Downswings represent the most important test for every good poker player. You can learn and master poker strategy, various intricate moves and you can get really handy with the odds (the mathematical part of the game), but when a downswing hits, all that will be tossed right out the window, unless you have a bankroll that can absorb the swing, and an attitude that will help you rise mentally above the situation.
Great players know that downswings are inevitable in the game of poker. They sort of come with the turf: you can only avoid downswings by not descending into the green felt arena and playing. Great players also know how to deal with such downswings. As a matter of fact, I think it’s safe to say that being able to deal with downswings is what separates great poker players from the rest of the bunch. Great poker players understand that while it can indeed be exasperating to play several thousand hands worth of your best poker and lose, that does not create a need for the player to switch gears and to depart from his solid poker playing ways. Here are some tips to help you deal with these poker demons without tilting and falling victim to their devious ways.
Long lasting downswings have the uncanny ability to make players hate poker. If you find yourself loathing the green felt and the chips, literally sick to your stomach when you have to log into your online poker room, take a break. You may feel like you’re done with the game one day, but provided you use your time away from the table wisely, you’ll be surprised how easy and handy you’ll find it to recover emotionally. When you feel like you’re ready to go back to the action, take a little time looking at things from a different perspective. Explore loyalty deals such as rake rebate and poker prop deals, and try to gain a different view of the game. Keeping things in perspective when in the middle of a downswing is never a bad idea. You know you’re a long term winning player. Before your losing streak struck and you fell from Lady Luck’s grace, you were winning on a regular basis, weren’t you? All that was surely not just luck. You are a winning player because you have skills, skills which work just as well now as they always did. The fact that short term luck is trouncing you right now doesn’t mean a whole lot in the long-run.
Bankroll management is one of the most important aspects of dealing with downswings. You need to protect your bankroll so that it can tide you through rough times. In order to manage your bankroll properly in the middle of a downswing, it is a great idea to take a step down. Go down to lower stakes if needed and rebuild there. Remember what Tom Dwan did when Isildur1 took the majority of his stack back in 2009? He went down to stakes he hadn’t played for quite a while in order to rebuild and to rebound. Be absolutely frank with yourself and take a look at your game from the downswing plagued, downtrodden perspective of the loser. Are you really on your best game? Is your best poker indeed as good as you think it is? Browse around a few poker forums and catch up on the latest trends. Are you really as up to date with your general game plan as you think you are? Post your hand histories if needed and see if it’s really Lady Luck who’s getting the better of you.
Try to distance yourself from the financial aspect of the game by focusing on the Sklansky bucks that you make.
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