How to Handle Downswing Like a Texas Holdem Poker Pro?

Is this really call “Downswing” ?

If a losing streak is the definition of a “Downswing”, I personally went through a six-month streak of “Downswing” in Macau in 2013. What was even more confusing was that I had won a lot of chips at the same tables from about the same opponents for the previous six months. So I was confused as to why I suddenly started losing, and often asked myself: Is this really the so-called “Downswing” of bad luck in the derby circuit?

I had a discussion with many of my friends at the time and their advice was:

  1. The advice from friends was to play smaller during the Downswing, and to play more to get better after the time.
  2. The Downswing, more rest, go to travel, will be fine.
  3. The lower wind period to play a little tighter, there are cards to play, no cards to give up, do not think too much.
  4. In the Downswing, you can rush to the high table, and win a big luck will be good.

I have a completely different perspective on “Downswing” after coming out of this slump and taking my total poker profits to new heights. A “Downswing” usually involves a number of factors:

  1. Bad luck.
  2. Inherent lack of technical superiority.
  3. Further deterioration of technical performance in the case of bad luck.

Texas Holdem Poker Tips – Luck

First of all, the “Downswing” and bad luck must be highly correlated, which is a fact we need to acknowledge and accept. 2013 I once lost a big set to a small set in three very big pots, where the opponent hit a bomb on the turn or the river.

One was a 100/200 table three all in, about a 90,000 chip pot, one was a 50/100 two all in, about a 50-60,000 chip pot, and another was a 50/100 three hit pot of about 40-50,000 chips. Such backstabbing is always very impactful.

Texas Holdem Poker Tips – Technical Advantage

Mathematically speaking, the greater the advantage a player has over certain opponents, the lower the magnitude and frequency of “Downswing” he will encounter. I don’t think I need to go into a long mathematical argument about this to make you understand.

Therefore, it is not enough to discuss with a friend the big pot we lost when we encounter a “Downswing”. It is better to ask a friend of higher level to review many of our hands, including the pre-flop starting hand selection and the post-flop handling. It’s even better if you can play at the same table, because you’ll experience the same opponents and table dynamics and be more focused when discussing the hand.

For example, a while ago I was playing 50/100 with a friend at the same table in Macau, and a tourist in the middle position opened raise 300, and my friend called with KQo (o stands for off suit, referring to different suits) in the dealer position. But that day I observed that this visitor opened raise 300 significantly more often than average, and once opened with K5s (s stands for suited, meaning the same suit), which almost certainly gave him a wide range of open raise 300.

Combining these factors, calling with KQo in dealer position is a bad choice, while 3bet is almost a must. call is also likely to bring in the two players in the blinds, and whether they call or 3bet, we’ll have a hard time dealing with it. And KQo itself is not a particularly good starting hand for playing a multiplayer pot. More importantly, we give up the opportunity to exploit the open visitor player.

Improving your play and increasing your EV in many small and medium pot options can greatly increase your hourly win rate and greatly reduce the magnitude and frequency of “Downswing”. During “Downswing”, spend more time reflecting and discussing the cards played, carefully looking for areas where you can play better.

Texas Holdem Poker Tips – The mental test of bad luck

I think this third point is the biggest test in the Downswing. First of all, people often show different ways of handling cards in different luck situations, which is called A, B, C and D game, where A game represents the player’s performance in the best condition. This handling level is closely related to the player’s physical and mental condition on that day.

Imagine a professional tennis player who usually needs to play some warm-up matches before playing any major tournament and needs to do sufficient warm-up exercises before the match. He may even need some psychological counseling. When he encounters a series of losses, his technical level of play will be under great pressure and his self-confidence will be shaken, making it difficult for him to play his best.

So in fact, any athlete at different times the level of play is also A, B, C, D. A high level athlete can consistently play at A/B level, and his high level is also reflected in his mental level.

In 2013, when I was “Downswing”, I made two different adjustments, one was to “play simpler, tighter, play with cards and discard without cards, but I still lost. Then, I made another adjustment, which was “play looser and more aggressive”, but the result was also a loss.

For example, if a tight-handed regular player in front of me opens raise, I call with J3s on the button, a hand I would never normally play, and the regular player in the blinds calls. Flop 733, ante hits, I call, blinds raise, ante calls, I call. The turn is blank, the blinds continue to play, and the ante covers, my chip depth either commit or cover, and finally choose to commit.

In fact, poker players are often faced with complex and difficult choices, and all we can do is observe and analyze as much information as possible to make the best possible choice. The most important thing you can do is to observe and analyze as much information as possible to make the best possible choice. A generalized aggressive/conservative/tight/loose choice is not the right direction.

The same hand that should be 3bet at some times may be folded at others. Because poker is difficult, we need to make sure that we keep a clear and sharp mind at all times when we are at the table, and that we don’t play when we are not in good shape.

The above hand, the flop blind player over raised by the two called after he obviously encountered two hands with hard strength, our two strength range mainly includes: super pair / A3 / 34 / 35 / K3 / 77 (with 3’s starting hand most of the flush even long or A3), the turn card can play out again, he is at least A3, so my bottom three stripes although very hidden (as opposed to JJX’s So although my bottom three is hidden (compared to JJX’s starting hand, as most players prefer to play JX’s starting hand), it basically becomes a card that can only win a chicken steal, and the likelihood of the opponent stealing a chicken in this situation is obviously close to zero. So folding is the only right choice.

The poker player is often hard pressed to throw away a strong hand, especially one that so bizarrely hits three 3s with a J3. Rational analysis often loses out to emotional rejection (not accepting the fact that the opponent’s hand is bigger).

In times of bad luck, a poker player’s mental level can be severely tested. Rushing to turn over the money, adjusting to an overly tight and weak hand, or being overly loose and aggressive are common missteps. It is not easy to play at your usual level when you are unlucky. Many times you think your mindset is unaffected, but that may not actually be the case.

In my first three years of professional poker, there were many times when I came to the conclusion that after losing a big pot now, I would very quickly lose more chips within a few hours. And not lose any big pots during that time. Common phenoms include calling a raise in front of me with 67o in back position (usually I fold); calling a bet from an opponent with a bottom pair on the flop, while acknowledging that the opponent has a high probability of hitting top pair or better, and that I was only expecting to buy three or two pairs; etc.

In addition, folding a strong hand three times in a row is also a great test of the mind, each big fold will consume the body’s energy, if you have to make a big fold for the third time in a day, my personal experience is that it requires a very strong mind. Most people would think, “I don’t think so? I’ll take it. Their rational analysis will often be thrown aside.

Summing up

So when there is a “Downswing” of consecutive losses, the better option is to stop more often, discuss and reflect on the hands played, including big pots and small and medium pots. The fewer hands you play on the same day, the more time and energy you will have to think about the more hands you have played.

In this way, from the perspective of factor “two”, we can better improve our level and increase our profitability. From the point of view of factor “three”, we have more time to calm down and play as well as we can with a mindset closer to our best. If this does not solve your problem, then you have no choice but to downgrade and reduce the magnitude of the “Downswing” by increasing your advantage over your opponent.

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