Bad Beats, Coolers, Downswing, Variance, Tilt...How do you deal with it?

Joshua KJoshua K Red Chipper Posts: 82 ✭✭
Hello Red Chippers:

So, I am in a place where most of you have probably been. I am just wondering how to deal with it and how do you approach the game?

I have been running into insane coolers and bad beats where 6 outs or less hit the player. It has changed the way I play causing me to have become too passive in one session where I lost (I am starting to see the monsters in the closet at every turn). I took a few days off to review my play and hands. After recognizing the mistakes I made, I went back only to run into a day of hands not holding up and bad beats to end my night.

In all honesty, I feel a bit dejected and it has made a little discouraged to play because I am on a huge downswing, bigger than ever. I feel a little out of it and I don't know how to approach it.

What did you do in these situations and how did you get out of this "batter's slump"? (Sorry, using baseball analogy becuase I love the sport.)


  • tripletiretripletire Red Chipper Posts: 323 ✭✭✭
    I recommend you put in some research on the whole concept of attachment. You're probably more emotionally invested in results than you could be otherwise, removing attachment is what has helped me not be upset when I hit bad beats or remain in downswings. It's the same thing when the amateur open AA for 2-3x his normal raise size because he really doesn't want to see his hand lose, he believes so deeply that the hand should always win he's not willing to risk anything, his attachment to current/past hand values is suffocating his play.
  • DeezNutsDeezNuts Red Chipper Posts: 122 ✭✭
    this is kind of a cliche thing i guess in poker but for me i have to tell my self "its poker"
    . just like the "batters slump" it happens, even to the best players. there is no way around it but experience helps to deal with these situations.
  • Chris FChris F Red Chipper Posts: 155 ✭✭
    Look into Stoicism. A good book that gives a modern and practical outlook is "The obstacle is the way."

    That and I study poker harder.
  • ZazouZazou Red Chipper Posts: 93 ✭✭
    Read Tommy Angelo :)
  • AustinAustin Red Chipper Posts: 5,483 ✭✭✭✭✭
    During your time off from poker I would not study. Do anything but poker just to clear your mind completely. Then after a few days come back and review some hands both good and bad.
  • NYCRyNYCRy Red Chipper Posts: 336 ✭✭✭
    edited July 2017
    It also helps to quantify your downswing. How much money lost over how many hours? How many actual buy ins are you down? You may gain the perspective that your downswing is not abnormal at all, maybe even far less than a solid player would consider a downswing.

    I'm HOPING I'm out of my downswing. About -$3k over 6 weeks, probably 150 hours. 10-ish buy ins. It felt awful when I was in it, like it was never going to end. From what I can tell that's actually pretty significant for a downswing for a live 1/2, 1/3, sometimes 2/5 player. But I also heard that solid players can go through break even YEARS. It just happens. Take a break if you have to, but just keep playing your A/B game. Its all you can do
  • Jónas SJónas S Red Chipper Posts: 202 ✭✭✭
    The first thing you need to do is embrace the fact that you have this feeling. Then ask yourself, why do you have this feeling?

    You need to ask yourself why it bothers you to get sucked out on. Can't you afford to be sucked out on? Then you shouldn't be playing in the first place. Do you have the feeling that you're entitled to win when you're ahead? Don't, you're playing a game of odds and sometimes the odds will run out not in your favor. If you can't accept it on beforehand, Poker is not a game for you. That doesn't mean you can't learn to embrace it. Besides, you're going to get it in bad a lot of times and suck out on other people in return.

    You need to say to yourself: "I am thrilled to get into situations where I'm such a huge favorite" and try to get into those spots again and again, with as much money as possible each time, because heck, you truly don't want to be all in as a 92% favorite because you lost to the 8% sometime ago? You need to tablespoon yourself the hard on facts that this thinking is very disruptive. Make yourself understand that thinking this way is wrong.

    Sometimes taking a break is important. If you feel tilt while playing, stop playing. Nothing good happens after getting tilted. Also, consider buying in for the minimum when you're having emotions running around in your head (although one should not be playing under those circumstances), if you're going to be playing in the first place. It's a lot more easier to play with "other" people's monies that you've gathered to reduce the pressure you might feel from playing with a bigger stack direct from your own wallet.

    I really have to recommend the Mindset Advantage Podcast as a relevant source of information which I've found helpful.
  • SullySully Red Chipper Posts: 773 ✭✭✭
    Well, you've lost IT
    Your confidence

    Books on stoicism, mindset podcasts etc are all well and good but they are more measures to help you maintain IT

    Too late, IT's gone

    Been there, hated it (might still be in it)

    My two cents are similar to others;

    1. Remind yourself how good you are. Look at a graph of cumulative winnings from the past 18 months prior to downswing. Plot every 4 weeks starting with 0 and add or subtract the next months total. 18 data points, nice upward graph.
    Ok, you didn't just lose your entire ability to play poker in 4,6,8 weeks

    2. Run Bad, Play bad. You are contributing to the losses. Obsess over hands where you made a mistake (not the coolers). Figure out your $10,$20, $30 mistakes and continue to patch them. Look at your bluff lines. Bluffing and controlling small mistakes are what give a floor to our losses and remove the ceiling on our winnings.

    Whatever works for you, you gotta get IT back.

    You'll make it through
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 4,745 ✭✭✭✭✭
    sullyooo wrote: »
    Well, you've lost IT


    Watch a couple Austin Powers movies maybe?

  • EazzyEazzy Red Chipper Posts: 969 ✭✭✭✭
    Jared Tendle a sports coach who moved into working with the Mental game of poker...talks about one factor of tilt as being like a glass of water.

    the idea is thats as things happen are glass begins to fill. when we take time off, it slowly empties...thus a 1/2 hour walk might lower it a bit...quit for the day lowers more.......

    The point being that it will build up...have a bunch of bad beats it fills up a lot....then next session just one or two minor bad beats, can get it too overflow (you tilt). That's why players will tilt over and over session after session for a while, they have not let their glass empty...

    If you can't stop tilting or find yourself tilting a lot then taking time off is critical. even before you get to this point....taking a walk after a bad beat, or going early to dinner after a bit of a bad run can help you avoid the "glass overflowing"...
  • SullySully Red Chipper Posts: 773 ✭✭✭
    edited August 2017
    jeffnc wrote: »
    sullyooo wrote: »
    Well, you've lost IT


    Watch a couple Austin Powers movies maybe?

    Or just get it back from Dr. Evil:

  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 4,745 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Josh, a one meeeel-yun dollar downswing isn't as bad as it was back in the 60s.
  • John KJohn K Red Chipper Posts: 65 ✭✭
    Hey Everyone
    This has been great advise. I am a complete newbie too. Really struggling with not chasing losses by moving to different games. I even played heads up for all my remaining bankroll just to try and recoup. I lost of course.
    At the moment I just put small amounts into my poker site because I can't trust myself to not blow it all away. I don't really play for the money but obviously don't want to keep losing. Anyway this thread really helps thanks
  • Albert AAlbert A Red Chipper Posts: 96 ✭✭
    Revert to a somewhat tight, aggressive, positional game. DON'T get passive. Continue to raise with the hands you know you should raise with. Raising thins the field which (I feel but I could be wrong) lowers the chance of a suckout.
    Forget the coolers, those hands kind of play themselves.
    Rationalize the suckouts. The only way to get sucked out on is to be ahead in the hand. So convince yourself that you played good poker, out played the villain, but got unlucky. Then let it go.
    It's a poop sandwich I know but DO NOT give up, DO NOT play foolishly/tilty, and DO NOT start feeling sorry for yourself. Set your jaw and let this swing steel your resolve and make you tougher. You are earning your poker chops.
  • TennesseeTravisTennesseeTravis Red Chipper Posts: 6 ✭✭
    I think Sully nailed it: run bad, play bad.

    You have to know why you are losing. Yes, a couple of suckouts can give you a losing session or even a few losing sessions. However, is that really what is happening here? Is the result of that hand carrying into your next hands? Does it change what you play and how you play it?

    Make the best decision you can with the information you have. If your money goes into the pot with the best hand and they don't have the equity to justify their action then you have done all you can do. The rest is up to the cards with a sample size of one.
  • Dean MDean M Red Chipper Posts: 183 ✭✭✭
    Sully wrote: »
    Well, you've lost IT
    Your confidence

    ----much cut

    You'll make it through

    Or maybe not... poker players have quit after times such as these.

    Maybe you're a good player, maybe not. Maybe you need a coach to tear your game apart and rebuild it the right way. I know a guy who played as a PT 'pro' the last few years making a good side income of $25k or so from poker. Then the game changed at his home casino and he suddenly dropped to break even / small profit each month - less than McD wages.

    It took someone challenging him and his game to realize he didn't really have a cohesive strategy - just some techniques that could beat a particular group of players. Once that game changed, he was lost.

    Good luck
  • ChipFluxChipFlux Red Chipper Posts: 89 ✭✭

    Its about getting hammered, but pretend that's not really what its about and just focus on the hook. Keep grinding.

    Good Luck
  • jfarrow13jfarrow13 Red Chipper Posts: 1,254 ✭✭✭✭
    Going through a downswing now 3 session - 8 buy-in. Definately some coolers, but I last session, I noticed I'm playing really passively. There were 2 spots that I could have barreled and won, but I didn't. And other times where I just went way too ham, 4-bet shoving AK after a min 3-bet into my UTG open....derp AA. That isn't necessarily running bad as much as playing bad. Gotta re-tool. Take a week break. Maybe just bring 1 buy-in when I go back and play it. Or start playing a really strong pre-flop range and just playing hard and fast. I was looking at my is literally like a wild roller coaster, not very smooth upward trend. I'm not sure if it's cause I play a wide range pre and am so bluffing that it's just the natural life of a LAG, so maybe I should just accept that when you bluff a get stacked a lot. Out of 22 session this year, I have 5 300BB+ cashes. So 1/4th the time I'm crushing the game, and the other times I'm just losing, or losing quickly. I think I'll just take a break for a while.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 2,388 -
    I have the same problem during downswings of losing my aggression, and talking to others this seems quite common.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 4,745 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Oh, poker is bigger
    It's bigger than you
    And you are not me
    The lengths that I will go to
    The distance in your eyes
    Oh no, I've checked too much
    I set it up

    That's me in the corner
    That's me in the downswing
    Losing my aggression
    Trying to keep up with you
    And I don't know if I can do it
    Oh no, I've checked too much
    I haven't bet enough
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 2,388 -
    Bravo, Jeff. You should send that to Stipe.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • WickedWicked Red Chipper Posts: 61 ✭✭
    LOL jeffnc..... that was beautiful!

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file