Defeating A Downswing

As Poker players we go through both success and defeat. Sometimes defeat turns into a downswing. When you go through a downswing it seems nothing goes your way from the cards your dealt, players calling your bluff, missing a flush on the river and being beat by a higher ranking card on the river. It is definitely a frustrating time and sometimes it feels like the downswing will never end.

If your going though a downswing remember everything is temporary and you’ll beat your downswing soon. If your going through a downswing you might want to drop down in stakes and play against weaker players. One thing poker players need to be successful at the tables is confidence. Going through downswings will definitely shake your confidence so by dropping down to lower stakes your giving yourself an opportunity to play against weaker players and rebuild your confidence.

Another thing you might want to try is you may want to simplify your game. What I mean by this is you don’t want to over complicate your strategy and go back to the Poker basics for a little while. Instead of trying to win 10,000 chips in one hand try just winning a couple of hundred chips even if they are just raise and take hands. Winning hands will definitely help boost your confidence even if not many chips are involved.

Another thing I recommend all Poker players do from time to time is Replay their hands!!! This is especially helpful when going through a downswing. Evaluate your game and look for the holes and weaknesses in your game. Identifying these holes and weaknesses will help break your downswing and get back to having success at the tables.

Finally if none of these tips have helped you are likely burned out from Poker. As players most of us spend hours at the tables and play almost daily. Fatigue is bound to set in after playing day after day and week after week. Take a break from playing and use the time you spent playing to focus on other hobbies. You will know when your ready to return to the tables and you’ll be well rested so you won’t make the same mental mistakes you’ve possibly been making while you were on your downswing.

I hope these tips have helped and if your going through a downswing remember it’s just temporary you’ll beat the downswing soon. If you have tips for defeating a downswing I’d love to hear them!

-Marc

7 Likes

I stand by my comment here: Downswing philosophy question

And also here: On a slide

2 Likes

Not only in poker but in everything thing I do–at work and at home, hobbies or paid employment–there are downswings. Some is the result of bad luck, but often downswings for me are the result of a lack of focus. I find if I get some rest–step away a while–I come back better (or at least better able to cope with the downswing if it continues).

3 Likes

No, no, no. This discussion doesn’t help. I’ve been in a downturn for at least 3 months, maybe 4 and no matter how I play, I don’t get playable hands. You need to get the cards to win. And when I do, the flop is no help at all. So how do you suggest I deal with this?

2 Likes

That’s highly unusual. Sometimes it helps to “deal with it” by analyzing how often you’re actually getting good cards. How many hands have you seen over that period? What proportion of hands do you consider “playable?” In Texas Hold 'Em, if you’ve played 1000 hands, there’s nearly a 99% chance (technically, 98.9275%) you’ve been dealt AA at least once.

Look back through your last few hundred hands, and keep a tally of how frequently you were dealt what hands. Are you really getting only bad cards, or are you getting good cards infrequently… but at a rate that’s actually aligned with reasonable expectation?

2 Likes

I’ve done all the analysing I can stand. I am not getting the cards, that’s all there is to it. And it’s lasting a long long time. When I do catch a hand, I invariably get beat. No matter what I try I cannot win.

2 Likes

One time I had a downswing last for nearly 6 months with very little success during that time. I ended up taking a week off from playing and watched a lot of poker videos from poker tournaments to hand analysis and was able to develop some new strategies that I haven’t yet tried before.

When I came back to the tables I started having success again and my downswing was over. I think it was a combination of taking time off from the tables and developing new strategies.

It may not seem like it but all downswings are temporary and things will get better.

-Marc

1 Like

Have started playing an S&G. My hands so far, of which I’ve played only 2 and had to fold these are as follows: Q 2 fold, 5 3 fold, A 4 bet then folded a raise of 5 times the pot, 8 4 fold, A 9 hearts, spades and clubs on flop, folded to a big bet. 8 7 folded, 9 7 folded, 6 2 folded, 9 7 folded and on she goes… I’ll stop moaning now.

1 Like

You need a way bigger sample size.

I’m in a 9-max tournament right now, and in the first 15 hands saw only one marginally playable hand (A5o). Those kinds of short streaks happen, and don’t necessarily indicate anything. At some point, luck evens out.

1 Like

I’m just illustrating the kind of hands I’m getting time and time again. Anyway, I’ve had my moan, so I’ll now shut up. There’s nothing I can do. It either improves or doesn’t.

1 Like

Maybe you need to expand your limping range…most of those hands are worth seeing a cheap flop as they are connected. Just my opinion.

3 Likes

Don’t give players bad advice. Limping preflop is an optimal strategy only in very specific situations. Early in a tournament when stack sizes are deep and there are no antes, you should be bumping it up or folding.

2 Likes

Don’t worry I’ve tried that too… not working. But thanks.

1 Like

While you are correct when playing with people who know what they are doing, raise/fold is not always the optimal strategy when playing with the inept masses encountered here. However, tournaments are different and I agree with your assessment there.

In a ring game, if you are priced in with a marginal hand in late position, you should at least see a flop with it. Especially against poor players. A top 50% range vs. any two cards has an advantage and it should be exploited when possible. Obviously, be smart with your selection pre-flop… mid-rank connected offsuits and weak suited aces can yield nutty hands and make bank in a multi-way pot. Also, be smart with your post-flop play; if you can’t make that nutty hand, muck your cards before putting more chips in the pot.

It should be stated again that this kind of thing will not work in the long run against good players who understand ranges. You will find yourself behind more often than not. But if you’re at a limp bingo table with the inept masses, raise your good stuff, limp your marginal and fold your trash to squeeze out every last drop of +EV.

2 Likes

This doesn’t make sense. When a strategy is correct against strong players, it should be even more correct against weaker players. Otherwise, the strong players would adapt appropriately to take advantage.

In order to keep this topic on track, I’ll do two things. First, start another thread in the Poker Strategy section of the forum on why limping is bad. Second, point out that this is actually a really good example of what to do when you’re on a downswing. Discuss your strategy with other poker players. Review your play, understand what mistakes you’re making, why they are mistakes, and how to fix them.

I know it doesn’t, but it has worked for me. A lot of things don’t make sense when down is up and up is down. Anyway, (end derail).

1 Like

I chat a lot - I lose more when I chat, but playing online poker in mute status is so boring. To make losing more fun, I surround myself with good friends on here to laugh with and when I am really serious about playing a good game … I don’t chat and play with better players (99%) on here. Lol…now gl all.

2 Likes

I totally agree : also an old saying : bet only what you are prepared to lose
Regards

CBK10

1 Like

What about bluffing? I would say that 2 out of every three hands I win are position plays and I am bluffing, semibluffing, or do not know whether I am ahead or behind. The great hands, like when I call a raise from the button with J3 and flop a boat, or everyone limps and I am sitting in the BB with AA are just the icing on the cake.

Actually my statistics shows that I win 43% of my won pots without showdown. What is your percentage?

“When a strategy is correct against strong players, it should be even more correct against weaker players”…

I don’t think that statement has much validity in poker. That would seem to suggest that a GTO approach is always best, blind to your opponents frequencies, and that you should never adjust your strategies based on what your opponents are actually doing. You should play differently against maniacs than against passive rocks. A table with minimum pre-flop aggression and a lot of call stations prone to call off their entire stack with a weak top pair with no kicker… that’s a table where some hands will be worth open limping that might not perform well with a raise. Smaller stacks will make this less likely to be effective, and deeper stacks will improve your implied odds to improve the profitability of the play, if the environment is right.

That said, I think open limping is mostly a leak and generally inferior to raising, even with a bunch of the normal mix of weaker players you’ll see at a variety of levels, if only for the simple reason that you want to create larger pots with your better hands (kind of like how you alter bet sizes when counting cards in black jack).

But limping behind is less of a leak than open limping in general (though there are always exceptions), and I think in general there is a wider range of hands and situations where limping behind is +EV, than is true in open limping. But as a beginner, I found a simple strategy of always either raising or folding on all streets surprisingly effective, even if with experience you find that calling has it’s time and place also.

Returning to the main topic: what to do when poker keeps being mean to you, I love the simple ideas already mentioned here. Drop down in stakes and play a safer, simpler version of the game for a while, or just take a bit of a break. I’ve used both strategies after hard stretches that can last thousands and even tens of thousands of hands.

2 Likes