Poker Downswing. Dealing with a Downswing in Real Money Poker

Downswings are an inevitable part of poker for all players; however understanding and dealing with them can be make or break when it comes to becoming a profitable player. Throughout this article we will be looking at; what is a downswing, why do they happen, how to deal with them, how to get out of them, before looking at some key points.

What is a poker downswing?

As mentioned, a downswing is something that happens to all players but is part and parcel of the game. It’s basically a time where you are losing money for whatever reason giving you a negative win rate.

They can last for an invariable amount of time, but it’s often considered that a true downswing is over a prolonged period of time whether that is several thousands of hands or a series of weeks or months.

Poker downswings, why do they happen?

One of the main reasons a downswing can happen is due to the variance in the game. Variance can occur in both upswings and downswings, however during a downswing it’s more likely that variance will be having a negative effect on your results.

Variance is something that we simply cannot control and happens to every player at some point in time. No matter how well or how badly you are playing, variance will have an effect.

A downswing can also be affected by how well you’re actually playing. Making poor decisions in hands and generally making poker mistakes can be another main cause for you essentially losing money at the tables.

How to deal with a poker downswing

The most important point during a poker downswing is that eventually it will turn around and you will start getting the run of the cards. Sometimes they may seem never ending but you just have to trust your game and grind through the bad times before you can move on and start winning money again.

You need to make sure you don’t do anything drastic whilst in a downswing. There’s no need to think that just because you are losing money that you can no longer beat the levels that you previously were crushing. Have faith in your ability and have faith that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Taking time away from the game can be as good as anything whilst in the midst of a downswing, if only for a few days. This will give you time to re-group and gain some perspective as to why these things happen.

If results are bad over a really large sample then it may be time to look at your game on the whole. Go through some hand histories in pots that you have lost and see if you are making mistakes. This can be good for two reasons; one, it will allow you to see if you are making mistakes at the table and two, it can give you reassurance that your plays are fine and it’s simply to do with being on the wrong side of variance.

How to get out of a poker downswing

There’s no set cure or strategy to get out of a downswing, it’s simply to do with playing through your bad run of cards. Over time the cards will turn but until that point, it’s important just to grind through the hard times in the knowledge that you are doing everything in your power (i.e. making few mistakes) to get out of this rut.

There’s no set time frame in which you will be in a downswing, unfortunately that’s up to the poker gods, but I can guarantee once you come through, you will be a better a player as a result and respect the game for what it is.

Key Points

• Downswings are part and parcel of poker

• Don’t change too much at first in your game

• Trust your playing style and trust that eventually the cards will turn

• Maintain your focus during a downswing and no matter how bad always play to the best of your ability

• Enter each session with an open mind. You never know, it could be today that your downswing finally breaks

• You WILL come through it a better, stronger player

Great poker rooms to practice your poker strategies: Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars.

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