February 9, 2016 Poker Strategy, Poker News Omar

Should you be playing Long Sessions or Short Sessions?

Players often ask: should I be playing long 8 hour grindfests, or should I play sessions of 1-2 hours with breaks in between? Each format has advantages and disadvantages, and different people are more likely to benefit from one or the other.

Short Sessions

Short Sessions are good if you don’t have the attention span to be sitting down for 8 hours. Playing short sessions of one or two hours also allows you breaks in between your sessions, and is particularly good for students, working people or people with erratic schedules who can never block out a full period for uninterrupted grinding.

You also have the ability to take breaks essentially whenever you want for coffee, a nap, to eat, exercise or to do something fun besides poker.  Furthermore, if you commit to playing exactly one hour, you never feel the pressure of grinding a losing session until you’ve reached a profit. This kind of approach could be good for your variance tolerance – rather than focusing on winning all the time, you focus on playing your best poker for one hour, tilt free, and then leave the table. Your goal is just to win those one hour sessions more often than you lose them, not to win every one hour session. Playing short sessions also allows you to pick and choose the most +EV times of day to grind and take breaks when the tables die down.

Unfortunately, the more breaks you take, the less volume you rake. Players on high value rakeback deals, or who can keep their mental state constant will certainly make more money playing long, uninterrupted sessions with fewer breaks. However,  by playing short sessions, your mental health will likely improve and you’ll be less likely to burn out.

Short Sessions

Playing short sessions allows you the freedom to eat healthy, sleep, exercise, and make time for all the fun things you want to do in your life.

Long Sessions

Long sessions have one undeniable advantage: volume. Every high-volume grinder sits down for 4, 6, 8 hour sessions regularly. Some sit down for 16 with a few breaks to eat here and there. If you can keep your head in the game for long periods of time you’ll earn a lot more.

However, a major problem with long sessions is that you often neglect breaks. We’ve all been there – you’re sitting down at the tables for six hours, hungry and tired, but force yourself to grind for one more hour before you eat lunch and have your mid-day coffee. So while you might be putting more hours in, the hours you put in are generally lower quality than if you were playing shorter, more spread out sessions. Players who play long breaks must adequately prepare themselves with food and drink, and must remember to take small breaks here and there. Another problem with long sessions is that by the time you’ve finished, you may be too tired to do anything else. You may neglect to review your hands, exercise, or eat healthy. You may find yourself too tired to socialize. Your poker game could directly suffer because you’ll be too tired to study poker or review your hands at the end of the day.

Players who play long sessions may also be at increased risk of poor health. In addition to neglecting their diet, sitting down for long sessions is bad for your back and other joints. It’s important to have a very comfortable ergonomic chair and desk if you plan on sitting down for long sessions. Furthermore, it’s easy to neglect exercise and fall out of shape if you grind 10 hour sessions every day moving nothing more than your mouse hand.

That being said, there is something to be said for your tendency to relax after a few hours into a session. If you’ve been stacked three times, stacked two people, and won a handful of decent sized pots, you’ve likely come to appreciate that these longer grinds are rollercoaster rides of up and downs. It’s as they say: the first cut is the deepest. Some players feel much more relaxed once they’ve had a chance to ease into their sessions.

The key to playing long sessions is preparing yourself with a comfortable work environment, taking small breaks when needed, and having the discipline to maintain a healthy lifestyle after you’ve left the tables for the day.


Playing long sessions will allow you to make more money, but you’ll probably be more tired, less healthy and stressed out as a result. If you’re the type you can make it work, you’ll become a grizzled veteran immune to the woes of variance.


Neither long sessions and short sessions are exclusively right for everybody. In fact, most players should probably be playing some of both to develop the different skills required to play several short sessions or a single long session each day. Furthermore, playing long and short sessions allows a player to pick ideal days where they can grind 6-8 hours with a small lunch break in between, and simultaneously play some shorter, more spread out sessions on days when they are busier.

A good strategy is to plan a weekly grinding schedule and slot in both long and short sessions depending on your lifestyle, attitude and schedule.

No matter your style or your needs, we offer high value rakeback deals on a wide variety of partners. To discuss how we can make your grinding most profitable and comfortable for you, please Contact Us.

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