A downswing is a longer period of time where you consistently loose no matter what you do. This is absolutely normal and comes from the probabilistic nature of the poker game.
Downswings – using it as an excuse
This entire article only applies to players that are winning players! Dont use downswings as an excuse if you havent proved in the past that you are a long term winner.
Downswings – having the bankroll to survive it
The most important thing in tournament poker is to have the bankroll to survive normal downswings. Please check out my article on bankroll management for more details and rules.
Downswings – having the confidence to survive it
This is key, dont give up on yourself. Dont lose confidence in yourself. Only because you keep seeing the top of peoples ranges doesnt mean you are doing something wrong. Keep doing what you are doing and the results will show.
Downswings – taking a break
If you feel that a downswing is affecting your game or you mentally. Take a break. Dont hesitate to take a break. Take a few days off, do something else. Wait until you are eager to jump back into the game. Poker will still be here after your break.
Downswings – getting back to the game
After a really rough downswing I usually do some very small sessions. During those recouping session, I play like half the amount of tables I usually do. On top of that I try to temporarily cut down on stakes. Its probably a good idea to review some of your hands after the session. Focus on the decisions you made, not on how bad you run. I know its a lot harder said than done, I fail at this myself at times too.
Also try to play games where you win with a high probability. A good idea is to play smaller field sizes. Its more important to get the feeling of success and victory back than to actually make money. Build your confidence first and than focus on maximizing profit.
Downswings – fixing your game in the wrong direction
A word of warning, it can very easily happen that during a downswing you start changing your game. This is a very bad idea, because mostly the changes are in the wrong direction. You dont have your usual confidence level. Dont change your game for the wrong reasons.
When you catch yourself changing your game because of a downswing, I suggest you immediately take a break. Once the downswing is over, look at what you wanted to change and asses with a clear state of mind if that is a good idea or not.
Jared Tendler confidence coaching session – how to deal with downswings.
Check out Phil Galfond’s video blog about downswings.
Downswings – Summary
- Its only a downswing if you are a long term winner.
- Make sure you have the bankroll to survive a downswing
- Dont hesitate to take a break if confidence is low
- Dont change your game during a downswing