Poker Strategy
Friday, December 1, 2023
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Marley Luker is a professional poker player from Hawaii And the founder of where he writes educational content geared toward beginner poker players.

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Top 10 mistakes poker players make during downswings

You never know how close you are... never give up on your dreams.

You never know how close you are... never give up on your dreams. (photo by Pixels)

Downswings are never fun, but it's what makes hitting a good run rewarding. Unfortunately, some downswings are worse than others and can make you feel like you suck at poker. The most important thing is to not let it get into your head and affect the way you play.

Here are my top tips for handling downswings like a pro:

10. Setting a stoploss
My first and arguably most important tip is to set a daily buy-in limit. If you cross your set limit, you stop playing for the day without a second thought. After losing 10 buy-ins no matter how good you are, you will play differently. Following set guidelines like this poker cheat sheet are what separates good players from great players.

9. Go back to the basics
Unfortunately, downswings can make you emotionally unstable and more prone to making crazy plays. However, you can put yourself in a more focused headspace by concentrating on playing solid fundamental poker. If you implement this correctly, you will start winning again in no time. Online best poker tips for beginners have some good resources for going back to the basics.

8. Schedule a study session
This can either be with a coach or with a poker buddy. Setting up a time to review your game will let you identify your biggest mistakes and put you in a more refreshed mindset. Pro poker players absolutely abuse this tip! Downswings can be highly motivating, and putting some of your energy into improving your skills at this time can be a wise decision. If you are not sure where to get started check out this study guide.

7. Take a break
Many times, losing money will naturally make you feel like you need to buckle down and win it back immediately. However, choosing to do the opposite and take a break will separate you from average players and give you a chance to come back with your A-game.

6. Go to a different environment
Whether this means choosing to play at a different casino or a different stake online. This can help you readjust to something new and remember what skills you personally bring to the table.

5. Table selection
During upswings, you can mistakenly believe you are the best player ever and can win at any table. This can result in you sitting at tables you shouldn't be at. Winning at poker comes down to choosing tables with bad players who will make lots of mistakes. This means consistently choosing tables and leaving if the games are too tough. Here is a good table selection guide.

4. Stakes
Take into consideration your stake, competition, and skill. Have you won at the stake over the long term? Take some time to identify if you are just on a downswing or losing at the stake. This can be hard, but it's essential to be realistic and consider moving back down in stakes while you continue improving your skills.

3. Adjust your routine
Your routine is an essential aspect of having a good mindset in poker. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and staying active can heavily affect your mentality in poker. Sometimes, adapting to a healthier lifestyle is all it takes to start winning at poker again.

2. Get exercise
Exercise will be your main combatant against downswings. Everyone's mentality changes and is affected during these times, and the last thing you want is for that to come out at the table. However, you can come back and play refreshed and renewed by allocating some of that energy to physical activity.

1. Don't go broke
Unfortunately, a downswing requires losing money, sometimes lots of it. So, ensure you have a proper bankroll strategy. A good rule is to have at least 20 buy-ins for each stake.

A proper bankroll, combined with all the tips laid out above, will help you handle downswings in the best possible way. Downswings are a constant for poker players, so it's good to remember that it doesn't necessarily mean you're a terrible player. Everyone likes to celebrate the upswings in poker, but the best players also know how to handle downswings.

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