Every good poker player knows that keeping track of your time and cash flow is an integral part of getting better at the game. Wasting time or money while you’re playing isn’t smart. But it’s also essential to keep your safe when you’re playing online. Keeping a good handle on your poker, and gambling in general, can go some way to ensuring that if things start getting tougher for you and you fear there’s a problem starting, you can catch on to it quick. So we’re going to spin you through some of the most useful responsible gambling tools we’ve found to keep track of your time and money when you’re gambling online.

1. Budget calculator

Not strictly just a responsible gambling tool, budget calculators can help anyone in any walk of life. It’s very important to keep an eye on your ingoings and outgoings so you know where your hard earned money is going.

Some online poker rooms actually provide a budget calculator for their punters so they can work out what their disposable income is. So that’s what money you have leftover after you’ve paid all your non-negotiables. If your online poker room doesn’t provide one, it’s pretty simple to add it all up yourself.

DIY budget calculator

First off, think about your living expenses. So rent/mortgage, bills, loan repayments, transport costs, typical grocery bills, childcare, subscriptions and anything else you pay every month. If there’s a big expense you pay once a year, say insurance, divide that by 12 and add that into your living expenses. Then deduct your total living expenses from your net income (that’s how much money you’re paid minus tax) and you’re left with your disposable income.

That figure isn’t how much you should spend playing online poker though! Of course, you’ll want to spend the majority of it on social activities, treats for yourself, vacations, etc. But perhaps you can save a small proportion of this for your online poker or other online gambling. Then you’ve got to stick to it.

2. Activity tracker

Now this responsible gambling tool can help you keep track of both your time and money. We love a dual purpose resource! On pretty much all decent online poker rooms, sportsbooks and casinos, you’ll be able to find a detailed history of your activity.

So you should be able to see when you’ve placed your bets, your current balance, your history of wins and losses and all your transactions. To get a better idea of how this has evolved, you should be able to take a close look at these things over the course of a week, month or even a whole year.

By looking at your past gambling and how it’s looking now via the activity tracker, you can assess if you’re happy enough with it or if you need to adjust your behavior.

3. Deposit limit

After you’ve taken a good look at your history and worked out your monthly budget, the next no-brainer is to set a deposit limit. This is simply the maximum amount your online poker room will allow you to deposit. You can set this as a 24-hour, 7-day or 30-day limit, depending on the provider. We’re a big fan of either a 7-day or 30-day limit if you’re not going to be playing every day, because that allows for some times when you do several small sessions on several evenings a week or the odd weekend where you have a longer session. It’s a little more flexible, if you ask us.

4. Time limit

Setting a time limit can actually be a little trickier than setting a deposit limit. For deposit limits, you can use a budget calculator to figure out just how much money is reasonable for you to spend every month. But it’s harder to figure out how much time you should be spending.

A good way to think about it is by thinking about your other responsibilities and making sure you’re not encroaching on them. Think about what happens on an average day and how much time you usually spend gambling. Do you tend to spend a little time more gambling than you’d like, meaning that you have less time to do other things? Then you definitely need to set a more conservative time limit than the sessions you usually put in. Or maybe things are going pretty okay? Then stick with the time you usually use for gambling. But set your time limit now so you don’t start accidentally spending more time than you’d like.

Set that reminder

To make it easier to stick to your time limits, you can set a reality check reminder on many online gambling sites. This notification pops up when you’ve spent over a certain amount of time in a session gambling. However, it’s important to note that depending on the site, sportsbook and casino get reality check alerts but they sometimes don’t apply to poker sessions.

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