October 5, 2016

Long Sessions vs Short Sessions

Every so often a thread will pop up in poker forums debating whether short sessions or long sessions of poker are better. How long you spend playing online poker can be more important than you might think.

I made a little pro and cons list, followed by a brief write up of my opinion. This mostly applies to online cash games because other types of poker don’t allow you to come and go as you please.

Short Sessions

Pros:
• More likely to remain focused
• Less likely to soft tilt
• More likely to proactively game select
• Less eye strain and wrist strain

Cons:
• More time wasted loading up/closing out tables
• Less hands per hour for the same reason
• Less time to build up table image and get reads on other players
• Less likely to have a winning session

Long Sessions

Pros:
• Able to build up table image and potentially exploit table dynamics
• More hands per hour
• More efficient use of time
• More likely to have a winning session

Cons:
• Probability of losing focus is higher
• Soft tilt can set in
• Greater eyestrain and wrist strain

I am personally in the short sessions camp. I find it greatly beneficial to play one hour sessions instead of playing until your vision is blurred. Playing one hour sessions keeps me on my A game. Even a 15 minute break between sessions can get rid of some tilt and refocus me.

I still can play lots of poker by playing many sessions in a day. Some people will prefer otherwise, but I think in long sessions people tend to get lazy about game selection, but your tables are way less likely to go bad in an hour than they are in three hours.

Everyone is different and of course some ply long sessions, even legendary live poker players have been known to play marathon sessions that could last more than 24 hours. But online poker is quite different with much more decisions to be made per hour especially if you multi-table. So the stress level is much higher than it used to be before the rise of Internet poker.