Poker downswings are inescapable if there is anything in the game. If you’ve ever played poker, you’ve probably experienced a downswing at least once, if not more than once. Downswings are undoubtedly among the most difficult aspects of the poker game, and they may be extremely demoralising. Poker downswings that last a longer time can test your mental toughness, but losing your stake in a single game is still something you can handle.
Even the best and most seasoned poker players can experience downswings; they are not just common among novices, beginners, and fish players. However, how a player handles a poker downswing is what sets winners apart from losers. This article provides crucial advice on how to handle downswings in poker like an expert. You must grasp what poker downswings are before looking at the advice. So first let us look at what is poker downswing.
What is a poker downswing and how long can a downswing last?
A poker downswing is a phase or time frame, lasting anywhere from a week to a few months, during which a player experiences sustained losses. Whether you are a novice or an expert poker player, downswings can occur with any player.
While downturns in poker games might last anywhere from a week to a few months, they can stay longer than in online poker tournaments. Tilt in poker is frequently caused by downswings and can have negative effects at the poker table.
Depending on the player, downswings might last a variety of times. A losing player, for example, will always lose money over time, whereas a winning player can estimate the severity of downswings based on win rate. The win rate, which is computed as the number of big blinds won per 100 hands, is used by poker players to gauge their edge. The influence of the variation will decrease as the win rate increases.
Difference between online Poker downswings and live downswings in poker
Downswings might vary across live and online poker games. Because of this, it is simpler to track your victory rate in online games than it is to do so for live games. The following are the variations between the two downswings:
The players in live games might not have much experience. Therefore, your win percentage will be better if you play poker alongside novices and beginners in a live game because the total variance is lower.
You can play a greater number of hands in online poker games, hastening your progression to the long run.
Poker Downswings Happen to Everyone
You may be sure that if you had access to a time machine and could alter just one card in each game, you could alter the result of the entire tournament. That ought to illustrate how much importance is given to cards dropping. It is perfectly possible to play your best poker and still lose for 20,000 hands, 600 tournaments, or even more when the cards aren’t in your favour.
Unfortunately, that’s how the game is. If you’ve ever gone through a protracted swing, you know how it makes you doubt everything you’ve ever done in poker. You start to doubt whether you have ever genuinely won the game. You question whether everyone is getting stronger or if the cards are just stacked against you.
Actually, your chances of being a few strong cards from a heater are almost the same.
Tips for handling poker downswings
Below are some tips for handling poker downswings :
1. Drop Down in Stakes
Dropping your stakes is one of the best strategies to lessen downswings because they can have a significant negative impact on your bankroll. You must play poker at specific limitations dependent on your performance. You need to be aware of your current limitations when going through a downswing. It’s time to start thinking about playing lesser stakes if you’ve been playing big stakes and aren’t having any luck.
Since the competition in low-stake games is generally lighter, you can concentrate better on defeating your opponents when the stress level is reduced. Additionally, a few victories can boost your self-esteem and help you regain your composure when it is low. You can break the downward spiral by lowering your stakes, and when you’re ready, you can return to your normal games.
2. Review Hands
Reviewing hands with other players in the poker network is an essential element that might support you while you’re going through a slump. You might not always interpret your hands correctly. As a result, you might not be certain if the losses are the result of any errors you may be making or just bad luck. It is best to get advice from other poker players in your network in such situations so that you can analyse your hands and determine whether you have been making any mistakes.
3. Evaluate Your Game
In poker, downswings are unavoidable, but if they last a long time, you should assess your strategy. Players can occasionally be more overconfident in their abilities than they should be. However, during a downswing, every player should review their play to see if they are making any errors. Take a step back and analyse your game by looking through your hand history whenever you see you are gradually falling into the downswing trap.
4. Maintain Your Focus
Keeping your focus throughout the game is crucial for winning poker games. It will be simpler to decide if your current position in the game is just volatility or if it is pointing toward a downswing if you are focused. Based on your evaluation and analysis, you will be able to make the necessary corrections before the effects become more severe.
5. Increase Your Study Time
When the market is down, your “poker brain” begins to deteriorate (and for some players, at an alarmingly-quick rate). The most important thing is to avoid tilting because it will ruin your money. And one of the finest methods to turn off your emotional brain and activate your logical regions is to study.
By learning, you are plugging any holes in your approach that might be causing your downswing at poker. Your confidence will increase as a result, which will enhance your mental toughness. When things aren’t going well, studying is tremendously helpful. I know that most players would prefer hit the tables and try to recover faster than spend more time in the classroom.
6. Seek out a Coach
The most played card game is probably poker, and formal poker instruction is becoming more and more popular. On the internet, by listening to poker professionals, at a live table, and other places, players can pick up methods, tips, tricks, and important lessons. You can find a coach who may be a friend with poker knowledge or even someone online if you need help with your poker downswings. Engage in discussions about poker hands and strategy with other players to gain insight into the game from many angles.
7. Take Some Time off the Game
The final and most crucial piece of advice is to take a break from the game to deal with negative emotions and downswings. Downturns are detrimental to your finances as well as your mental health. When you are in the middle of a downswing period, frustration takes control of you and your game. It makes sense to go away from the game at this point. Even while you can still learn more about poker, it’s best to take a vacation from playing to prevent tilting. Before you resume playing poker, taking a break will help you clear your thinking and get back into a winning frame of mind.
8. Avoid Getting Nitty
Avoid letting fear turn your plan into a nimble play. There are generally one of three ways that people react to misfortune in their lives:
- Fight (in poker that would look like overly-aggressive play).
- Flight (in poker that would look like leaving the game or possibly quitting altogether)
- Freeze (in poker this looks like nitty play that freezes up and fears putting in money without the nuts)
Players frequently get upset and begin to take less chances in an effort to reduce their losses. Overt tilting is a type of nitting up, which appears to be safer because it involves taking less risks and so a lower likelihood of losing again. It serves as a means of emotional defence.
However, because they are so intent on maintaining their composure, online poker players frequently wind up being overly rigid and missing out on numerous lucrative real money opportunities. To “chase down the draws and guarantee they don’t lose yet another pot,” they may also begin making outrageously big bets and raises with powerful poker hands. Observe how these comments and viewpoints offer sensible guidance on where and how to play to increase the expected value (EV) of their hand.
Avoid changing your playstyle excessively. Everything will work out in the end if you make strategic judgments that are based on logic, not emotion.
9. Every Session Is A Blank Slate
Do not expect your current session to be like the last one when you enter it. Restart each time from scratch.
Don’t even bother playing if you enter your current session with the attitude that “my last five sessions went poorly, and this one will too.” It will be difficult, and your mental attitude will work against you.
Instead, each time you play, bring a different and new approach. Leave the worry and anxiety at home and be confident in your strategy, which you have been researching and refining in between sessions. Your sessions have no memory of the previous ones, and only if you let them, past sessions can affect your current session.
How to Handle a Downswing in a Poker Tournament?
Poker tournament downswings can differ from those in live or online poker games. Even the most seasoned and accomplished poker players can have extended slumps. These downturns may significantly affect a player’s mental strategy and financial situation.
Here are some things to think about to overcome downswings in poker tournaments if you are deeply invested in playing poker tournaments rather than online poker games.
To prevent taking a lot of hits, always keep a solid bankroll.
When required, you should think about lowering the stakes.
Playing when tilted should be avoided at all costs because it can be detrimental over time.
When your game requires it, sell action.
Keep an eye on your goals in light of the game.
How Do You End a Downswing?
How to end a downswing has no one-size-fits-all solution. The cards that are dealt to you are sadly beyond your control. There are still measures to limit the negative effects that they could have on your finances, though:
Keep your regular game’s buy-ins at a healthy level.
Be prepared to lower the stakes.
Check your hands.
Don’t play for too long.
Maintaining sufficient buy-ins for the stakes you are playing is the first and most crucial step in ensuring that you reduce the impact of downswings. Generally speaking, Upswing advises keeping 20–40 buy-ins for live poker players or 100 buy-ins for online poker players.
How to get out of a big downswing.
The best advice anyone can provide to someone who is going through repeated losing streaks is to recall that there is hope on the horizon of the tunnel, no matter how far away it may sometimes appear to be. The cards will eventually turn in your favour, you’ll start to win more coin tosses, and your bankroll will start to increase.
Play the game you know best and try to keep a pleasant attitude at all times. Just because you haven’t had any wins in a few weeks doesn’t mean that your playing strategy is losing if it has allowed you to consistently win money for months on end. The best advise is to take a vacation from the game and put poker on hold for a bit if the significant blow to your wallet is affecting your ability to play.
Give it some time before you start playing again so that when you return, you can start again and the horrible losing streak you had won’t be an issue. This will allow you to continue playing the way you know how.
Poker downswings evaluation.
There are ups and downs in the game of poker, but sadly, the downs always feel far worse than the ups. There is nothing you can do to stop the protracted losing streaks; you must simply wait for the downturn to pass and try to weather it as best you can.
Even when you are at your weakest, try to stay focused since by playing your best game, you will be limiting any potential losses. Just do your best to keep playing through it until you are back on the rise; every poker player goes through extremely awful runs and bad beats. You never know when your life will experience its largest upswing.