///Minding your Mindset: Downswings

Minding your Mindset: Downswings

Let’s start with one of the most impactful mistakes – Falling in love with your poker hand.

We all hate it; we don’t want it, but have to face it. There is no way around it; only straight ahead through it. I’m talking about the dreaded downswing

The Raise Your Edge community has been rolling out score after score lately. However, for every success there are the untold stories of those who are grinding away, getting kicked in their asses day after day and seeing that profit chart go the wrong way. Sometimes this lasts for weeks or months, but they keep true to the grind while questioning their will to keep going. No matter how big or small the downswing, the thing to remember is; no one cares.

In this article I want to share the experience I’ve gained while playing millions of poker hands. I d like to open your eyes when it comes to downswings. Don’t be mistaken, this article isn’t your normal “how to deal with downswings” write up. It is more about pulling out the momentum, being better prepared and in some way making the downswings less intense.

Falling in Love –

Let’s start with one of the most impactful mistakes – Falling in love with your poker hand.
This is very typical for beginners and even intermediate players. I am not only talking about preflop, I am also addressing what happens postflop.

When you hit a set, your heart starts beating and you already see the money going into your wallet.

People like to claim to be calm, collected and relaxed in most daily situations or not aggressive at all, but when it comes to poker they lose control of those same emotions. Very often it is not the outcome, a suckout or a bad beat that causes the tilt, the pain, the frustration or the aggression. This is often caused by the gap of having a “too high expectation”. This can apply on a macro level (i.e. “I am gonna make a ton of money in poker”) or on a micro level (i.e. “I am gonna win his entire stack with aces”).

When you hit a set, your heart starts beating and you already see the money going into your wallet. We subconsciously become much more attached to our hand and to the pot than we should be. In reality we might win the pot only 80% of the time. We should expect that we may not win the pot at all. In fact, in that moment we haven’t won anything. Nothing. Nada. Zip!
By building such a huge expectation you make yourself much more susceptible to frustration, desperation, anger and consequently for tilt.

People keep looking at the first prize money, already picturing how they are going to score big.

Next time you get dealt Aces or Kings, play the hand with no expectations and be prepared for the worst. This doesn’t mean you should be negative, but your expectation should match reality. You are going to win with Aces only 80% most of the time. So every 5th time you are going to lose, and the Poker Gods don’t distribute that evenly. Very often players miss that and when you win the entire pot, which is 100%, you are actually running over EV, as only 80% of the pot belongs to you and you begin to apply that same expectation next time.

The same applies for deep runs. People keep looking at the first prize money, already picturing how they are going to score big. Even imaging how they are going to spend all that money. Once you’ve laid that expectation in your mind, any other result will only be a let down and your focus will wane. One of my secrets of playing without pressure on final tables is that I never  know how much money I can win. Most of the payout structures are the same and once you feel confident in ICM spots, you should do the same. The benefit of playing without any pressure is very beneficial for your game, and makes it much easier to recover from an early bust out. It’s ok to know pay jumps with 2 or 3 tables to go, but on the final table, every bust out means you hit a new pay jump. You don’t need to know the numbers. If it something you are super conscious and afraid of, you may be playing too high of stakes.

Every single time you have a big hand, just picture that only 80 or 90% of the pot belongs to you and every 5th time you are going to lose, sometimes multiple times in a row.

When you are struggling with tilt, and you get easily disappointed when your big hand doesn’t hold, this advice might help you: Every single time you have a big hand, just picture that only 80 or 90% of the pot belongs to you and every 5th time you are going to lose, sometimes multiple times in a row.

Of course, this is not a cure for tilt, but it will make you more resistant to it as you have trained your mind on expectation. This can lead to less dramatic downswings as your focus recovers much quicker. In order to deploy this little hack, you need to have a high level of in game self awareness.

What it means, how to deploy it and how you can “train for it” I will cover in one of my next articles.

By | 2018-03-13T15:53:30+00:00 March 13th, 2018|

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