Coming Back From a Downswing
Grinderschool Free Poker Strategy Articles
Author: Jeff Lipsey
Pulling out of a downswing can be one of the toughest mental aspects of playing poker, especially for professional poker players. Everyone remembers their worst downswing, how much they lost and how long it took for them to come back. Too many players incorrectly assume that it was just bad luck that accounted for the entire downswing and wait too long before making any adjustments.
When you play poker for thousands of hands every day, sometimes its hard to look outside of your game to realize where your leaks are. In fact, the most difficult part of coming out of a downswing is figuring out where your leaks are. If you don't know where your leaks are then you certainly can't work on fixing them.
The quickest way to spot your leaks is to pay for someone else to find them; you should hire a coach. If you're an experienced player, you won't need more than 1 or 2 sessions for your coach to spot your leaks and, after he's shown them to you, you can get to work on fixing them.
An alternative solution is to get to work pouring through your last few thousand hands and post the hands on a forum for critique. This will help you, but not as quickly or efficiently as a coach would. Also, getting ghosted by a friend who you respect as a player will provide much needed feedback to a struggling player.
One thing you shouldn't do if you are in a downswing is to put your head in the sand and attempt to grind a ton of hands to get yourself out of it. This strategy only works when your downswing is only caused by a case of bad luck at the poker table and not when you're the reason why you're losing. Most of the time, putting in significant volume while in a major downswing will do more damage than good, as you begin to cement your leaks and start to tilt from frustration. If you must stay in the action, get yourself some Instant Sports Money and sweat a game or two while you study hands properly.
How much of a downswing is too large to continue? It will depend on your bankroll and your volume, but for the most part I'm talking about downswings of 10 buy-ins or more spread out between 3 losing days. All players will have 1 losing day from time to time and many will have 2 consecutive losing days. But when the 3rd consecutive losing day hits and you're starting to approach being down 10 buy-ins, then I would start to look over hand histories and try to find any leaks.
The first thing to realize when you are in a downswing is that the subscribers and instructors at Grinderschool are more than willing to help you through it. Secondly, remember that even the best poker players in the world have gone through severe downswings and they have been able to come back even stronger than before. Finally, you should realize that going through downswings is a part of the game and provides us with the necessary motivation to fix our leaks.