Saturday, July 23, 2005

Going through a bad streak

I'm currently going through a bad streak. Nothing seems to be working right the last week in poker. My overall win rate has gone down from +3.00 BB/100 to around +2.50 BB/100. Baseball betting hasn't gone good either. But I'm not here to whine or go through any bad beats. This is a normal part of gambling for any gamblers. This includes everyone, even the best players will go through some horrid streaks. What should one do when in the middle of a bad streak? Here are some things I thought about (this is for players with a winning track record already):

1. Treat each session as part of one big session
I wrote about this in Chapter 20 of Weighing the Odds in Hold'em Poker. Instead of just looking at the results in the latest session (or string of sessions), look at your career or lifetime totals instead. If you are a winning player, this should calm your nerves down a bit. It should be clear that this is just one of those rough patches. Of course you should examine how you are playing carefully because you may be making mistakes now that you didn't before, but knowing you are capable of winning and you are just hitting the inevitable rough patch is comforting.

2. Analyze your play
Take a closer look at your recent play. If you use Poker Tracker or other software, hopefully you can identify that you have been unlucky. If it wasn't bad luck, then you may be able to identify what you are doing wrong and then try to correct it.

3. Communicated to others about your play.
Find some poker friends to talk to about how you played some hands. Or better yet, post your hands on or some other forum like that. You will get assorted answers, some good, some bad. But most important, you will get other points of view that maybe you had missed when you thought about the hand yourself.

4.. Take a break for a bit.
It is ok to take a break from poker. I recommend to take some time away, breath in some fresh air, go watch a movie, go to the local mall, take a vacation. Anything to get your mind a breather should be good for your mental health. As a pro once told me, even poker players should go on vacations once in a while. This is a good time to do it.

5. Read some good poker books
Reading quality poker books is always helpful for your poker game, but never so useful as when you are in a bad streak. You may come across some issues that you had already known but had either forgotten or put in the back of your mind. One book I suggest is Weighing the Odds in Hold'em Poker :-) There are more too, including: Hold'em Poker for Advanced Players; Theory of Poker; Jennifer Harman's Limit Hold'em section in Super System 2 (short section); Inside the Poker Mind by John Feeney. I've also heard alot of good things about Small Stakes Hold'em by Ed Miller, although I can't recommend it yet because I haven't read it yet.

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