What To Do After a Big Win in Poker

Know what to do after a big win from poker by reading our handy, free hints

Every poker player who has ever played this crazy game has dreamed of enjoying a big win. It doesn’t matter if they play cash games or tournaments, a big win is their number one priority.

It’s quite difficult to experience a big win in cash games because of how they are. Your wins are usually spread out over a period of time rather than happening in one big chunk. This isn’t always the case, however, just as Finland’s Sami Kelopuro.

Kelopuro is a high stakes professional poker player who is better known as “LarsLuzak” in online poker circles. The Finnish star is equally as awesome in cash games as he is tournaments, which is something of a rarity. He found himself playing heads-up Pot-Limit Omaha against an unknown opponent on partypoker.

The pair battled at the $100/$200 stakes and Kelopuro quickly lost $85,000 to his mystery opponent. Kelopuro knew this was mostly down to variance so continued playing, knowing a big win was on the cards. He was correct because he turned a $1.3 million profit from the session!

Tournament players are more likely to experience a big win by their very nature. MTTs often pay their champion 100-times or more the tournament’s buy-in. Nick Petrangelo, for example, won the $3,200 WPT 6-max Championship at partypoker this week. His $3,200 investment swelled to a most impressive $494,550.

What Is Consider to be a Big Win?

What determines a big win is down to the person doing the winning. The size of the win relates to the size of the player’s bankroll. Winning $5 isn’t big by any stretch of the imagination, but it is huge if your bankroll was only $0.50. That’s an extreme example, but one that highlights what I’m getting at.

People only consider the positives of a big win and completely disregard the negatives. We measure our success in poker with the money we win. A big win makes us feel successful, powerful even. The extra money allows us to grow our bankrolls or even cashout and make a purchase. This is all well and good, but you need to avoid some of the dangers that come with a big win.

Keep Your Feet On The Ground After a Big Win

I’ve been in this industry for more than a decade and have lost count of the times I’ve seen a player announce they’re turning pro after a big win or a highly successful month. There is a ridiculous amount of luck needed to win any poker tournament. You may have played the best poker of your entire life on the way to your win. I’d bet my bottom dollar you got extremely lucky too.

That luck will have showed in many different ways. Flops that were great to continuation-bet on, your opponent missing draws, etc. Winning five coinflips in a row is a 32-to-1 shot in itself. I bet you won more on the way to your big win.

Be realistic about your skill level. Take that confidence boost but don’t get carried away.

Don’t Move Up Stakes Too Quickly

It’s tempting to use the extra cash from your big win to move up limits faster. A boost to your bankroll gives you more freedom to play what you wish, just don’t go too far.

You probably won’t notice much difference in your opponents’ skills jumping from $5 to $10 buy-in games. But you will if you win enough to be bankrolled for $55 or even $109 games where many pros lurk.

I rarely discourage players from taking a shot at higher stakes, especially when they’re running hot. Some pros have built monster-sized bankrolls doing this and are now just cruising along. The danger of playing much higher stakes than usual is you are an underdog there. There’s no point being the six-best NLHE player in the world if you always play against the top five. Take a couple of shots in MTTs you wouldn’t and couldn’t usually play. Just don’t believe you’re a $109 regular because you have the money to be.

Treat Yourself or Your Family

This last one depends on how large your big win was, but consider treating yourself or your loved ones. Poker is quite a selfish game because it is you against them. It’s difficult to play your best poker with distractions going on, leading to some online poker players shutting themselves away in a different part of the house. Tournaments can take 10-12 hours at a time, all while you’re on your own.

Reward yourself for your victory so you have something to show for your efforts. Your gift to yourself will also serve as a reminder of success when times are hard at the tables. Likewise, treat your loved ones, even to something as simple as a trip to the cinema. Allow poker to pay for something positive for those around you.

Above all, enjoy it because winning big is rare!

Matthew Pitt

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.

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