Two Plus Two Publishing LLC Two Plus Two Publishing LLC
 

Go Back   Two Plus Two Poker Forums > >

Notices

Micro Stakes Full Ring Discussion of up to .25/.50 online no-limit pot-limit Texas hold'em full ring games, situations and strategies

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-16-2009, 09:45 PM   #1
AFchung
veteran
 
AFchung's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: UCLA
Posts: 3,076
COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing


I. Introduction
II. What is a downswing? What causes a downswing?
III. Minimizing/Shortening a downswing
IV. Dealing with and getting out of a downswing


I. Introduction

Poker is known to many people as a game of luck because so much variance is involved. They claim that you can get it in with the best hand over and over but you will still lose because poker is all luck and no skill. Nevertheless many of us at 2p2 understand that in the long run the best players, the players who make the most right decisions, come out on top.
Then there’s the rest of us:
“WTF I RUN WORSE THAN ANYONE EVER POSSIBLY COULD. POKERSTARS IS RIGGED, FTP HAS THIS DOOMSWITCH ON ME SINCE I WITHDREW.”
“ HOW DO I GET BOTTOM SET AND THE SITE GIVES HIM TOP SET”
“HOW DOES HE CALL MY COLD 4BET WITH J9s AND FLOP TWO PAIR RAWR”
Hero loses his stack in one unlucky hand, and then goes on monkey tilt and loses ten more buyins to chase his losses. Eventually he tilts off half of his roll in one sitting. Enter the downswing.

II. What is a downswing?

Over a very large sample, a winning player’s graph will look like a straight line with a positive slope. However, large samples take years for the graph to converge, and a downswing is a “small” patch of hands which give our positive line a few dips along the way. A lot of downswings are inevitable as they are just the nature of the game. KK vs AA preflop, set over set, bad beats, etc. But the difference between a marginally winning player and a crushing player is more than just the skill gap. In the end of all time, everyone gets the same amount of kings against aces, the same amount of post-flop coolers, and the allin EV and expected winnings will have overlapped. The player who crushes the game is able to accept the natural downswings with a positive or indifferent attitude, and minimize or completely avoid the player-manifested downswing, usually caused by tilt. Natural downswings will happen, but allowing it to negatively affect your play will only make the overall downswing much worse than it has to be.

III. Minimizing a downswing

So what can we do to minimize a downswing? The very first thing that comes to mind is bankroll management. You can ask around 2p2 and people will tell you that 20 buyins is a decent amount, but I disagree with this. I’ve played with 20 buyins before, and a huge problem arises: the chips still feel like money. Playing on scared money causes the player to lose the slight +EV edges because he’s scared to lose the money. Even if he doesn’t play scared, these slight +EV edges are usually high variance and a few buyins down the drain will have a huge impact on your confidence and ultimately your game, and any deviation from your A game is EV lost. When you play with say, 50-100 buyins, the money has virtually no meaning to you. It’s just numbers on a screen, and to beat this sick game you have to realize that those numbers are not money. They’re just a way to keep score.

Following up on the BRM concept, I strongly STRONGLY believe in a stop loss. A stop loss is the amount of buyins you can lose, and if you do hit that number then you end your session (personally I use a stop loss of 3 because I’m a variance-sissy). Yes, it’s frustrating to play 200 hands and want to win it back, but save the grind for another day. The tables aren’t going anywhere, the fish aren’t going anywhere, so play when you have a clear state of mind. Forcing the grind to get unstuck can lead you to make –EV plays because you’re mad, you’re trying to win it back, and you’re tilted.

IV. Dealing with and getting out of the downswing

Now that we know how to minimize the downswing, how do you deal with it? This really depends on your personality, but I’ve found a few good things to try.
  1. Play Video Games: forget about your downswing
  2. Work out/Sports: take your anger out in a positive and productive manner
  3. Socialize/Get a girl: I know some of you grinders are too busy clicking away hours on end. Take some down time and go outside and see what the sun looked like
  4. PLAY LESS TABLES: Upping your volume is not always the answer, unless your game is rock solid. Lower the table count and really squeeze the EV out of each decision. It will deepen your understanding of the game and you’ll be more aware of your leaks
  5. Just go on tilt: Nothing’s wrong with tilting it out and releasing your anger… at a 2NL table.
  6. Play a different form of poker: I suggest MTTs and PLO. When you’re sick of the swings NLHE gives you, play some MTTs and PLO and really feel what variance is. By the time you’re back to the NLHE grind, the swings feel less painful because you’re use to a sicker amount of variance
  7. Get someone to sweat you: There may be leaks in your game and having someone watch you play could open your eyes to the leaks in your game. You may realize your downswing isn’t just bad luck after all
  8. Watch poker videos/get coaching: Same concept as above. Coaching is pricey though, but with a few hours you could get your major leaks spotted and fixed

V. Conclusion


For the micro grinders and even the SSNL grinders, be thankful of the times when you hit a downswing and are struggling to get out of it. Only when times are bad does anyone try to further their knowledge about the game. If it wasn’t for my downswing at 5NL I would never find 2p2. If it wasn’t for my downswing at 25NL I would never start posting. If it wasn’t for my downswing at 100NL I would never find deuces cracked. Getting your ass handed to you at the tables is the reason a lot of poker players grow, and like all the other grinders and others who are reading this, I know your goal is to keep moving up. So embrace the cruel learning process because it’s going to happen whether you like it or not – all you can do is have a positive perspective on it.

Good luck at the tables,
AFchung
AFchung is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2009, 09:46 PM   #2
keldakel
banned
 
keldakel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: rpm affilate pm for details
Posts: 340
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

first?
keldakel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2009, 11:00 PM   #3
CliffLee
veteran
 
CliffLee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: POWER range merging
Posts: 2,971
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

Nice post, thanks.
CliffLee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2009, 11:09 PM   #4
venice10
Referee
 
venice10's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Nowhere special
Posts: 20,818
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

While I appreciate the effort, Sammy's post on downswings should be linked here. If you haven't read it, it is a classic. Sorry, I don't have it linked because it was burned in my brain. Also, the classic anthology thread has three good threads on downswings.

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/69...hreads-430489/

I think section III is really up to the person. For you, having 50-100 BIs means that you can play without scared money. That isn't the same for everyone. I'm comfortable playing with 12 BIs at a level without affecting my game. Everyone has a different level.

Finally at the micros, everyone has leaks. Bad ones. Don't talk yourself into believing that you're on a 25k hand downswing or BE stretch. You have leaks. Fix them, that's all you can do during a downswing. Get to the point that your "downswing" is only winning 2 ptBB/100 and your upswing is 8 ptBB/100. If a forum regular posted, "I've played 100k hands at 2nl and am losing, " would you really believe it is just variance?
venice10 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2009, 11:27 PM   #5
DDAWD
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 6,869
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

Quote:
Originally Posted by AFchung View Post
If it wasn’t for my downswing at 5NL I would never find 2p2.
Same here. Downswings are when I take the most effort to work on my game. After my downswing at 5NL, I found 2+2 and started crushing it. After struggling at 10NL, I started watching videos and have really improved my game. There's just so much to learn, but you never take the time to learn it when things are going well. Make sure you make the most of a bad situation.

And learning the game will rekindle your excitement for the game. I know that downswings tend to make me want to play less. After watching the stox videos, I get excited to practice what I learned and get back to action.
DDAWD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2009, 11:35 PM   #6
pokerarb
Pooh-Bah
 
pokerarb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 5,797
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

Great post.

Everyone faces downswings. I am a firm believer that handling downswings is what separates those who can play this game for the long haul and those who bust rolls.
pokerarb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2009, 12:02 AM   #7
Cry Me A River
Orange is the new Green
 
Cry Me A River's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 23,714
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

Ooooh, one of my favorite topics!

Since we're linking threads, this is a good one and includes one of my favorite posts of mine with ridiculously over the top analogies:

The Anatomy of a Downswing
Cry Me A River is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2009, 04:58 AM   #8
EN09
Pooh-Bah
 
EN09's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Buncha savages in this town.
Posts: 4,263
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

My reward for staying up late cruisin' 2p2! ty, sir.
EN09 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2009, 09:07 AM   #9
pele02
Pooh-Bah
 
pele02's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Folding the nuts to a raise
Posts: 4,531
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cry Me A River View Post
Ooooh, one of my favorite topics!

Since we're linking threads, this is a good one and includes one of my favorite posts of mine with ridiculously over the top analogies:

The Anatomy of a Downswing
Holy crap that was good (even with the baseball stuff)

This is by far my biggest leak (I think), playing one pair hands like it's the ****ing nuts or something.
pele02 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2009, 03:54 PM   #10
andyEB
old hand
 
andyEB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Miaou miaou chow chow
Posts: 1,502
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

Moving back to your "bread and butter" game (ie a game where you know you are a winner) or dropping down a limit can be very helpful too.

In my experience the main thing you need to snap out of a downswing is a little confidence and stability. Getting back to the ABCs and a game where you know you win can certainly help.
andyEB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2009, 07:55 PM   #11
DDAWD
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 6,869
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

Quote:
Originally Posted by andyEB View Post
Moving back to your "bread and butter" game (ie a game where you know you are a winner) or dropping down a limit can be very helpful too.

In my experience the main thing you need to snap out of a downswing is a little confidence and stability. Getting back to the ABCs and a game where you know you win can certainly help.
Confidence is HUGE.

Both times I moved up (2 to 5 and 5 to 10), I underwent quite a bid of bad luck on the cards and combined that with my intimidation with the higher dollar amounts as well as my expectation of stiffer competition really handcuffed my play. Both times, my bad luck vanished, I got accustomed to the higher dollar amounts, and I was able to get the mindset that I was the best player at any given table. All of those things helped me immensely.
DDAWD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2009, 02:45 AM   #12
OoLethaLoO
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
OoLethaLoO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: not up in here
Posts: 6,851
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

solid post. about the BRM thing, i personally play with 25 buyins...it seems pretty "aggressive" or whatever, but i have a system where i use 5 buyins as a sort of cushion, and a downswing at one level will never go below 5 buyins, because once i have like 19.9 buyins, i move down a level and grind it back. this works very very well for me. so basically if your disciplined and set up your own kind of BRM system, and make it work for you, then i think you will be alright. also i play lots of MTTs, so the variance at uNL doesnt really phase me anymore
OoLethaLoO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2009, 11:33 AM   #13
Chriswitteman
veteran
 
Chriswitteman's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 2,475
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

Nice post.

About downswings: it's all in your head. I recently discovered I had a 50k b/e swing somewhere from june to july, but I didn't experienced it like that.

June was a good month overall, except for the last week (15k hands). July started good, but than I had a downswing running 18 BI under AIEV. After that downswing, I made it all back, all together it was in about 35k hands.

So that's a 50k b/e swing that looks like horror, but I didn't experience it like that, because my head is programmed in months: june was good, despite the slightly bad run in the end and july was also ok despite the downswing in the middle of the month. I had no idea I was 50k b/e.
Chriswitteman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2009, 01:23 PM   #14
JulioCalzadilla
banned
 
JulioCalzadilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Posts: 812
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

nice post dude
JulioCalzadilla is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2009, 06:06 PM   #15
TheBowlBoy
adept
 
TheBowlBoy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Better than breakeven
Posts: 1,005
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

Quote:
Originally Posted by andyEB View Post
Moving back to your "bread and butter" game (ie a game where you know you are a winner) or dropping down a limit can be very helpful too.

In my experience the main thing you need to snap out of a downswing is a little confidence and stability. Getting back to the ABCs and a game where you know you win can certainly help.

I was going to bring this up as well. September started off quite ugly for me at 25NL. I couldn't get a monster hand like a set to hold up for a turn and river if my life depended on it. As a result, I started playing a lot less because of the inevitable horrible session I was going to have.

Around September 16th I realized I was making a bunch of bad plays that were contributing to my losses. I might have actually been winning at an ok rate without the spew. I decided to play some 10NL temporarily. My main goal was to not spew, and focus primarily on valuebetting. I 24 tabled 10NL for a total of 10 hours and made $200. I owned, and the money I made was significant to me. I got back to the quarter feeling refreshed and confident that I didn't need to start throwing in a bunch of fancy plays to get me through a downswing. In fact, I realized that the middle of a downswing is probably the best time to forget about bluffing altogether.

I just wish I took a trip back to the dime sooner to get me back on track. I think that the next time I have a downswing of more than 5 buyins or a break even stretch that lasts a couple of days I might give this a try again, even if its just for a couple of hours.
TheBowlBoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2009, 08:06 PM   #16
SammyG-SD
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
SammyG-SD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: The Original Bacon MVP
Posts: 12,600
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

Quote:
Originally Posted by venice10 View Post
While I appreciate the effort, Sammy's post on downswings should be linked here. If you haven't read it, it is a classic. Sorry, I don't have it linked because it was burned in my brain. Also, the classic anthology thread has three good threads on downswings.

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/69...hreads-430489/

I think section III is really up to the person. For you, having 50-100 BIs means that you can play without scared money. That isn't the same for everyone. I'm comfortable playing with 12 BIs at a level without affecting my game. Everyone has a different level.

Finally at the micros, everyone has leaks. Bad ones. Don't talk yourself into believing that you're on a 25k hand downswing or BE stretch. You have leaks. Fix them, that's all you can do during a downswing. Get to the point that your "downswing" is only winning 2 ptBB/100 and your upswing is 8 ptBB/100. If a forum regular posted, "I've played 100k hands at 2nl and am losing, " would you really believe it is just variance?
shameless self promotion:

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/78...nswing-238832/
SammyG-SD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2009, 08:46 PM   #17
venice10
Referee
 
venice10's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Nowhere special
Posts: 20,818
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

Thanks Sammy. Still in the process of going through a downswing starting in August. Needed to re-read post for inspiration.

Going to go abuse the fish at 5nl for a while.

Last edited by venice10; 11-18-2009 at 08:48 PM. Reason: And damn stop calling river bets with over pairs
venice10 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2009, 09:12 PM   #18
Chink
grinder
 
Chink's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Coal Region
Posts: 566
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

Always trying to apply these concepts to my game and mental process. Thanks for the post. Great COTW
Chink is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2009, 09:22 PM   #19
funkyj
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
funkyj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: working without a 27b/6
Posts: 6,414
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cry Me A River View Post
Ooooh, one of my favorite topics!

Since we're linking threads, this is a good one and includes one of my favorite posts of mine with ridiculously over the top analogies:

The Anatomy of a Downswing
Nice. While reading that I saw this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by CMAR
Obviously, this is a very small sample size. But that's the point. Over small sample sizes, you're going to lose several 80% favorites in a row. Of course, you could also win several 20% dogs in a row. However, if we're good players, we're hopefully seldom going to be in situations where we are big dogs. So this means that variance is more likely to effect us negatively than positively.
Is that mathematically correct? It is just as probable that we can run +2 stddevs above expectation as below it.

Your just as likely to have a long streak of winning every 80/20 all-in (e.g. winning 20 out of 20 rather than the expected 16/20) as you are to have a streak of losing 3 in a row. Of course when you win 12 80/20 situations in a row you tend not to notice, because every time you expect, as the big favorite, to win, while when you lose 3 in a row fate seems to have violated expectation.

I think this idea that good players have more negative than positive variance is a myth and it is simply the red light phenomena: Red lights make a bigger impact on our memory because they annoy us and we spend more time thinking about them as we try not to be late for our doctor's appointment.

BTW, I like that post overall. Determining the causes of our losing streak is what makes poker hard!
funkyj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2009, 10:39 PM   #20
venice10
Referee
 
venice10's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Nowhere special
Posts: 20,818
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

Quote:
Originally Posted by funkyj View Post
Is that mathematically correct? It is just as probable that we can run +2 stddevs above expectation as below it.
OMGClayAiken has written several times that making it to the top of the on-line totem pole has involved a great deal of running like the sun. That doesn't mean they are bad, but that building the BR that quickly required a lot of luck. Let's face it, if some runs really bad over a significant period at the beginning of their poker career, they're probably going to give up.
venice10 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2009, 08:33 AM   #21
CBukowski
old hand
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,844
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

I have one addition to "IV. Dealing with and getting out of the downswing". But i'm not sure where i read or heard it. So if its from one of the linked threads, excuse me for stealing your time.

If you already have taken a break or you think you don't want to take a break, then just change the appearance of your tables. Stars and Tilt and many other sites have some free mods included. And it feels like playing on another site. This hint is not only for the people who think they are doomswitched by their network, if worked well for me too. At least it helped me to tilt one cooler later, the last time i used that little trick.

I guess it has sth. to do with our unconscious mind.
CBukowski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2009, 02:12 PM   #22
Garon
veteran
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Paying off river shoves
Posts: 2,261
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

Quote:
Originally Posted by funkyj View Post
Nice. While reading that I saw this:



Is that mathematically correct? It is just as probable that we can run +2 stddevs above expectation as below it.

Your just as likely to have a long streak of winning every 80/20 all-in (e.g. winning 20 out of 20 rather than the expected 16/20) as you are to have a streak of losing 3 in a row. Of course when you win 12 80/20 situations in a row you tend not to notice, because every time you expect, as the big favorite, to win, while when you lose 3 in a row fate seems to have violated expectation.

I think this idea that good players have more negative than positive variance is a myth and it is simply the red light phenomena: Red lights make a bigger impact on our memory because they annoy us and we spend more time thinking about them as we try not to be late for our doctor's appointment.

BTW, I like that post overall. Determining the causes of our losing streak is what makes poker hard!
I'm not sure what he meant, but he may have been trying to say that as a good player you will take more badbeats than give them, simply because most of the time a good player will be getting his money in good so he has less opportunities to give a badbeat and plenty of opportunities to take one.

Garon
Garon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2009, 02:54 PM   #23
funkyj
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
funkyj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: working without a 27b/6
Posts: 6,414
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garon View Post
I'm not sure what he meant, but he may have been trying to say that as a good player you will take more badbeats than give them, simply because most of the time a good player will be getting his money in good so he has less opportunities to give a badbeat and plenty of opportunities to take one.
bad beats (i.e. winning when you are a big dog) yes, but he used mathematical language ("variance" and "likely") that has precise meaning and I think those statements, when interpreted mathematically (rather than as slang), are incorrect.
funkyj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2009, 03:07 PM   #24
KurtSF
Lucky Number Seven
 
KurtSF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: 0EV against everyone ... seriously
Posts: 16,471
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

Think of "variance" as "an outcome other than what was expected."

So if we get it in good most of the time, then "an outcome other than what is expected" is going to be a loss much more often that it will be a win.

So most likely variance is going to affect us negatively. If we're winning players.
KurtSF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2009, 03:16 PM   #25
SammyG-SD
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
SammyG-SD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: The Original Bacon MVP
Posts: 12,600
Re: COTW: How to Deal With and Get Out of a Downswing

Quote:
Originally Posted by KurtSF View Post
Think of "variance" as "an outcome other than what was expected."

So if we get it in good most of the time, then "an outcome other than what is expected" is going to be a loss much more often that it will be a win.

So most likely variance is going to affect us negatively. If we're winning players.
disagree, variance could be we win more than we should. Think about if we get it in 100 times AA vs 98s. If we win 90 times we are waaaaay ahead of where we should be, and if it was 100bb deep each time we will be running 2.6BB/100 WR higher than we should be.
SammyG-SD is offline   Reply With Quote

Reply
      

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:41 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimisation provided by DragonByte SEO v2.0.33 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2016 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright © 2008-2010, Two Plus Two Interactive
 
 
Poker Players - Streaming Live Online