Poker losing streaks and downswings is something every poker player will need to deal with if they expect to be playing poker for a long time. Even winning players will experience periods where it seems like nothing is going right for them.
As a player, you need to realize that the game of poker is influenced by what is known as variance.
The levels of variance are different depending on what games you play. For example, MTT's tend to be higher variance games in comparison to cash games, since there is a lot more luck involved in winning a tournament with a large field.
If you are a good tournament player, you will likely eventually take down a big MTT, but before you win a tournament you may not have made the money in the previous 20 tournaments you played in. The later stage of tournaments rely on winning coin flip situations, which is not as important in cash games, hence why they can be higher variance and the losing streaks more brutal.
Although losing streaks occur in both cash games and tournaments, your goal as an experienced poker player is to accept that variance in whatever games you play is . You cannot view poker as a short term goal.
You have to take the view that you are playing one long session, and that when you add up your wins and your losses, if you have been making the correct decisions on a consistent basis, your profits from playing should be above the dreaded red line. If you can achieve that, you'll be a with a long term future in the game.
Dealing with losing streaks in poker seems like a straightforward process.
Instead of focusing on the outcome of each hand the priority should be on each decision you make. Sounds easy enough doesn't it? Well, it's not nearly as simple in reality. Sometimes you will think you played a hand great, and you very well may have, only to lose a really big pot due to a bad beat on the river, and your emotions at the table will get out of control.
Every poker player has experienced it before, its what is referred to as tilting.
Whenever you feel that you are tilting you should simply quit the poker session. It is pretty much impossible to be playing your A game if you are playing when you are tilted. By playing on tilt, the losing streaks are only going to be extended for a longer period of time, so the sooner you recognize that you are actually tilting the better it will be for your bankroll.
Poker is a hard enough game as it is when variance isn't on your side. You don't need to be spewing off more money because of tilt. If you can prevent yourself from tilting in the first place, you will be one step ahead of the majority of other players.
A good method to avoid tilting in poker is to practice proper bankroll management (BRM). By following good BRM, because you will never be playing with a significant percentage of your poker bankroll at any one time, you'll be able to handle your losses. Even if you happen to lose a big pot due to a bad beat, with smart bankroll management, you become desensitized to the money, so you will be less prone to tilting.
As a general rule of thumb, as long as you think that you are playing well, you shouldn't quit the game, especially if there are fish at the table and you feel that you have an edge over your opponents. Even if its been a losing session for you due to a cold deck, its going to be a profitable situation to keep on playing if you are still playing your A game.
So the key to managing losing streaks in poker is to play when you are in the mood and playing well, not when you are tilting or don't feel like playing. Keep in mind that its much easier losing money when tilted then it is to win money when playing well, so its crucial that you understand your body and how you are playing if you expect to build your bankroll.
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