How to deal with a downstreak
Get ready to the Dark Times
Markus Moergis, our MTT Coach, has prepared an article about four essential rules that allow you to prepare for the downswing and to get out of it with minimal losses to your roll and mental health. Enjoy!
Let me start the article with a spoiler. Downstreak is coming. And it may be long. But, don’t worry, I know how to deal with it and gonna tell about it in a minute. In this article, I will explain how to prepare for the downstreak and to get out of it with minimal damage to your roll and mental health.
Prepare a safety bag
First things first, playing out of roll is still one of the most expensive mistakes players make. It concerns not only beginners but also ultimate grinders with zillions of hands under their belts. I must confess, I used to make this mistake too.
If you are playing MTT, be ready for the long winters. Even the most liberal bankroll management rules suggest using the rule of 100 buy-ins. But if you are playing big Sunday tournaments with thousands of entries, jump often into a late registration or prefer turbo and hyper-turbo structures, your roll should be even bigger. My recommendation for this type of tournaments is 350 – 500 of buy-ins.
Short-term results are out of your control. You can play perfectly, but still losing. It is a variance, baby. So, don’t be careless, fix the roof before the rain. It will allow you to save high spirits and strong mind even if the graph looks like a complete disaster.
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Another big problem of hundreds of players is an enormous ego. Even the top winners suffer from it. In the period of downstreak it becomes a big issue.
There is nothing wrong in moving a limit lower. Consider it as a strategic retreat that you make to gather breath, lick the wounds, and then strike back. Don’t bother what other players say.
Distress and money pressure will not help your game. Exceptions happen. I know the guys, who start playing much better when the danger of bankruptcy becomes a real deal, but most of the times it works otherwise.
Too many players lost everything because of stubbornness. Don’t fall into the same trap. Be wiser.
Don’t play in a tilt
When you are in a downstreak, it may feel it doesn’t matter how good you play, because another bad beat is just somewhere round the corner.
You play carefully with a short stack. Get a pair of kings. Here is your chance to double. You shove, but a lucky fish or not necessarily fish, re-shoves you with A3o and caught his freaking straight. True story.
Things do happen. Under the ordinary conditions, you would have called it a dynamic cooler, but when you are in a downstreak, it may crush your soul completely. You switch to tilt mode in a second and start shoving with air like a crazy monkey all night long. Do you really think such a game may take you out of downswing?
My recommendation is simple, if your head of steam goes down and things get out of control, stop registering new tournaments. Leave a table for a minute or two. A pair of missed won’t make big difference. Playing in a tilt may cost you much more.
You can even make a longer pause. Skip a day or two. Meet the family, call non-poker friends, or just get out of town. There is no reason to bother. Poker will never vanish. The same can’t be said for the roll of tilting player.
Study, then study and study again
In a downstreak players are losing not only money but also self-belief. The best way to rebuild it is to work on your game.
It could be that your game needs a detached view. Talk to a friend, post the hand on the forum, or hire the coach. Here you can a complete guide on how to do it.
Maybe, a variance is the only reason for your losses, but one more hour spend on hand analysis is never a mistake.
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P.S. Downstreaks and poker go hand in hand. Ask any player (outside Fedor Holz) and he will tell you a heartbreaking story about the period when one bad streak went after another. But don’t be afraid. Downstreaks do happen. Yeah, they can be brutal. But all things must pass.