjoy yourself, have fun and don’t fixate on the negative side of poker in this rest period. Play football, spend time with friends, watch movies or have free spins at an online casino. Taking time out and having fun will put in you a better mood and keep your morale up.

Whilst you’re on a break from poker, you can still be involved with it – just don’t play. This might mean surfing two plus two, watching YouTube videos or just reading our blog posts. It keeps your subconscious mind ticking over on poker so you aren’t rusty when you choose to return. I suggest between two and four weeks as a sensible rest period before returning to play.

Be Realistic & Set Goals

So now you’ve taken a step back, you’ve had a break and enjoyed yourself away from poker. If you’ve decided you want to continue with poker, it’s the perfect time to be realistic with yourself and what you hope to achieve in poker. It’s a cold hard fact that not everyone is destined to be a professional. For some, a side income from part-time poker is the best they can strive for, and for many, they will be consistent losers. Having said that, I firmly believe anyone can beat the micros and low stakes with hard work and dedication, but few are prepared to do that.

If you’re honest and realistic about what poker can do for you in the future, you will be better prepared mentally to deal with the challenges. You can set poker goals and plan out how you will achieve them. This can be a huge motivation to persevere and is very rewarding when goals are completed. Building a longer-term view is an excellent trait. It will can serve you well in poker, a game with short term fluctuations and volatile results.


Quitting poker is something we’ve all considered at one time or another so don’t worry if you’ve been thinking about. I hope this article serves as relief for those of you who love the game and work hard but having a bad run and hurting. Just remember there are countless others like you. It’s how you deal with the tough runs that shape you as a complete poker player.

For those of you who have lost for years, completed the steps I recommended (assessed the why and taking a break) and wondering what to do. It might be time to call it a day. There’s nothing wrong in quitting poker. You can reclaim some valuable personal time, save money and explore other interests. If you’ve never quite got it or haven’t got the time to dedicate yourself to improving, it might be time to stop and that’s fine.  

And finally for players who are at a crossroad and want to improve but don’t know how, I’d love to hear from you. We have various methods of poker training that can help you. Just fill in the form below to tell us about you and we will be in touch to see if we can help you.

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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: info@texasholdemquestions.com