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Are downswings just in our heads?

    • Deadbillis
      Joined: 24.08.2011 Posts: 308
      After playing MSS nl4 for a month and coming out just above even. I decided to have a play with micro tournies and micro sng mainly on Pokerstar.

      Had a great week last week and finished the week up $130!

      Then Sunday came! Down $30!
      Guys calling my allin on a QT48 board with K7 off and hitting a K!
      My preflop reraise with AKs gets a push from a 42off and flop comes 2JJ!
      AK loses to AT, QJ, T9 etc.

      Monday comes and goes and the nightmare continues (Down $20)

      Thought it was over today when I win 2 sng backtoback! But 'OH NO!' down I go again! (only down $5)

      So I'm currently down $55 this week and even caught myself on a 'mini-tilt' (raising out of position and even did a bit of fishing!) Decided to stop playing! write this and have a couple of days away from the tables.

      Amazed at how quickly my logic has gone out the window after a bad run! Mad thoughts such as "This site is out to get me" and "Maybe I should widen my range!!!!"

      Looked back at my thought process and last week it was "Play your A-Game and you will do okay at this level"

      Since Sunday it has been "TRY and play your A-game and this downswing will eventually end (but I'm not telling you when)!"

      So to elaborate on my original question;

      1. Is thinking that you are on a downswing a 'vicious circle' that can only be broken by positive mental attitude?

      2. What would you say is the minimum period before you can consider a 'bad run' as a downswing?

      3. Once you think you are on a downswing, what is the best way to get away from it?

      Should you:

      Drop down a level (done this)
      Take a couple of days off (doing this)
      Play some freerolls like a rock to build you confidence back up.
      something else.

  • 1 reply
    • VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 10,727

        :spade: have a sign on my office wall that says, "Don't Panic". I read it. A lot.
        :heart: Think about this hand and this hand only.
        :diamond: You have 4 edges: Skill, Cards, Position, Stack Size. You can very easily over-estimate the first two
        :club: time is on your side -- but only if you play the odds, otherwise it is your mortal enemy. So play the odds, 'cuz time waits for no man.
        :club: It is all one big session

      None of the above are remotely original. The first comes from "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", the last from David Sklansky the rest probably from here.

      The downswing is definitely NOT in your head, but your reaction is. You can control only one of the two. Guess which.

      Variance says that each poker player will experience good runs and bad runs.
      I'm certain that if there was a luck scale, all poker players would fall somewhere on the luck scale from "permanent black cloud overhead" to "horseshoes firmly wedged up his a$$" -- well maybe that ain't so lucky. But you get the idea. Some people learn early that they're on the black cloud end, and know when to run. Those on the horseshoes end think it is their surpassing skill.

      In poker, you cannot control the cards or the luck, and everybody gets to play every position in turn. The only thing that you can work on is your skill, so guess what you do to improve?

      Good Luck