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Strategies For Dealing With Downswings In Poker

Variance in the game of poker is a factor that cannot be ignored. While some poker players may never experience it, for most of us mortals, it is something that needs to be considered. You should expect to lose most of the poker games you are going to register for. Poker is a perpetual cycle of losses fueled by a tiny bit of explosions that makes the game so special.

As a poker player, you always need to keep in mind that winter is coming. No one is safe from the impending doom of a long losing streak. Here are a few tricks on how to overcome any downswing at the poker table.

Bankroll Management

If you are going through a long stretch of losing money at the poker table, you need to lower your average buy-in. Playing for lower stakes has a lot of merit. You get to practice your technical skills, your patience, resilience, the field is softer, and so much more! A lot of poker players undervalue small stakes, but these games have massive guarantees for the price and are a great way to end any downswing.

Replacing Play Time For More Poker Study Time

Cutting down your play time at the poker table and adding some time either before or after your session to study the game of poker will add up to some incredible EV in the long run. There are many free resources you can use to improve your strategy like YouTube, Discord, Reddit, and many more!

Look for general heuristics like ´´If you play a hand of poker at low SPR, you do not get to fold top pair while at high SPR the value of top pair goes down a lot.´´ SPR stands for stack to pot ratio and is a simple division between your stack and the pot.

Take The Quiz And Prove You Can Bluff Like The Pros

Take Time Each Day To Review Poker Hands

While you play the wonderful game of poker, spots will come up where you do not know what to do. You want to mark these hands and make a point to review two or three of them every day. An easy way to mark hands on GGPoker is to click on the hand replayer and to download the hand while you play. Figuring out ways to play better with your range will be easier after the games are done, once your mind is free. Making a little progress everyday can go a very, very long way.

Use A Poker Hand Tracker For Online Play

Getting a poker tracker like Hold’em Manager 3 or Poker Tracker 4 will help you in finding leaks in your poker game. Using these tools, you can figure out what stack depth and what position gives you trouble when you play poker online. You can compare your EV bb/100 with players that beat the game.

Here is a reference from the masterpiece Modern Poker Theory by Michael Acevedo that I highly recommend. You can compare the numbers from your poker tracker with this and then use GTO training tools for the spots where you leak the most:

Reducing Risk By Selling Action

You can easily reduce your risk by selling action to the poker tournaments you play. On some poker sites, you can sell up to 90% of your action and minimize the impact of your results to a bare minimum. Whether using a poker site’s client, using a website like Stake Kings, or simply exchanging cash with other poker players, selling action can help you play more tournaments without gouging your bankroll.

Become Part Of The Poker Community

Share your thought process with other poker players using Discord, Reddit, Twitter, etc. Find the players that beat the game you play and try to provide them value. Find a study group, there are many available amongst the various poker training communities. Make a point to review hands with poker players you value the opinion of. Share the hands you saved and figure out new strategies to crush your opponents.

Understanding What Aspects Of Poker You Can Control

Stay In Control Of Your Focus

When you lose many poker hands, it is easy to fall in a spiral of emotions that ranges from how unlucky you are to how lucky your opponents are. The game of poker can be cruel. As soon as you start to go through various emotions, you need to reassess your focus to what really matters, which is how you are going to beat your opponents here and now. Thinking about how unlucky you are will yield zero value, but if you figure out your opponent overfolds to three-bets or has a range construction problem, you have something to work with.

Controlling Your Environment

Before you start your poker session, make sure you have 2 or 3 healthy meals ready as well as snacks. If you make a deep run, you will be at the poker table for the majority of the day, making refreshments essential. Some foods can greatly benefit your brain function, blueberries have been proven to increase blood flow in key areas of the brain as well as helping with memory improvement.

Always make sure you are very well rested, I personally need 8 to 10 hours of sleep before I play poker. Make sure you are in a stress free environment, get rid of distractions, noises and game sounds. This might sound weird but every 4 to 6 hours of play, you need to brush your teeth. Staying fresh will help you last longer at the poker table.

Challenging Your Mind Outside Of Poker

Nowadays there is a wide variety of podcasts you can listen to for free. Make a point to listen to people that are smarter than you on a regular basis. Make sure you do not hang with negative people. Always lean towards the constructive aspect of things.

Bankroll Graph Of A Successful Tournament Player

Adjusting To The Different Stages Of Poker Tournaments

Throughout the course of a tournament, your play style needs to change depending on the tournament stage as well as your effective stack size. When you get close to the money bubble, the highest ICM point of the tournament, do not defend your big blind using chip EV models. You should lean towards the tighter side, ICM ranges will get rid of two or three pips of most chip EV charts.

Understanding Variance In Poker Tournaments

There is a relationship between the amount of buy-ins you have in your poker bankroll and the average buy-in you should be playing. For online poker tournaments, it is my belief that for a serious recreational that has other sources of income, 200 buy-ins would be a decent bankroll and would not leave you too exposed to running broke. For professionals, 1000 buy-ins should be the bare minimum.

Variance is far from an exact science as some poker players will never experience it. The general idea is that you invest into 100 or 200 different tournaments and if you are good and lucky enough to win one, you get 200 to 500 buy-ins back, making a small profit over a large amount of poker tournaments. You will need to arm yourself with patience be ready to fire a lot of poker tournaments.

Want to learn from Louis in real time? Join him as he hosts Grinders 4 Life,
a PokerCoaching.com Student Study Group, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10 AM (EST).

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