You’ve probably heard it since the first day you started playing—you should leave the table when you get badly stuck. Most players do not heed this advice and continue to play after getting buried. We are all human and most of us do not play our best game when we are losing. However, there is another, more important reason to stop playing when down—image.
Most of us, when we think of a player’s image, think in terms of looseness or tightness. In live play, though, it is much more important to think of image in terms of winning or losing. You would be amazed at what you can get away with when you are winning big. Opponents think to themselves “He’s hot, I want to stay away from him.” This allows us to maneuver more and take control of the table. On the flip side when players see us lose they tend to want to go after us. Our continuation bets never get through and we are called down with the most ridiculous holdings.
Let’s say our hourly in a live $2-5 $500 cap game is $40 per hour. This rate is an average—total money won divided by total hours. It is not constant, however. Would it surprise you to learn that your hourly with a good image might be as much as $70-80 in the same games? Or that you might be a break even player with a losing image? I often see recreational players hit and running, leaving after they are quickly up. The only time you see these players playing long sessions is when they are stuck. They put in many more hours with a terrible image making it impossible for them to beat the game. Don’t fall into this pattern. Take advantage of your winning image.