Session length for ring games

Playing ring is different from tournament poker in that you can play as long as there’s another player at your table.

So how do you decide how long you want to play at a table, assuming you have nothing else to do to force you to leave by a given deadline?

What I have been doing lately:

  1. Sit in and play until I have my first big pot.

1A) If I win, keep playing a bit more, but try to keep the session short, profitable, and happy, and bank a nice, if somewhat modest profit of anywhere from 0.5-1.5 stacks of chips. Typical session length might be 10-20 minutes.

1B) If I lose, keep playing as long as it takes to get back into the “black” (meaning, up chips for the session) and then quit soon thereafter. This usually isn’t too hard to do, but it generally takes a long time, typical session length might be 60-240 minutes. I generally only leave a table accepting a loss if I’m forced to by time constraints or everyone else leaves the table and there’s no one to play.

I will also leave a table early if I don’t like the style of play being exhibited.

It occurs to me that the longer sessions aren’t as fun because I’m not winning, I’m trying to avoid taking a bankroll loss. On the other hand, it’s a great challenge, like walking out into the middle of the woods, chopping off both of your legs, and then seeing if you can get back to civilization safely (where you can re-grow your legs as you go down the trail, and end up more or less OK).

How do you determine how long you want to play ring, and does it matter whether you’re winning or losing?

These days, I tend to stop playing when I realise that I’m too drunk to see the cards and I’ve just been raising randomly :slight_smile:

In my more sensible days, if I was winning then I would stay until I hit a big loss due to bad play. My rationale is that if I am winning then I am playing better than whoever else is on the table and leaving the table would be leaving chips behind that are rightfully mine lol

On the other paw, if I start playing and I’m unable to make decent to significant gains then I am, at best, playing to the same level as the other people and so I will leave the table. If I felt that I was playing well but mismatched then I will find a softer table … otherwise it’s off to play sudoku or chess … something solitary where I can’t hurt myself!


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I haven’t played ring games in over 3 years but when I did I stopped when I had to pee and never returned.

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I usually play until:

  • I lose my chips (I usually don’t ever re-load); I’ll reload and keep playing if I’m still feeling cheerful and also think the table is looking really promising, but I’d say 95% of the time I call it a session as soon as I’ve been stacked (though I’ll often come back 30 minutes or an hour later)
  • I notice I’m thinking about other things and feel an urge to do anything else
  • I notice I’m not enjoying myself
  • my wife tells me it is time to go grocery shopping