Forums Forums (
-   Poker Stories (
-   -   Dealing with the downswings... (

kyo3030 May 08, 2009 11:05am

Dealing with the downswings...
This is getting pretty rough. Well, at least for me. I've been making money pretty consistently live for the last few months. In the last two weeks, however, playing $1-2/1-3 ring games, lost about a grand. I know, I know, that's only ~5 buyins. The problem is that they've all been in a row. Last seven sessions have been losing, and I can't help but begin to question my game.

I've been playing with the majority of these guys over the past few months and know their play pretty well. I'd really like to blame it on bad luck so I can keep pushing on, however, it seems kind of like a cop out at this point. Not winning a dime, or even breaking even in two weeks is starting to hurt.

I'm on a mini-break right now, and hopefully that will help. However, I'm really wondering if I should shake up my game a little or not. Since I've been winning with it over the past few months, I'd like to think it's working; however, perhaps the regulars have simply caught on? Maybe I'm getting to easy to exploit? It's just getting really hard to judge whether or not I've been getting unlucky or outplayed.

So I guess the point of this post (besides whining :oops: ) is to ask: how do you guys deal with your dowswings?

TWLLM May 08, 2009 11:44am

Obviously the only correct solution to this is to start acting drunk and obnoxious at your regular game. That will completely change how people play against you, making it rain for you again. :P


SwoopAE May 08, 2009 12:43pm

The problem with live poker is you're seeing 20-30 hands/hr so it takes months to meet your weekly expectation (by online standards) and years to meet your monthly and a lifetime to meet your yearly expectation. Because of this, you need to be a MASSIVE bankroll nit if you're going to play live for anything other than entertainment or shot-taking purposes. For example in Vegas, i'm going there expecting to lose half of my bankroll over the month a high percentage of the time and i'm considering it taking a shot. I wouldn't do it under normal circumstances with my bankroll, although i'm overrolled for the stakes I play online for the most part so I figure taking a shot doesn't really hurt me. If I needed the money to live, I wouldn't be playing live donkaments.

If I was trying to grind out a living playing live I wouldn't want to be playing even cash games with less than 30-50 buyins for my stakes. Yes, that means a minimum of 6k or so for 1/2NL. Bottom line is, most people simply aren't rolled for the games they're playing. Variance and rake are a bitch. I tried grinding 2/5 live for a while, the hourly rate just blows after rake here in Australia and would only be slightly better in the US

Bottom line is your sample size is almost certainly way too small to know whether you have leaks or you're just experiencing variance. Post some key hands maybe?

kyo3030 May 10, 2009 6:55am

Thanks for the spot-on advice, TWLLM :wink:


The problem with live poker is you're seeing 20-30 hands/hr so it takes months to meet your weekly expectation (by online standards) and years to meet your monthly and a lifetime to meet your yearly expectation.
I don't really consider that to be true. Maybe I'm crazy but something like $.25-.50 online to me is much more difficult than $1-2 live, and in my very little experience with it, $3-5 wasn't much harder. The game was just about the same, many of the players were the same, and the only real difference I saw was that I needed more money than I had to continue playing it. If I was rolled for it I probably wouldn't even bother playing $1-2.

I have no idea if the trend holds up as you climb the limits, but what I do know is, at least where I play, is the live guys get frustrated and bored very easily and aren't too hard to take advantage of. Online, since people are playing games that move 4x as fast and multitabling, that inherent advantage isn't there. Plus, in my experience I'm breakeven/losing online and can't multi-table anyway so I'm sticking to live :P

Anyway, most of the key losses have been suckouts-- a week ago at $1-3 NL I had :kh :ks second to act, I raise to $15, button calls with :td:Qd. Flop comes down :kd:qh:5d, I raise again, he reraises, I go all in, he calls. Obviously, he rivers the flush.

The problem is, there haven't been many key hands that were big winners-- I played last night, and the few times I was dealt premiums, I got no action. The regulars knows I play tight aggressive, and I typically use that to my advantage by playing my draws and missed hands like I made them, or occasionally slowplaying when I do make them. This has worked very well for me in the past. In the past few weeks though, absolutely nothing has come together.

I guess I'm trying to convince myself that's its just been bad luck in this post :redface: But the original question of how to deal with it remains; assuming it's bad luck, is taking a break and trying to get some more money together to get overrolled the only solution here?

SwoopAE May 10, 2009 6:24pm


Originally Posted by kyo3030 (Post 792530)
assuming it's bad luck, is taking a break and trying to get some more money together to get overrolled the only solution here?


I agree that 200NL live plays like 25NL online and 500NL live plays like 50NL online, but because you're seeing 20hands/hr you WILL go through downswings if you play underrolled because it takes much longer for your true edge to come into play. Obviously you'll have huge upswings too, but like any cash game, a 10BI downswing is quite possible. So don't play underolled unless it's entertainment money.

I've passed on 5/T and T/20NL live tables with awful fish simply because i'm not rolled to play that high. Don't play out of your roll or you will go broke eventually. I went through a downswing last year in MTTs for about 300-400 ABI that would have crippled me but i'm a bankroll nit so I survived to play (and win) another day. You should do the same (only i'd say 20-30BI is enough for live cash with a smallish risk of ruin, 50BI+ and you're fine if you're profitable; but if you're playing with a 5-10BI bankroll, you're going to go broke a lot)

kyo3030 May 11, 2009 9:11am

Thanks for the advice Swoop, makes a lot of sense. Kinda wondering what I should do now. To just save up that kind of money from my job would take a looong time.

It's also been a while since I've played online seriously--fir maybe this whole year I kind of played with the attitude of "I'm only playing this cause I don't have the time to play live today." Each time I deposited. I always just put around $100 in there and acted like that was my might be worth it to just drop $500 in there and play $25 NL with a legitimate bankroll. That's only 2 1/2 buyins for live anyway. Add a good reload bonus and it sounds more than worth a shot. Hmmm....:idea:

SwoopAE May 11, 2009 10:18pm

Well you can continue to play live and be +EV but the variance will make or break you if you play underolled.

Emphasis on the variance will make or break you.

Yes, you're a winner in the game but not by a large enough margin to overcome variance and have no risk of ruin if you're only playing with 5BI or whatever.

I'm not saying it can't be done, what i'm saying is you will have a moderately high risk of ruin if you're playing with very few buyins and you have to be prepared for the possibility that an idiot with top pair makes a runner runner flush against your set for a 4BI pot to send you broke.

Of course you could go on a sick heater and win 20BI and be well rolled; but don't take that as an indication you can always play underrolled at 2/5 or 5/T or whatever and move up because you're just experiencing the good kind of variance. Yes, you're beating the games, but if you want a very low risk of ruin, you shouldn't be looking to move up until you're well rolled (20BI for the level you want to move up to and you have to be prepared to move back down if need be) and you have been beating the level below for a solid winrate over a sample of at least 10k hands (@25h/h thats at least 400 hours of live play)

All times are GMT. The time now is 4:46pm.

vBulletin 3.7.4 Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.