Downswings are hurtful no matter which format of poker you decide to play. In poker tournaments though, downswings are more common because of the increased number of players participating in them, causing the variance to go up.
Tournaments are a vital part of the poker game & have seen some renowned players build their careers out both online & offline poker. But there are times when things are not going your way when downswings start to affect your poker bankroll & playing in tournaments becomes the stuff of nightmares.
If you are going through such a downswing in poker & winning feels impossible, there are some rational thinking patterns you must follow. Here is how you can help yourself in a situation where you are stuck with continuous downswings:
- Keeping a steady bankroll
One of the most common mistakes made by a tournament player is buying into tournaments not fitting their bankroll. There should always be scope for you to recover from any sort of downswing in a poker tournament. The variance in a multi-table tournament is huge, hence your bankroll needs to be able to sustain the 100+ buy-in poker downsizing.
The unwritten rule is to have more than 300 buy-ins for the stakes you are playing. This number is not stagnant though & is subject to change depending on the structure & format of the tournament. It is hence important to keep your bankroll heavy and steady while entering a tournament.
- Playing high stakes isn’t always wise
As your poker game grows, so does your ego. Some players brag about playing only in high stake games. This although becomes problematic for them when they go through downswings.
No matter how much you hate it, moving down on stakes after you face downswings is a smart & safe move. This is done to make sure you do not go broke. There are numerous examples of professional players going broke because they refused to move down in stakes. Be wise & do not end up like them.
- Temper Your Expectations
Have low expectations & you will not be as affected by the downsizing when it occurs. This is a general life rule applied in poker tournaments as well. If you tend to expect huge profits from a poker tournament, your results, even if they are favourable, will not make you happy.
There are a lot of people who sit to play a tournament & there is no way you can win every tournament, or even cash-in every tournament. You are going to lose more often than you win. So it is always suggested to be realistic with your expectations & do not hope to win all the tournaments you participate in. The winnings in a tournament are big but also rare. Always keep that in mind before entering into one.
4) Take a Look at Your Game
Downswings in poker are inevitable & this is something you should be well aware of. The longer they stay though, the more they have on your game. It is human nature to think of yourselves as being more skilful & a better player than we are.
Downswings are a reality check to you & are an opportunity to look into your game & analyze how & where you might be going wrong. Make sure you are playing your best game & not making any rookie mistakes.
Downswings often force you towards a tilt which eventually leads to bad gameplay no matter how good your poker hands rankings are. Keep a check of your game, your strategy & all the basics. And if all these seem okay, you might just be unlucky. But remember, fortune favours the brave, so do not give up on your hopes with one or two bad tournament results.
Study the game
The root cause of downswings is variance in most cases. But it does not mean you blame the luck & do nothing about it. Knowing more about the game, studying all aspects of a poker tournament is necessary.
Double-checking your moves & playing slow is nothing to be ashamed of. If you can find room to improve your game by playing slow, so be it. Spending time on studying the game rather than playing it leads you to a deeper understanding of the game.
So the next time you decide to participate in an online poker tournament, do not let downswings trouble you. Know that they are an inevitable part of the game & that rising above them is what is going to make you a successful poker player.
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