How to Deal With Downswings in Poker to Get Back in the Game? - PokerHigh

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How to Deal With Downswings in Poker to Get Back in the Game?

Downswings are an inevitable part of playing win poker, regardless of your skill level or experience. Even the best players in the world experience long periods of bad luck and losses. However, how you deal with these downswings can have a significant impact on your long-term success and mental health as a player. 

The duration of downswings in poker

The duration of downswings varies depending on various factors in online poker. For losing players, it is inevitable that they will continue to lose money in the long term. On the other hand, if you are a winning player, the severity of downswings is largely determined by your win rate. Win rate, expressed as big blinds won per 100 hands (BB/100), is a metric that measures your advantage in the game. The higher your win rate, the less affected you are by variance.

How to calculate your live win rate?

To determine your live poker win rate, you must calculate the number of hands played and the number of big blinds won. As you may not know the exact number of hands played, you can assume that you have played around 25 hands per hour. For instance, if you have played 1,000 hours of live poker and won 5,000 big blinds, you can multiply 1,000 hours by 25 hands per hour to get 25,000 hands played. Dividing the number of big blinds won (5,000) by the total hands played (25,000) gives a win rate of 0.2 big blinds per hand. Multiply this by 100 to get the win rate in terms of big blinds per 100 hands (20 BB/100).

Knowing your approximate win-rate, you can use a Poker Variance Calculator to estimate the typical variance over a given sample of hands. While it’s generally agreed among poker professionals that at least 100,000 hands are necessary to determine a reliable win-rate, for live players, achieving 50,000 hands is more feasible.

How to put an end to downswings in poker?

Putting an end to a downswing in win poker is not a straightforward task, as you have no control over the cards you receive. However, there are strategies that can help reduce the impact on your bankroll:

  • Ensure you have a healthy number of buy-ins for the regular game you play.
  • Be willing to move down in stakes.
  • Analyze and review your hands.
  • Take a break from playing.

To minimize the effect of downswings, the primary strategy is to maintain a sufficient number of buy-ins for the stakes you play. Upswing recommends 20-40 buy-ins for live players and 100 buy-ins for online players. For non-professional players, it’s possible to be more aggressive with your bankroll if you can replenish it quickly with income from a regular job.

Another way to reduce the impact of a downswing is by moving down in stakes if necessary. Suppose your bankroll, which began with $1,000 to play $0.05/$0.10, experiences a substantial downswing resulting in only $700. In that case, it’s prudent to lower your stakes to regain your confidence and rebuild your bankroll. Remember, poker is a long-term game, and the bigger games will still be available when you’re back on track.

Finally, it’s essential to review your hands with other players in your poker network to identify mistakes and determine whether losses are due to bad luck or errors. Analyzing your own hands can be challenging, so seeking feedback from individuals whose opinions you value can be helpful.

Win Poker – Strategies that can help you cope with downswings in poker 

Take a Break

When you are experiencing a downswing, it is important to take a break from playing win poker. This can help you to clear your mind and come back to the game with a fresh perspective. Taking a break can also help to prevent you from making impulsive decisions and chasing losses, which can lead to even greater losses.

Analyze Your Play

One of the best ways to improve your win poker game is to analyze your play and learn from your mistakes. During a downswing, it is especially important to analyze your play and try to identify any mistakes or leaks in your game. This can help you to identify areas where you need to improve and make adjustments to your strategy.

Practice Bankroll Management

Proper bankroll management is essential for any professional poker player, especially during a downswing. You should always ensure you have enough money in your bankroll to sustain a long period of bad luck. If you are playing at stakes that are too high for your bankroll, you are putting yourself at risk of going broke during a downswing.

Play at Lower Stakes

If you are experiencing a downswing, consider playing at lower stakes. This can reduce your losses and allow you to rebuild your bankroll. Playing at lower stakes can also help you to regain your confidence and improve your overall game.

Focus on Your Mindset

Your mindset can play a crucial role in dealing with downswings in poker. It is important to stay positive and avoid letting your emotions get the best of you. Try to maintain a calm and focused mindset, even when things are not going your way. This can help you to make better decisions and avoid tilting.

Seek Support from Other Players

Poker can be a lonely game, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. Many other players have experienced downswings and can offer support and advice. You may consider joining a win poker forum or community where you can connect with other players and share your experiences.

Try a New Format or Variant

If you are experiencing a long period of bad luck in one format or variant of poker, consider trying a new one. This can reignite your passion for the game and allow you to learn new skills and strategies.

Take Care of Yourself

Taking care of yourself is essential for maintaining your mental and physical health during a downswing. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself can help you to stay focused and motivated, even during a difficult period.


In conclusion, downswings in poker are a natural part of the game, but how you deal with them can significantly impact your long-term success and mental health. By taking a break, analyzing your play, practising proper bankroll management, playing at lower stakes, focusing on your mindset, seeking support from other players, trying a new format or variant, and taking care of yourself, you can cope with downswings and get back in the game. Remember, the key to success in poker is not just about winning but also about learning and growing as a player.