Sunday, March 14, 2010

Repeated Again - WHEN LOSING, STOP PLAYING

This post is a more indepth analogy that was posted as a reply on Donkey Thrasher's blog. As mentioned many moons ago, everyone and their dog wants to be pro. Poker is not EASY MONEY, and there is no software out there that protects against bad beats and losing streaks. Ergo, study and analysis, plus learning to read opponents WITHOUT software, is very important to your game.

However, we all can't live and breath poker 24/7. Even if spending a great deal of time studying the game, you need time off. So yesterday, I did just that. No blogs, no forums. I did start out watching some Poker on TV (some old recordings of Poker After Dark), and then decided - NO - I need a break. So I just relaxed, and watched regular ole TV. The mind is much more fresh today then yesterday.

When you are on a LOSING STREAK, when you don't feel your optimal play, or A Game (because you've been on losing streak), JUST STOP PLAYING. When you feel like busting your computer, when you feel like the site is out to get you - JUST STOP PLAYING.

I've read a few blogs, seen a few shows, and previewed a few videos (most notably from PimpinDonks on SharkScope), and they advocate a different form, typical of the younger (20ish) crowd of new multi-tabling players. From the 2 Months 2 Million show (gee, wonder why they didn't make it?), and others, if you have lost money or want to fight off tilt, put in a MASSIVE NUMBER OF HANDS. Supposedly, this will correct the issue of Losing Streaks.

There are so many reasons why this Player Strategy is wrong, its hard to count (okay, let me try):

  1. It promotes a form of gambling. You have promoted your game from suffering through the ups and downs (hence, proper bankroll management), and elevated to a form of chasing money. Even if collecting Rakeback, wouldn't you rather build the bankroll up, than at the best being break even through rake back?

  2. Playing (or wanting to play) as a professional, or at least to supplement your income. No regular job expects you to go into LOCKDOWN MODE in order to catch up on work. 12+ hour stretches are not good for your health, your family, nor your bankroll. You need a life, and either believing you can shake off a Losing Streak through adding thousands of hands, or working through Tilt by continuing to play (which leads to more chasing), will deteriorate your life. Pros know this. The youngsters are still playing WOW, just another level.

  3. Your mental state: you need time off to break the streak. I learned this the hard way, when playing rush. Put in plenty of hands at different levels. Didn't leave when I had more than 4X my buy in, and lost it (on premium holdings by the way). Your goals should be to make money, not to put in X amount of hands. If you make your money in 2 hands, LEAVE the table (what you expect is dependent on what you want - but 2 to 4 times your buyin should be good). If you've lost 10% of your bankroll, definitely stop. Take a Mental Break. Analyze your play. Observe some tables. Whatever.

  4. What the old hands have to say about it - Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson, Phil Gordon, etc. I find this to be true in Live play also. If you are losing, find any excuse to get up from the table. For online play, this doesn't mean opening 20 more. It means shutting the client down. Ferguson built his bankroll by buying in with 5% of his roll, and leaving when it doubled (that's right, short stacking and ratholing). Both Phil's get up if they are losing. I lost 6 online tourneys in a row, I quit playing. REAL PROS know when to hold, fold and walk away.

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