Poker is a skill game and everybody knows it. You can find very successful professional and even amateur players all over the world - in both Online and Live scenarios. 

So how can you explain the losing strikes? How come a winning player suddenly starts to experience failure for a certain period of time? And the gold question is: How can you overcome a downswing?

Losing Strikes

Even amazingly skilled poker players will be susceptible to experience bad phases throughout their careers. Variance in poker is basically the difference between your expected win and your actually outcome. It is important to point it out that a period of bad luck can result in a downswing but a period of good luck can also result in a upswing! In other words you can lose or win more than the mathematical expectation on an event.


There are many factors involving the swings in poker. I'll be pointing out the ones I see to have a major impact in short and middle term swings.

The number one is your win rate. Based on your skills and previous results, it is possible to estimate how many big blinds are expected to be won or lost giving 100 hands played. The higher your win rate, the lower are the swings.

Another extremely important factor is the number of hands played. If you analyze your results through 50,000 hands your outcome could be possibly way distant from the mathematical expected number. But if you analyze your results through 1,000,000 hands, you can see that your results are much closer to what they were expected to be.

The last big point is people's mindset and behavior during the downswing period. Making poor decisions can aggravate your bad phase. A lot of players will find a hard time playing their A game during this period and will neglect important parts of the professionalism required in order to be successful in poker, such as bankroll management and study.

Overcoming a Downswing

Overcoming a Downswing

The good news is that there are many solutions for downswings and if you follow a few steps and work hard you will surpass any bad phase and once more become a winning player!

The first step should be to improve as a poker player. The increase of your win rate can be done by investing more time and quality to studies and/or by decreasing the stakes played. In general, in lower stakes your edge tends to be higher. Another thing that might compromise the win rate is your game selection and in some cases the rake -specially in some live games around the world.

Equally important to studding is to take care of your emotional control and keep logical thoughts and actions in place. You must understand that result deviations are expected and they happen to everybody. You are definitely not extra unlucky than other players and self pitiness will only stay on your way to success.

If you are a live poker player, it might be worth to consider spending some time at the online tables. For reasons such, it is extremely easier to put in the volume when playing online because you can play multiple tables, from different places and with flexible times. The hands happen much faster too.

The approach of short cuts such as playing out of your bankroll and firing shots should be out of question.

Any additional habit or influence that might help your progress should be implemented every time when possible. This includes things as the start of a healthier and balanced life style, yoga practice or even in order to reduce the pressure and perform better, to play staked.

Remember not to compare your journey to others. Everyone of us have our own story and good things happen to those who work hard for them.

Patience, time and work will guarantee your triumph!

Good luck and see you at the tables!

About the Author
After making a name for herself in the summer of 2017, Brazil’s Vivian “Vivi” Saliba was welcomed to the 888poker team. That year, the 24-year-old became the youngest female to enter the World Series of Poker Main Event.