This site uses cookies to improve your browsing experience. By continuing to browse the website, you accept such cookies. For more details and to change your settings, see our Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy. Close

Downswing, Poor play or Mistake? What's the difference and how do you tell?

    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 10,846
      A while back I decided to tackle NL 5-Card Draw. I do well at Limit up to FL $1/$2 with the odd exception of FL $0.25/$0.50.

      In my first few hundred hands I lost a couple of stacks, then over the next several thousand lost several more stacks.

      Lately, I've been slowly climbing back up.

      There aren't a whole heap of analysis tools for 5-Card Draw -- and most of those I did myself.
      So I want to know -- how do I tell if I'm in a downswing, or if I'm playing badly, or if I just made a mistake.

      Here's how I'm thinking about the categories:
      :diamond:   Downswing:- You make the correct decisions about how to play the hand, but get outdrawn, or run into a better hand. This happens frequently over a span of hands
      :diamond:   Poor play:- Your fundamental understanding of what makes a good hand is flawed. This may be because you don't understand the relative hand strength, the drawing odds, the power of position or some combination of those factors. This may include tilt in some form
      :diamond:   Mistake:- Your fundamentals are sound but you mis-read an opponents hand strength, or you attempt a bluff vs an incompatible player type. (or fail to bluff when presented with a golden opportunity). Mistakes can also result from tilt.

      OK. 'Nuff said
      How do you tell?

      Anything else we should take into account?

      Cheers,
      VS
  • 11 replies
    • la55i
      la55i
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 27.01.2013 Posts: 8,009
      You can tell if you are on a downswing, playing badly etc.. by analyzing your hands and checking if you play correctly. But then comes the tricky part. If you don't 100% know how you should play every spot and you are not able to use software to figure that out, it is basically quite difficult for you to analyze your own play. It is hard to find our own leaks if we don't know what to look for.

      You can talk to better players/coaches of take a look at some study material. But because this is 5-card draw you might not find that much material.
      Another thing you can do is to just trust yourself and see how you are doing after 10k more hands :f_biggrin:
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 10,846
      I think that the general principles work across all variants of poker.
      One thing I watch for is -- how do opponents play against me. This tells a lot about whether you are the fish or the shark.
      If they start to fold to your open raises a lot, you're being too nitty, so adjust.
      You can over adjust though. When I first discovered 4-bet bluffing in Hold'em I was like I'd found a gold mine, but it wasn't long before I started getting shoved on whenever I did it.

      Another problem is that bad play often works. I can make money being a nit -- but I could make more if I open up and play a few more bluff hands. If I stick to being nitty, that is a leak (bad play).

      Cheers,
      VS
    • Primrose6789
      Primrose6789
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.07.2016 Posts: 2,446
      Interesting topic, gave a "like" :s_thumbsup: , I hope we are not only talking about 5-card-draw (cause here I couldn´t contribute any constructive content). Well, I can talk only about my format (NL Holdem SnG/MTT/DON):

      Downswing:

      * You make correct jams/folds (according to FGS) but run frequently into a monster or loose the hand anyway
      * You frequently loose (correct) pushes with good or very good hands and 70 % + equity pf
      * You are frequently outdrawn: You got the nuts on the flop/turn, you and Villain jam your chips in and Villain gets his "magic card" on turn and/or river, so: When the all the chips go into the pot, you are favourite, got 60 % plus equity but loose anyway
      * You just get "nothing to play", 99 % junk hands, which are clear folds
      * You call/raise correctly pf totally miss the flop very frequently and have to fold the hand (f.e. raise with 99 pf, 3 Villains call, flop comes like A-K-T)
      * You often encounter "coolers": like set over set, hold the "underfull", run with KK into AA, run with FH into quads....

      Mistakes/poor play:

      *You make mistakes according to FGS, you push/fold hands which you shouldn´t
      *You play poorly post-flop according to GTO
      *Your read on Villain is not correct
      *You tilt and play too aggressively or too nitty

      How do you tell?

      *Well, SnG/MTT players got software to analyze this (ICM-zer, Holdem Ressources Calculator f.e.). ---> I instantly see the "rotten eggs"
      *Guess PLO- and CG-players have also analysis-software
      * Discuss with better players: Ask a reg-collegue or your coach (if you got one)!
      * You see in PT4 if you run over- or under-EV, means: loose hands in which you are favourite too often or win hands as underdog (lucky).

      I hope it helps a bit? :f_tongue:
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 10,846
      Originally posted by Primrose6789
      Interesting topic, gave a "like" :s_thumbsup: , I hope we are not only talking about 5-card-draw (cause here I couldn´t contribute any constructive content). Well, I can talk only about my format (NL Holdem SnG/MTT/DON):

      Downswing:

      * You make correct jams/folds (according to FGS) but run frequently into a monster or loose the hand anyway
      No, not just 5-Card Draw -- the idea for this post came from analysing trends in 2-7 Single Draw in fact. I'm pretty sure that this can apply to any form of poker.

      In "The Mental Game of Poker" the author talks about 4 stages (from memory)
      :diamond:   Unconscious Incompetence -- we are basically clueless and unaware of just how clueless we are.
      :diamond:   Conscious Incompentence -- we know what information we lack, and are actively engaged in acquiring it.
      :diamond:   Conscious Competence -- We have most of the information we need, but we still need to "think things through"
      :diamond:   Unconscious Competence -- The right move happens instinctively.

      So unless you are playing at least the "Conscious Competence" level, it isn't likely a downswing, (but it may be). More likely, it is just a mistake (you knew the right move, but overlooked it, ignored it or forgot it) -- or you're not as Competent as you thought (Unconscious Incompetence)

      Incidentally, what is "FGS" I couldn't find any thing likely in Acronym Finder -- although "Florida Gourd Society" seemed hopeful...

      Cheers,
      VS
    • Primrose6789
      Primrose6789
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.07.2016 Posts: 2,446
      Hahahahahahahaha! FGS stands for "future game simulation" it tells SNG players which hands to push or fold in certain situations. So f.e. when you have A8s on the BTN and your stack is 7 BB and everybody folded then you got a profitable Jam. Folding is a mistake. So you push and BB calls with AA then it's bad luck.

      So! Back to topic: by analyzing your hand after the session you pretty much can tell if it was unconcious incompetence or if you were unlucky. No idea if there is software for Draw players to analyze hands and calculate equity???
    • LemOn36
      LemOn36
      Coach
      Coach
      Joined: 07.02.2009 Posts: 1,987
      Through my vast experience of playin NL25 5card draw for 30 minutes on stream while drinking
      I can confirm that no, there is no way to tell in this devil's game
    • tonypmm
      tonypmm
      Silver
      Joined: 11.01.2009 Posts: 4,869
      Whether you're on a downswing or are playing poorly, you'll be better off if you improve your game than if you don't. If you're a longterm winner on a downswing, it still doesn't hurt to become a crusher.

      The knowledge of the winrate only matters for game/limit selection and bankroll management. In the case of a very large bankroll, its management is reduced to the selection of the tables that give you the best winrate in $/hour, and if you have leaks, these may indeed be at a lower limit instead of the highest one on offer.

      Chapter 3 of 'The Mathematics of Poker' by Bill Chen and Jerrod Ankenman, specifically, its last section 'Estimating Parameters: Bayesian Statistics', explains the method of Bayesian inference that can be used to estimate the winrate given a small sample if you know or can guess the prior probability distribution of the winrates of the regs who're similar to you.

      Otherwise, you can use the frequentist approach and determine confidence intervals as outlined earlier in the chapter, which can be done with the Pokerdope Variance Calculator. To estimate the standard deviation per 100 hands of your games, you can put your actual wins and losses in Excel and calculate their 'population standard deviation'. (If you, say, play 200 hands an hour, then record your cashier balance (incl. the stacks in play) every half an hour, or record it every hour and then divide the resulting standard deviation by sqrt(2), or every 3 hours dividing by sqrt(6), etc.)

      In absence of a large sample and any data on fellow regs' winrates, I'd err on the side of caution and keep playing the minimum limit out of those that are worth my time and effort at all until I have a large winning sample or make sure that I'm understanding the game at a higher level than most of my current opponents.
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 10,846
      Thanks tonypmm,
      I have that book. I started to read it, but my brain boiled.
      I'll have another look at that chapter.

      Originally posted by tonypmm
      Whether you're on a downswing or are playing poorly, you'll be better off if you improve your game than if you don't.
      Another great quote to have embroidered on my pillow...

      All the best,
      VS
    • jmbean2
      jmbean2
      Bronze
      Joined: 20.02.2018 Posts: 17
      Very interesting, thxx:f_drink:
    • tripko89
      tripko89
      Basic
      Joined: 12.03.2018 Posts: 1
      :gl:
    • Lazza61
      Lazza61
      Headadmin
      Headadmin
      Joined: 23.03.2011 Posts: 10,846
      Hey tripko89,

      Welcome to PokerStrategy.com :welcome:

      Where are you from? In fact, why don't you get yourself added to our Member map. You never know, the nearest PokerStrategist may live right next door. :f_p:

      What games and limits do you play? We should be able to link you to some strategy and/or videos specific to what you play. :f_thumbsup:

      If you have any questions for us, then please don't hesitate to ask.

      Have fun :gl:

      Laz