How To Handle A Downswing


Variance in poker is a factor that can not be ignored. While a miniscule quantity of poker players will never experience it, for the majority of us mortals variance is something that needs to be considered. You should expect to lose most of the poker games you are going to register for. Poker is a perpetual cycle of losses sprinkled with a bit of explosive wins that makes the game unique and special. As a poker player, you always need to remember that ‘winter is coming’ – no one is safe from the impending doom of a long losing streak. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to overcome any downswing at the poker table and hopefully minimize any poker losses.

Bankroll Management

When you face adversity at the poker table for a long period of time, the first thing you should consider doing is lowering your average buy-in. Reducing your table stakes is another great decision to help mitigate any losses. Playing for lower stakes allows you to practice your technical skills, your patience and resilience. The field is softer and, because the buy-in is lower, you are reducing the amount you could lose. A lot of poker players undervalue small stakes poker, but these games can have massive prizes for the price and playing them is a great way to help you return to your fundamentals and end any downswing.

Reduce Play Time and Increase Study Time

Reducing your play time at the poker table in exchange for time, either before or after your session, to study the game of poker and your hands, will add up to some incredible EV in the long run. There are many free resources you can use to improve your strategy like youtube, discord and reddit. Look for general heuristics like “If you play a hand of poker at low SPR (Stack-to-Pot Ratio), you do not get to fold top pair while with a high SPR the value of top pair is significantly decreased.” SPR is a simple division between the smallest stack in the hand and the pot, essentially a valuation of the maximum you would be able to win in a hand.


Reviewing Hands Daily

While you play the wonderful and stimulating game of poker, you will find yourself in situations where the correct or best action is neither clear nor obvious. Make note of these hands. After each session is completed, go back and review two or three of these questionable hands every day. An easy way to mark your hands for review on GGPOKER is to click the hand replayer and download the hand while you play. Figuring out ways to play better within your range will be easier after you finish playing and your mind is free. Making a little bit of progress everyday can go a very very long way.

Get a Tracking Software and Download your Hands from PokerCraft

Getting a poker tracker, like holdem manager 3 or poker tracker 4, will be a great asset in figuring out the leaks in your poker game. Using these tools to review your hands, you can figure out what stack depth and what position gives you trouble at the poker table. You can compare your EV BB/100 (Expected Value in Big Blinds from 100 hands) with players that beat the game. Below is a reference from the masterpiece Modern Poker Theory by Michael Acevedo that I highly recommend. You can compare the numbers from your poker tracker with this and then use GTO (Game Theory Optimal) training tools to strengthen your game where you have the most leaks.