How much is too much? That's a question every poker player must ask as they get more and more involved in the game. There are people in Vegas that play nearly all the time. If they are awake, they are playing poker. And quite honestly....yawn. Everyone needs a life filled with variety. Too much of anything is not a good thing.
So how much should you be playing? I give you the following as a guideline. You figure how it fits into your life.
1. If you want to be a solid player, who wins more than he loses, then you MUST be playing at least once a week. Any less that that simply won't allow you to practice anything to improve your game.
Also, playing once a week keeps your mind focused on poker. I have several people that show up once a month, if even that often. And they NEVER win. In fact, they are normally in the first group out.
2. If you want to be considered one of the better players at the table, then you need to be playing at least twice a week. This allows you to work on your betting and raising skills, as well as your "poker face". It is important that you keep your body attuned with the game. When I take as little as a week off from the game, I always take too much time once I do play just adjusting to being in the game. With a week off, I guarantee you that the first big hand I get when I return will result in shaking hands or a very rapid heart beat. When I play several times a week, I get those same hands with no visable reaction.
3. Would you like to make a living at poker? Then you'll need to play cash games, and you'll need to devote as much time to it as you would to any job. In other words, 40 hours a week should not be out of the question. Look at it this way. If you were to go to Vegas, and try to make a living playing $1/$2 blinds cash games, you could easily play solid conservative play and earn a profit of $20 or more an hour. That's over $40,000 a year. And I'm not going to say "tax free", because I know you would pay your taxes. If you were good enough to bump that up to $50 an hour, that's $100,000 a year. But you aren't going to do that by driving to Vegas from Tucson on the weekend. You just can't play that infrequently, for a high enough blind level, successfully.
And lets not forget: Even the best in the game lose occasionally. So you'd need to earn enough to overcome the losses. That's why I talk about averaging $20 an hour profit, or $50 an hour profit, instead of wins and losses per session.
But for the most of you, I'm sure you could find the time to fit into #2 above. Twice a week isn't out of the question for most anyone. Look at it this way: If you play twice a week, you have 5 other nights per week that you don't play. In my own case, I play 4 times a week. But at least two of them are Monday and Tuesday night. I take those instead of every weekend night, because I'm not doing anything those nights anyway. On Monday I'm just sitting watching football. So playing poker while sitting there watching football isn't that different.
For the weekend, I always check with the wife at least a week ahead of time to see if there is anything she wants to do. If she does, then I scratch poker from that night. And honestly, she doesn't care so much about the poker anyway, since it is the poker winnings that pay for the stuff she'd like to do. There's nothing better than reaching in the poker cash box and taking out $150 to treat her to a nice dinner, and not have to go to the ATM or use a credit card. And as long as she is seeing, and benefitting from, those winnings, she is more than happy to see me head off to play.
For you, you'll need to figure out where it fits into your lifestyle. Wife and kids? Good luck with 4 nights a week. College student? There's booze and women (or men) to partake of. Married awhile with grown kids and a wife that prefers your deaf butt be out of the house so she can do her crafts and watch Lifetime? WELCOME TO MY LIFE!!!
And don't forget, while planning your PLAY, to also plan your studying. You'll learn from playing, but it is MUCH cheaper to learn from the masters, and then applying their teaching at the tables.
OK, enough of me. SHUFFLE UP AND DEAL!!!