When NOT to Play Real Money Poker

This is probably going to be the least popular page on, because nobody likes being told when not to play real money poker, and although we would not be so condescending as to suggest that you cannot play poker for real money under the following scenarios, we just think it is a good idea if you don´t!


If you watch a lot of American TV or used to be in the Marines, you will have heard of the term “DEFCON” – the US Armed Forces´ scale for states of alert (“defence readiness condition” in case you were wondering). Here at, we have our own warning system in the form of the acronym DETHCON – It´s not nearly as dramatic as the Cuban Missile Crisis, but it is a handy reminder not to play real money poker if you are any of the following:-

Drunk, Emotional, Tired, High, Cheesed Off or Negative

That is Why it is Called “Tilt”

There are three other occasions when it is recommended that you do not play real money poker, and these are known (by us anyway) as the “Three Lacks”.

Lack of Balance – If your real money poker session has not been going in your favour, and you start to make irrational betting decisions to try and recover the money you have lost, this is called “going on tilt”.

It is often difficult for individuals to recognise when they are playing on tilt, but you can be sure the other players around the table will identify your condition and take advantage of your poor play whenever possible – effectively making things worse for you!

The best thing you can do is to walk away from your computer, regain your equilibrium and start again – with revised stakes if necessary but, most importantly, in a balanced frame of mind.

Lack of Time – Multi table tournaments and even Sit n Go games can take many hours to complete and, if you sit down to take part in a tournament you cannot finish, you are wasting your money.

Most online poker sites have tournament lobbies in which you can view completed tournaments. If you are worried about not having enough time to complete a game, find a completed tournament with a similar number of players and see how long that took before you decide to enter.

Remember to choose the same type of tournament (Turbo, Knockout, Shoot Out etc) with the same length levels and same buy-in, and don´t forget to account for any difference there may be due to late registration periods.

Lack of Money – This many appear to be an obvious reason for not playing real money poker, but it is one that players who are DETHCON´d often forget, and they use money from other sources to fund their poker habit.

If you have played poker for real money when you could not afford to do so, there are a number of steps you can take to exclude yourself from online poker sites or limit how much money you deposit into your account.

If you require professional help, the charity GamCare provides an excellent online and telephone counseling service to help players and their families overcome the problems associated with a gambling addiction.