Today’s question comes from Skull Duggery, and he says, “How do you deal with these swings where no matter what you do, nothing works and you’re hideously coolered and bad-beated over and over again? It feels like it will never end!”
This is a great question and it’s a question that every single poker player who plays long enough is going to ask at one point or another, so it’s a really, really good one.
First and foremost, what I would always suggest doing whenever a stint like this begins or I notice that I’m in the middle of one is I go through and I analyze every single hand that’s happened recently that I feel I was either coolered on or bad-beated on. If you’re online, obviously it’s much easier to just run through your database. If you’re playing live, do your best to run through all the hands as they played out, you should be taking notes on these kind of things anyway throughout sessions or after sessions.
Truly and honestly and deeply analyze those hands. Say, “Okay, did I make a mistake anywhere?” Not just did the result go against me, because that’s where a lot of players start and they’re just like, “Oh, I lost this hand,” or “I got in with aces versus king, whatever,” and they don’t analyze the entire hand, they just look at the result and say, “Damn, that went against me. Either I played bad or I ran bad.”
The truth of the matter is, there’s oftentimes mistakes early in a hand. Maybe they got involved in the hand incorrectly, maybe they sized something incorrectly—that’s very common, especially on earlier streaks like flops and turns, sometimes even pre-flop. Go through and heavily analyze those hands and really make sure that it was just run bad or coolers and not you making a mistake. What you’re going to find is a lot of times when we go through these stints or these stages where we feel like we’re running awfully, is that oftentimes it started by maybe running a little bad but then that seeped in and all of a sudden our strategies started sucking as well. When you throw run bad and play bad together, things can get really, really ugly really, really quickly.
One of the things that ties into that really nicely and I think is really important is the mental element of this. Like I said, oftentimes you maybe start running bad, then you start playing bad, then it seeps into your mental and then your mental is crap as well. That’s when things can get really, really ugly.
A couple of quick tips here is just remember that every single session you sit down at is a blank slate. That session does not know that you’ve been running like crap, only you know that you’ve been running like crap and only you are going to let that impact the way that you’re going to play this session.
So just remember, every single session is brand new, it’s a blank slate, don’t feel like you’re permanently going to run bad in this one, too. Oftentimes it’s going to take a little bit of mental stress off, which will help a decent amount.
Just remember little things like that, remember to keep analyzing where your mental is at. Are you making bad plays because you’re fearful that you’re going to get sucked out on? Oftentimes I see this, where people are running really crappy and then all of a sudden they start jamming sets for 400 big blinds on a flop, simply so they don’t get sucked out on by a flush draw, yet again.
Honestly, when you’re doing that, then you’re letting your opponents play 100% perfect. Then you’re only screwing yourself, and you only get called when you’re coolered, and then you complain that you only get coolered. See where this is kind of cycling and creating a massive, ugly problem?
Keep a very, very close eye on that. Again, there’s so many tight ties between the mental side, playing bad, and the luck side that you really, really need to make sure that you’re analyzing all of them. Oftentimes one of the big things you can do here is just take a break for a little bit. Maybe take a week off, spend a lot of that week studying, really improving the mental stuff. You’re going to start getting your confidence back, which is going to help your mental side. Then as long as you just restart your next session, again, blank slate, things will probably feel and look a lot better.
Skull Duggery, hopefully this helps you the next time you find yourself in a situation where things are going against you and if nothing else, buy a luck box and rub it aggressively. One or the other, right?
Getting a bad run of cards? Lost your luck box? Learn how to deal.
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