Get Out of Downswing

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Each poker player winner has its own strategy depending on his/her situation at play, his/her opponent mind set, stack sizes at the table and other such considerations. Here poker stars reveal some of the tips and tricks that are important for a player.


Dealing with the downswings

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“Players need to understand that they’re not going to be able to spend their entire careers on some miracle heater, as nice as that would be. This is especially true for tournament-only players, who tend to experience higher variance than cash-game players who play for equivalent stakes. One very important piece of advice that I have for beginners who are experiencing downswings is to remember to spend time focusing on other aspects of their lives.

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It may seem like odd and unrelated advice, but I’ve definitely noticed that players who do nothing but grind out their 80-hour week of tournaments are much more emotionally attached to their short-term results than those who spend a lot less time playing poker and more time enjoying other aspects of their lives.

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Another thing I’ve found that helps me during downswings is to have dealer’s choice home games with friends for small stakes. This is a great way to relax and play some poker without worrying so much about the expected value of every decision. I’m certain to be down thousands of dollars in these home games over the years, because I get drunk and intentionally play like an idiot. I also wouldn’t trade these losses for the world, because I have a blast.

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It takes these games with friends to remind me of why I have such a strong passion for poker”.

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“The variance in poker can be devastating to your emotions, and overcoming these emotions can have a great impact on your overall success in poker. I personally believe that one of the best ways to deal with these downswings is to take small breaks and go out with some friends or do something that is not poker-related. It is important to have friends outside of poker, so that you don’t even have to talk about poker during your breaks.

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However, while breaks are important, I believe that the most important thing when dealing with downswings is to just keep playing the game. The more hands, hours, and effort you put into the game, the more you are going to learn. Poker is a very situational game, and the more different situations you see, the better you will become at handling them. So, it’s important to fight through your downswings and keep playing, because, in the end, if you’re a highly skilled player, you will beat the long-term variance and make money.”

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“The best way to deal with downswings is to play within your bankroll and make sure that you keep a significant amount of money set aside for poker. That way, even large downswings shouldn’t affect your personal finances. Knowing that you are still in OK shape financially will greatly reduce the stress associated with downswings.

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It’s important to remember that when playing tournament poker, you really have to plan for and expect large downswings. It’s easy for a winning player to go broke from a downswing if he’s playing outside of his bankroll.

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Of course, there are other stresses, like doubting the fact that you are still playing winning poker. I definitely have fallen into this mindset at times, and it has always helped me to review hands with other players to make sure that I’m just running badly and not making critical mistakes. Taking some time off from the game is another thing that has helped me cope with losing. After losing week after week, you begin to doubt yourself and dread playing poker. Sometimes, taking a step back for a few days and coming back fresh gives me a more positive outlook on the situation.”