Running Bad in Texas Holdem

I'm gonna help you deal with running bad. I'm not talking about a bad beat here or there or having a tough day or even week playing poker. I'm talking running bad for a month or even months of it. Impossible for a winning player? Think again, however sick this sounds it is possible to lose every hand for 500 years. Is it likely to happen? No. Is it possible? Yes !!!


Now that we know that, of course it is possible to have terrible losing streaks weeks, months and even a year or more. Unfortunately I know this first hand.

I shrink up inside when someone tries to talk about a bad beat they took on a hand after all I have been through as a pro player. I would rather listen about how they wash their socks. We've all heard bad beat stories and I'm never going to bore you with mine. Let's discuss how a pro or anyone serious about the health or their game (and their own health) deals with losing streaks instead.


How to Deal with Running Bad

First of all take a step back. Time away from the game...not only to stop from going insane but to let the dust settle and be able to calmly spot potential problems that may be present other than just a tough run of cards and find a solution.

There may be nothing wrong with your game, but only taking time off will give you the best chance to absolutely know for sure. Even if you find nothing wrong with your play the time off will will do wonders for your health, give you more stamina for future play and so on.

Just like time away from a job can do wonders for productivity, quality and safety. It's the same in the poker world. Other things to consider are there problems with the game(s) themselves, the poker room, and anything else that could possibly be causing this besides just bad runs of cards.

For example is the game selection better somewhere else? Is collusion more likely to be stopped if you play somewhere else? Are you playing at a site with resources where the games are constantly scanned and scrutinized to prevent collusion (cheaters)? If you find something wrong change what you can before playing again.


Stakes of the Game

If your bankroll has taken a hit from a losing streak move down in stakes.
(I know, it sucks to do it)There will be less pressure on you though, and generally the lower limits are easier to beat. And of course the swings will be lower.

The bigger game is not always better. Generally it goes like this more or less. These examples are purposely exaggerated to show a real problem when moving up in limits and the games are not as juicy 




Buy in: $100 

AVG. profit per hour= $10

AVG. Swings per hour: 100

How long is the worst he could likely go without showing a profit....about 250 hours

Or

Buy in: $1000

AVG. profit per hour= $10 

AVG. Swings per hour: 1000  

How long is the worst he could likely go without showing a profit....about 25,000 hours  

No that's not a misprint about 25,000 hours!




Which of the above would you rather play?

Take a quick look again at this. Notice they both have the same size swings (variance) in relation to the buy in. But, because of the lower profit(expectation) in relation to the size of the game the longer the poor run can last.

The poorer the relationship between profit and swings the longer you can run bad. The richer the relationship the easier and shorter the bad runs will be to get through.


I used to use Deposit and reload bonuses to help make up for a losing streak. It never took all the pain out of the fall but it did give at least some cushion. Especially in the middle stakes poker games.

More Help for Dealing with Downswings

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