Thursday, 3 January 2013

Playing through a downswing - my take!

I was just browsing the other blogs I follow and came across a blog post by James Atkin (link at the bottom of this post). This is a great post and I totally agree with (and understand first hand) the difficulties a poker player has in dealing with a downswing.

However one thing that wasn't mentioned was that a downswing will affect you proportionately to what the losing means.

So what do I mean by that?

OK, well lets look at 3 different examples of types of poker player.

Firstly lets take the regular professional - they rely on a monthly income from their poker. Their expectation as a winning player is that they will make a profit every month. This, realistically, isn't sustainable due to the variance inherent within their game. Losing streaks are a huge hit because they put stress on the day to day running of their lives and are probably doubly debilitating due to the fact that they come as "Unexpected".

Secondly lets look at a serious recreational player. They have a non poker related job and fund their poker playing from other earnings. They have read all the books and want to achieve something in poker but it really doesn't matter if they win or lose because their livelihood is secured.

Lastly is the, what I call, "Made it Pro". You got a a couple of books out, a few TV appearances and a sponsorship deal for many of the tournaments you enter. What you lose in an evening has probably been earned in royalties and investments in the same day.

So a downswing affects you more if you put more value on the losses incurred from the downswing.

Too simplistic?

I am sure yes because its not poker that's complicated, its the people that play it who are!

Now to the whole point I keep this blog! ... I use it to listen to others and think through my own game!

So where do I sit in the scale of downswing turmoil?

Well I am very close to my second example with the winning mentality of the first ....

except ....

I REALLY want to achieve a big win at poker but every single small loss, that can't even be explained as a downswing, is like I have lost every thing ....

even though I have been a winning player for near on 10 years short term losses stop me from continuing to push the boundaries with what I am willing to risk ....

I put all value on the winning and not the amount I have won ... which makes losing any amount more painful ...

and at the first hint of a downswing I am back down the limits faster than you can say "losing player"


So tonight (with James Atkins' post as help my blog has taught me another lesson ....

.... I need to recognise that my short term losses are not that important and I need to learn to deal with downswings so that I can push myself harder ... and who knows? ... one day ... I might be able to hit that big win I dream of!

Until next time

Keep it Tight!