When playing online casino games it is important to keep track of time and pace yourself. Your aim is to make money so it’s important to avoid marathon sessions. We’ve all been there. Some more than others. You know those nights where you’ve stared at your screen far too long and your chair is starting to conform to your body-slouching in ways it wasn’t designed to.

Depending on what game you’re playing, you’ve undoubtedly experienced some unforgettable highs and lows in the past (fill in the blank) hours. The reason for your extended session is most likely linked to one of two things: you either can’t stop because you’re on the heater of a lifetime or, on the contrary, you are trying to dig yourself out of the Grand Canyon of loss.

Either way, overextending yourself when gambling is involved is a losing proposition. There are several warning signs that should signal you to end the session and get some rest.

5) Auditory hallucinations. This is subtle and not always easy to discern, but somewhere near your 17th consecutive hour of Pai Gow Poker you may begin to experience the sensation of hearing strange sounds; voices and noises around you that normally should not be there.

For example, when you truly believe you hear safari animals closing in on you, it is probably a good time to call it quits for the night. If you happen to be listening to the soundtrack for Jumanji, disregard the previous statement and keep playing because in this case you’re still going strong.

4) Microsleeps. These occur uncontrollably when the body and mind are sleep deprived and cause a brief and temporary pause (a few seconds, or sometimes even a few minutes) in your conscious awareness.

The dangerous part about microsleeps when playing casino games is that people are often unaware they have occurred when they awaken. So don’t be surprised if half your stack is suddenly missing – especially if you are playing blackjack and your finger, acting on motor memory, decides you want to hit that 19 even though your eyes are closed and your mind is in dreamtown.

3) Visual hallucinations. If you start seeing things, shut off the computer and go lock yourself in the washroom until you fall asleep in the bathtub.

Just as a mirage in the distance is not actually a pond in the desert, the one-eyed jack at Joker Poker is not actually sending you a wink to suggest it’s a good time to bet it all.

We’ve all seen people who, a bit weary-eyed and sleepy, have misread their cards. Sometimes a four can look an awful lot like an ace and if you read it as such due to your own self-inflicted fatigue, it’s probably a good time to catch some z’s. Remember, when dice start giving you suggestions, they’re usually lying.

2) Furniture manipulation. The chair you occupy should not be misconstrued as your surrogate bed for the evening. If you find yourself spending more time adjusting your physical positioning instead of your calculations and strategy, you’re probably not reading the tells that your body is sending you.
It’s time to go to bed at this point, not make the bed come to you.
Beware – if you are playing on a laptop and decide that getting cozy with your blanket and pillow is optimal for your gaming needs, you may find a similar fate to #4 above as you wake up with your chips missing and drool on your shoulder.

A session online should be spent trying to maintain alertness and focus rather than comfort and relaxation.

1) Seeing people returning and starting a new day. When enough hours have passed that you find yourself seeing friends who have signed off, gotten on with their day, fulfilled their human sleep requirements, and returned to regular everyday activities, you might want to reconsider your current choices.
Alarm bells should be ringing at this point (pun indirectly intended): not only are you not at your optimal level of play, you now have disjointed your circadian body rhythm and will have trouble catching up with your daily routine.

Don’t let this happen. Get some sleep and come back well rested and ready to start a normal-length session. Your roll will thank you.