Following through on my commitment to play three 1 hour ring game sessions per week I spent several hours tonight online playing a $.10/$.25 ring game on Full Tilt. Tonights lesson - chips are not chips - they are money.
I started my evening with $15 starting my session about 8:00 p.m. I was up down early on and then ended up with a huge swing to the upside when I gambled a bit and my pair and straight draw on a low board up against pocket 10's. I pushed thinking the player I was up against did not have a pocket pair, but was pushing based on previous show downs and his betting patterns seemed to back up my hunch. I was wrong, but I drew a 2 on the river for a set and won a large pot vaulting me to more than double my investment.
Over the next few hands I started to notice that my starting hand selection had loosened and I was doing a lot more calling and folding. I sat out a few hands to think about what was happening and came to the realization that I was not viewing my chips as money. That is a bad move.
In any cash game, whether it be tournament or ring you should always keep in mind that just because you won a lot of chips there is no need to give them away and chips represent dollars. This is the exact reason casinos introduced chips - to remove the emotional connection from your hard earned money and you.
Keep this in mind the next time you go up big in a cash game, or for that matter any API tournament. Using your chips stack is one thing, giving it away is another.