A big part of being a poker player is dealing with the ups and downs in terms of results. This short-term change in results is known as “variance” or “swings” by poker players. It can be quite challenging to weather these swings.
Many less experienced players (even some experienced ones) struggle to stay relaxed when running bad. This situation can result in making worse and worse decisions at the poker table.
This factor is especially true in PLO (Pot Limit Omaha) - one of my favourite poker variants. Swings in PLO can be extraordinary.
Here are my top tips for dealing with running bad in poker.
1. Manage Your Emotions
I think that women are naturally more emotional than men. Managing emotions can be a challenge. I struggled with this control. - it undoubtedly wasn’t easy at first.
I have found that lifestyle choices can help a lot in being able to control my emotions. For example, yoga has helped me to gain a much greater sense of emotional balance.
When I manage my emotions off the table, I have much greater clarity and control when I sit down to play.
I have invested quite a bit of work in this area over time.I feel that I now have an excellent mindset. I do not feel prone to tilting, even when facing tough downswings.
Poker Is a Mental Game After All, Not a Physical One
The best poker players stay logical and calm all the time. I try and follow this approach myself.
Once women have good control over their mental and emotional state, they can be on a level playing field. So, there is no reason to feel intimidated by male players.
Poker is a mental game, after all, not a physical one.
2. Surround Yourself with the Right People
If we associate with successful players who cope with downswings professionally, it’s a lot easier to do so ourselves. Being an 888 ambassador is extremely helpful. I am constantly surrounded by amazing poker players who push me to be better.
Based on this experience, I recommend that players work together with others. Perhaps you can sign up to study groups or by working with a mentor/coach.
It’s a lot easier to deal with the negative side of the game when surrounded by positive influences.
Team888 Ambassadors – Positive Influences
On the other hand, if we are trying to go at poker alone, we might feel more inclined to simply give up when the going gets tough.
Even if we don’t have poker friends, we can make use of the poker content out there to inspire us.
Not only do I enjoy watching poker videos, but I love to discuss poker hands and theories. I have even taken private poker coaching myself. I recommend to others that they consider the option.
3. Live a Balanced Life
I am a big believer that our life off the table can have a significant influence on how we cope with downswings.
At the end of the day, we are humans and not machines. We can only take so much. It’s essential to find time to relax away from the tables. This process will help us to better cope when things get tough at the tables.
I highly recommend the following three ways to maintain a balanced life:
- Eating a balanced diet
- Making sure to have a good time away from the poker tables
Say poker becomes the only thing in our lives, and poker is not going well. That means our whole life is not going well.
Before a big poker tournament, I’ll often look for a way to relax and enjoy myself. (I’ll go out for a meal or walk, say.) After, I feel refreshed when I hit the table.
It wouldn’t be good to show up at the tables already tilted. We would bee focusing all our energy on the fact that we are running bad.
4. Be Ambitious, Constantly Improve
The way we feel about poker can sometimes be related to how much we are investing in ourselves. If we don’t study and don’t enjoy the game, it’s always going to be tougher to deal with running bad.
If we love the game of poker and are continually finding ways to improve, it’s going to be so much easier to deal with the downswings.
We won’t feel like we are wasting our time playing poker because we know that we are slowly improving. The downswing will eventually end.
It’s also good to be ambitious and set goals, such as playing a specific volume or working on a particular concept.
So, even if we find ourselves running bad over the short term, we’ll still have the satisfaction of reaching our goals.
Downswings - Final Pointers
Poker can be difficult, both in terms of strategy and in terms of handling emotions. There are lots of weaker players at the tables. So, having that higher level of emotional control can be enough to give ourselves an edge in many games.
Handling our emotions is also something that we can teach ourselves to do.
I’m convinced I am living proof of that.