Number of cashes
Just like everyone who plays poker, I had to deal with a lot of long downswings. I don't really think you can avoid bad runs, but I think you can act quickly and prevent a lot of damage to your bankroll. I want to discuss what I think helps get rid of a downswing. -- InterPokerhas been securely dealing cards since 2002. The recently re-launched site offers a wide array of promotionslike $10 cash free for new players as well as a 25K race for SnG players. WSOP qualifiers are also running now. Check out the new and improved InterPoker. -- REVIEW First of all, no matter what your skill level is or what you think you know about poker, one of the worst mistakes is to think you play perfectly, because you don't! You make mistakes when you win big hands, just like you make big mistakes when you lose them. You have to review your sessions regularly and find leaks. If you don't mark tough spots or close decisions during play, it's time to start doing it. I think having a heads-up display is a must. I don't think using it on the tables and relying on the numbers you're shown in tournaments is a must, but saving your hand histories and tournament results to your hard drive, marking tough spots during play, and reviewing hands are all musts. What helps a lot is hearing other people's opinions about certain hands. If you're lucky enough to have friends who are making more money at your stakes than you are, you should talk to them and get new ideas. Sometimes our brain needs new ideas. When I was in school, I couldn't solve some mathematical problems until I experienced them. After I solved the problem one time, it was in my head. Every time I ran into a problem, I checked the list of previous problems in my head and often found the solution. Poker is no different! If you don't know what to do, you have to solve the problem or it will cost you. Sometimes, the brain just forgets what's actually working in the long-run and tries out stupid things to win the lost money back. LEARN One thing that helps me the most during a downswing is watching training videos. There's always something new to be learned and the mind has to be refreshed. It's a bit of an alternative to talking to successful friends about poker. It is also what helped me the most to find my own style of play when I didn't have any results. Hearing a successful player explain their thought process is very valuable information. It will turn a button-clicker into a thinking player, and maybe one day you will be a better thinker than the guy who taught you. SLOW DOWN I read a lot about taking a break from poker during a downswing. On my recent downswing, I took a break for a few weeks. I thought I would come back and just start winning again, but that wasn't the case. I wasn't really sick of poker, I just tried to avoid everything that was related to poker during that break for no real reason and when I came back, nothing changed at all. If you're really sick of it, you should take a break, but if not, you have to take care of the theoretical stuff while taking a break. There's nothing better than starting a session and feeling 100% confident about your game. You are just waiting for the tough spots you had your problems with after studying the game outside of the tables. At some point, you may be happy to get into a tough spot because you have an answer for all of the previous spots. SELECT Avoid high-variance games unless your bankroll can take some damage. If you feel like you go deep often in a certain tournament but end up busting with the best hand all the time, it doesn't mean anything is rigged or you get punished by some random number generator. It just means you're playing the wrong game. As a poker player, you want to use your skill. Where's the skill in some turbo tournament? Everyone can open his chart and play an almost perfect push-fold game. Sure, if you're a good player, you will make money in them by auto-piloting, but you shouldn't blame a downswing for running badly in turbo tournaments. It's much more gambling than a tournament with a good structure. The fast structure doesn't leave much room for bad players to make really big mistakes. If you're on a long downswing playing non-turbo tournaments exclusively, then in my opinion, you should work on your game or move down in stakes. You could also just try out different sites since some smaller rooms have even better tournament structures than the big sites. You could replace all of the turbo tournaments on your schedule with non-turbo tournaments on other sites. REDUCE Instead of replacing turbo tournaments, you could also just skip them without replacing them. Personally, I'm not sure what the biggest reason for my bad run was: too many turbo tournaments in my schedule or too many tables in general? I believe that if you're an experienced player and can auto-pilot a lot of low-stakes tournaments, it can't be a big mistake to just play as many low-stakes tournaments per day as you can in order to increase your bankroll. However, if you want to improve as a player and play poker instead of auto-piloting every day, you should pick a few tournaments and focus on them. You can't really exploit many weaknesses if you're playing too many tables, which makes it negative EV to play certain high-stakes or even mid-stakes tournaments. I experienced days on which I final tabled or won several tournaments and still was down for the day. It's not a disaster if that happens, but in the long-run it is what it is; you can win against very weak competition by playing your cards for the most part, but you can't do this against strong competition. This is actually what ended my bad run: I reduced the number of tournaments, skipped a few higher-stakes tournaments, and went down in stakes. My daily buy-ins are 30% to 50% of the previous amount. If I don't cash in a single tournament in a day, I hardly see the difference in my bankroll, which is very important in order to play your A-game. I seem to make a lot more deep runs with my current setup, so while taking it slowly after the downswing, I like to play a low-ish volume. BACK TO NORMAL? If you feel like everything is working and you don't get punished by the random number generator anymore, just don't make the same mistakes as before. If you were losing over a long period, it means you probably made mistakes like: 1. You played too many games 2. You played too high 3. You played too tight/loose 4. You played too tired, badly, etc. I'm sure I missed a lot of points too. It doesn't mean you have to keep doing what works without trying out something new that might work better. Just have patience and discipline. If you want to play higher, then move up very slowly, only if you have no problem with moving down again. You want to add more tables? Add one table, play for a while, and then add more the same way until it gets slightly too much. Then, do the same things backwards: remove tables until you feel like it is optimal. Let's discuss this topic in the comments section! It is a very important but complicated topic that is hard to generalize. Please add more important points or just share your experiences. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.