Originally Posted by Newkid08
I've been a pro for the last 5 years. Most of which were online 100NL-600NL. But like many I had to transition to live and I'm now on roughly a $15k downswing while playing mostly 2/5 with a couple sessions of 5/10 the last two months. I'm used to big swings online but that's playing 4-6 tables. I've had nothing but second best the last two months. Flush over flush. Sets over sets. Bad beat after bad beat. I feel like I've been playing well and obviously everyone has big downswings but I'm interested how people deal with the live swings at these stakes and other peoples biggest swings.
I find that even when I'm not running well I still am able to not lose too much or win small simply by bluffing well in just the right spots. In fact, I approach the game of poker as fundamentally a bluffing contest, not a card game. I don't sit down and think: I hope I run well. I sit down and immediately focus on the players and the situations that will yield good bluffing opportunities. If I happen to run well also, it's a bonus and I get to cash out multi-racks. But routinely it means that my results usually show a win regardless of the cards. Yes, if I get coolered big 4 or 5 times I'll take a hit. But even there the hit is not going to be that dramatic if I did my job and bluffed well.
I'll go so far as to say that if you are losing over a period that extends into weeks rather than days, you are not bluffing well. Which also means you are not working hard enough at making the reads and profiling the players such that these bluffs actually work.
Small example: I was in a game on Thursday that featured a maniac sitting to my left. He raised every pot, and was aggressive into the turn, but he also played decently late in hands and could get away from bad situations. Since he was pre-flop raising so much, he became the pivot point. Light calling from the other players developed as a reaction. So everybodys ranges were opened up significantly. I decided that a good play would be to limp any two cards, let him raise, and take the flop with 3-4 players. Since he was the pivot, the flop would usually be checked, and I would get a crack at the pot before he could c-bet since I was on his right. This is almost exactly the scenario that developed over and over again. To make it extra fun, I decided to play my hand blind, since the strategy does not require cards. I would make a pot sized flop bet and the maniac routinely laid down the hand (he viewed me as tight, which I was, since I was folding a lot in anticipation of his frequent raising). And since the ranges were opened up, the other players didn't have much and folded to my apparently strong move.
I did this about once an hour and got away with it 5 times. It did not work once when someone woke up with a real hand, but the profit from this play was fantastic.
The important thing here is not my strategy, but that you have to figure out how to design a bluffing strategy for your given table and dynamics. If you do that well, you will not be crying about downswings, because you will not have them. Bluffing well does not depend on luck, it depends on your talent and ability to work hard observing and designing.
Try it. Your downswing will end this week.