How to Handle Big Poker Swings
Last Updated: September 24, 2021
Unfortunately, poker swings are an inseparable part of the game. No matter how good or experienced you are, you’re bound to go through big poker swings every once in a while.
While you can’t avoid going through these demoralizing phases, there are ways you can make sure you stay on top after a disappointing poker swing. On this page, we’ll share with you the top five tips on how to handle big poker swings:
1. A Big Swing Can Be a Big Opportunity
Although it’s hard to look at it from this perspective when going through a bad losing streak, you’ll do much better if you perceive the swing as an opportunity to come out even stronger at the end of it.
The saying that adversity separates the best players from the masses is a cliché for a good reason.
Most players will react poorly when they experience a big poker swing and get discouraged from pushing through it. The mental aspect of poker is one of the most significant elements in the game.
While you don’t have to go around celebrating your bad streak, realize that it’s your opportunity to break through even further in the long run and become a more experienced player.
2. Analyze and Work on Your Game
In line with the previous time, a downswing can also be the perfect time to analyze your game a bit closer and try to work on it. When things are going well, it’s easy to get complacent and start thinking you’re better than everyone you’re playing against.
Many players quickly slide into the self-pity mentality and think that this is just how things are supposed to be and that they’re destined to go down this way. This is not only an immature way of thinking but also a pointless one if you want to be a successful poker player.
Unlike when playing roulette for real money (or any other casino game for that matter), there are many things you can do to improve your poker results. Luck alone is just one factor and the least relevant one in the long run.
Take time to analyze how you’ve been playing for the past few weeks or months. If you stop feeling sorry for yourself and devote time to reviewing different aspects of your game, you’ll be amazed at how much you can improve.
3. Don’t Forget Your Overall Success
The downswing you’re going through doesn’t represent you; it’s just a minor setback in your overall path of poker success. And, while this may sound like some fake-guru positive reinforcement, there is a lot of truth in it.
If you’ve been playing poker for months or even years, it’s likely that you’re good at it and have earned a solid poker bankroll during that period. You should never forget this.
When you get in a rut, remember that your previous successes aren’t the result of luck but of skill and perseverance.
Poker is a game with short-term bursts of luck and long-term domination of skill. If you’re a good player, you’ll always recover eventually; math doesn’t lie. It’s easy to lose perspective of this when you’re on a downswing, but it’s something you should always keep in mind.
4. Move to Lower Stakes
Downswings can do a number on your bankroll, and it’s not easy to maintain a sustainable run if you’re going through a prolonged losing period. That’s why it’s also a good idea to move to lower-stakes tables until you regain your momentum.
Playing at lower stakes while in a downswing has many benefits. Primarily, you won’t be risking as much money as you would if you stayed at the level that you usually play. This will allow you to focus more on the game itself without the stress of losing money as a largely concerning factor.
Additionally, playing against less-skilled opponents is also a great way to regain some confidence. When you’ve been in the negative for weeks or months, a few winning sessions can help pick you up so you can jump back in your regular stakes with a more positive mentality.
5. Take Time Off If Necessary
Sometimes, a prolonged and particularly bad downswing can take a toll on your mental health and completely drain your energy. You can get depressed, disappointed, and will be going through the motions mindlessly without enjoying the game. This can only lead to detrimental results.
If you feel like this at any point of a downswing, it’s best just to walk away and take some time for yourself. The game will still be there when you want it, and you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration by taking a break.
Pausing even just for a few days can help you clear your head and get back into the right mindset.
Taking some time away from the game is a smart choice for several reasons. From a financial perspective, you’ll save your bankroll for when you’re in a better frame of mind down the road. More importantly, you can use the extra free time to reflect on your past decisions, go through some previous poker hands with a clear head, and build yourself up by doing other things you enjoy in your life.
A Quick Last Word On Poker Downswings
You could be the best poker player in the world, but if the cards simply aren’t going your way, you’ll always end up losing. A bad downswing can last for several months, and there’s nothing you can do to put a stop to it short of quitting the game entirely.
That said, with the tips we’ve covered on this page, you should have a much easier time dealing with poker swings. The sooner you accept them as a part of the game you’ll inevitably experience, the better you’ll be in dealing with them.
If you’re in it for the long term, just focus on the game you love and enjoy playing. A poker downswing is a setback that will come and go. All you can do is make sure you handle it better than everyone else who goes through it.
Learn how to deal with bad beats and ugly coolers, look forward to the upswings, and always keep a cool head.