Bad Spell

I have heard if you are going through a rough time like w-w-e-e-e-k-k-s-s of bad cards, no play, that you should take a break.I keep going in to get my chips and then…one thing leads to another and they need someone to fill a seat for a tournament and the next thing you know I’m in …sitting and folding mostly. So I’m going through a “bad spell” and I have heard that people take breaks but how long?

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I don’t take breaks when in a dry spell, I grind through it. I will move down in buyins and just keep grinding it out.


You should be able to win with any cards, though sometimes it seems better than other times and it is nice when you get a lucky break just when you need it the most. Just concentrate on focusing on your play.

Are people losing interest in poker? Today I was knocked out early in the 6:30 pm tournament, but as a backup I sometimes go to the 7 pm tournament (Ruthies Roundup), but I found that tournament was cancelled today because of lack of entrants. At 7:00 pm only one player had signed up, and that at peak playing time.

So there I am ready to play, with no particular place to go–at least not as far as multitable tournaments go. Maybe the real action is elsewhere.

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I’ve actually sat out about 10 days, but it’s more about feeling frustrated and bored with the lack of winning than about thinking the bad spell will end. My tolerance for bad cards increases after I’ve taken a break. It works, but it’s not magic!

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In other words try to curb my tournment spending :wink: put myself on a budget until the tide turns


Right, and here’s why I do it that way…

If you flip a coin a million times, there will be times it comes up heads a bunch of times in a row. It shouldn’t matter that you take a week off in the middle of one of these clusters of heads results.

The main problem with this approach is that you can never know when a bad streak will start or end, so it’s really more superstition than science. Still, the idea is to lose as little as possible when the cards run against you.

On the other hand, if you are losing because you aren’t playing well because of burnout, apathy, distraction, or whatever, then take some time off and regroup.


Exactly :+1:t2:

OK, so here’s my problem. For 5 months, yes 5 months, I’ve been in a dreadful slump. And I’m a tight player. Gone from 8 million to 2 and it’s still continuing. I’ve kept on playing and fold at least 90% of my starting hands (cause they’re CRAP). If I do open with a bet, almost 100% of the time I don’t catch anything on the flop. And then if I do have a really good opening hand, and push the betting, I invariably get beat. Some bad beats too. Advice ?

Hard to say without knowing a lot more about how and what you are playing. Ring games, Sngs, MTTs? What stakes or buyins, how many seats?

From what you said though, I suspect you are playing pretty face up. If you are folding 90%, you probably aren’t playing wide enough, which makes you easy to read.

You should expect to miss the flop most of the time, but your opponents will miss it most of the time too. Take a look at your C-bet frequencies and sizings.

In fact, take a look at your sizings in general. If you bet enough to make chasing those bad beat draws incorrect, you will profit in the long run.

You might also look at how often you are defending your blinds. If I saw someone folding their blinds 90% of the time, I would test them every time I had them isolated, with any two cards.

A 5 month run of bad cards is possible, but fairly unlikely. Maybe it’s time to take a very close look at your game.

Good luck!

Thanks so much for your response. I play mostly 100,000 and 50,000 SNGs (9 seats). I hardly ever fold my small or BBs unless someone has gone big and I have a weak hand. I don’t bet a lot of hands cause I’m getting 6 2, 4 3, 10 3, 7 2, 3 2, time after time after time. I don’t open (unless in the small or big blind) with hands like J 5, A 2, A 5, Q 2, and so on. If I do, nothing connects and I have to fold or I get beat. As I say, this has been going on for at least 5 months. Occasionally, I do make the top 3, even 2, but that’s rare and only cause other players play too loose. It’s hard not to lose my confidence and I’ve been thinking of moving somewhere else to play. It’s seems so unfair that I cannot regularly get hands I can play out with… But if what you’re suggesting is I should play riskier poker, that’s something I haven’t tried (cause I keep getting beat!).

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Take a few weeks and play low stakes, figure out what’s wrong, regroup and get back on that horse cowboy.


What I’m suggesting is not riskier, it’s less risky.

What does “5 months” mean? Do you play 2 or 3 SnGs a week, or 10 a day? We should look ay volume, not just time.

There are so many moving parts to your question that it’s hard to answer, but I will say that if you accumulated 8 million chips, what you were doing seemed to be working. If you then moved up in stakes and it’s not working, you didn’t make the right adjustments or you have some basic problems you need to find and correct.

You will see a lot of the same people over and over in the 100k SnGs, and many of them will be paying close attention to your game. Waiting for and playing a top 10% hand just won’t cut it in these games.

A 5 month bad streak can happen, and the lower your hand volume, the more likely it is. Maybe it is a bad stretch of cards, I don’t know. But maybe it’s something you are doing. Maybe it’s a combination of things.

I do know that, if you are only playing a static range something like 77+, ATo+, A9s+ and most broadway cards, it’s going to be hard to win consistently in the games you mentioned.

Mixing in some other holdings like suited connectors and smaller pairs, especially when in position, is more balanced and will make you harder to read. Playing “fit or fold” on the flop is easy to exploit, you need to defend and bluff at the right frequencies.

Take a look at the SNG leaderboards for those buyins and note which players are in the top 10 regularly. When you encounter these players, and you will, pay very close attention to what they are doing. Ask yourself why they do what they do, and why it works. Once you understand the whys, incorporate some of these things into your own game.

If it’s just a bad run, OK, nothing to be done about it. But never assume that’s the case. Your first reaction should always be to look at your own game first. Fix the parts that you control and the rest will work itself out in the long run.


That’s a great answer SPG. I think I’m playing “fit or fold” whilst moving up into bigger games and it’s not working. So, thanks for that. Not to mention, some frequent bad beats.

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What you say makes a lot of sense. Thanks. I’ll see what I can do to alter the way I play. Good to have advice like this.

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Yes, playing lower stake games for a while could be the answer. Thanks.

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Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting you randomly add a bunch of holdings to your static range. The hands you play should be influenced by quite a few different factors. These include your position, the action before you, the number of players yet to act, who is in or left to act, stack depths, and so on.

Here’s a good video that breaks it down in greater detail. The specific ranges mentioned were designed for live ring games and should be modified for your specific game, but will give you a better understanding of how to approach your preflop ranges…

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Thank you for the guidance; I will watch the video. I just last night raved on my bio cause I needed to get it out…the more I typed the madder I got but in the end felt better about some of the things I have been running into at the tables, however this is a different subject than what I was raving about but none the less a kindred spirit offering advice. Truly thanks. ; ).


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erasing the madwoman bio now…lol

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I could have written this post, but would have to change the numbers to: 36M to now less than 1M. Playing Emerald/Diamond/Opal, and then some 1M mtts. I know I’m playing my cards the same, but something is up and it is not my good luck. I went from winning enough to get bonus Leader board chips every other week to…nothin. Gradual buildup to the 36 over year, then plunge over three month period. When did the VIP program start?? I’m not one.