It's true that poker can bring out the best in the worst in people. One of the most significant things that separate winning and losing players is the skills and discretion, to be honest with yourself when you're not playing your best. Here are a few ways in which to tell when you're on the top of your game and when you need to call it quits.
Poker can become a personal game; professional players know not to get to that point. However, it's human nature to want to get back at the person who wins a few big pots all at your expense. Actually, you are more likely to feel this way if those pots were won on some stroke of luck. Ultimately this boils down to pride and ego. So is trying to get even with them. You need to realize that there is something called incredible variance in poker so your choice should be to make good decisions consistently.
Lots of people have an instinct to want to get things back that they've lost. This doesn't just apply to the poker table but every area of life. However, when some players lose a great deal, they get aggressive and refuse to give up pots. The results of this are throwing away money by over-committing yourself with week hands. The worst part is that once you start playing this way, it's hard to stop. The bad news again is that even if you are fortunate enough to win a few big pots, it often tends to go right back to square one. One sure way to recognize when you start chasing pots is when you call a bet that you usually would not make.
Poker is known to be a game of incomplete information. Some professional players have an incredible ability to observe and recognize important information that helps them gain an inch and ultimately make better decisions. However, to maximize your knowledge, you need to stay focused. It's not unheard of for minds to start wondering at the poker table, especially if there are lots of things going on in your life at that time. However, once you feel that you are not focusing 100% on the game, stop playing immediately. But, if you really and genuinely want to keep playing, take a break, free your mind and then get back to it.
If you set yourself a target of making $300 at the poker table and you instantly win $297 on a great hand, it's time to call it quits. Even though you are in a strong poker position, the sensible thing to do would be to walk away since your goal has been reached. It's an excellent way to educate yourself and also exercise discipline.
Once you start winning a few great hands, it's easy to start getting cocky. This winning streak leads you to begin betting high and possibly lose your winnings. However, don't do this, limit yourself, manage your money, and ultimately called it quits. This is the best way to make sure that you come out with some winnings at least instead of losing all of it.