“I can’t remember the last time I won a flip.”
“It’s so insane, I get it in good every time!”
“I’m literally the unluckiest player in the world.”
Sound familiar? I can’t lie, I myself might as well have coined these terms for the amount of times I’ve used them. It can sometimes feel like the world is just against you. Like there is something out there that literally doesn't want you to succeed in poker. You feel as if you constantly get the money in good, only for your opponent to suck-out and snatch your victory from you. Apart from the delusion of ‘selective memory’, they call it running bad, and it’s something that happens to every poker player at some stage no matter who you are, how good you are, or how much you play. The cards don’t care, and the game owes you nothing. It’s important to remember that, but how can we combat it?
There's little you can do prevent bad luck coming. It’s going to hit you at some stage and you have no control over when it does, or how often it lasts. We know there is no preventing it, so it all hinges on how you take it. Accepting that reality is the biggest obstacle preventing you from remaining at your best.
Keep Calm and Carry on Winning
Controlling your emotions isn’t always easy, but if you want to be a profitable poker player then you need to find a way of doing it. Some people use meditation before and/or after sessions to clear their mind and calm themselves, some people exercise or go to the gym and some people using calming music whilst they’re playing. Especially if you’re an online player, losing your cool whilst you’ve got eight tables on the go only spells one word – disaster.
Mind Over Matter
Understanding your own cognitive patterns may not sound like the best way to win a poker tournament when it's other players that you'll have to beat. However, getting to the bottom of what motivates you, controls your actions and guides you emotionally is a crucial element of poker. Jared Tendler's hugely-popular books The Mental Game of Poker and The Mental Game of Poker 2 are just a couple of the books out there that are able to help you develop this understanding of your game
I’ve always naively employed the philosophy that I can’t possibly run bad both online and live, so if I’m not finding any luck at the tables online I’ll take some time away to head out to Dusk Till Dawn and play live. This is by no means set in stone, but if anything, it reduces your volume which is never a bad thing if you’re running bad.
Play Less, Study More
It’s easy to think that because you’re losing, you’re running bad. Poker is a very ego-based game and most people think they play their hands perfectly every time, and losing flips is just variance or running bad. Take some time off to review your hand histories, go through your hands and even get opinions off other players. Everybody wants to give their two cents in poker, so use it to your advantage. You might find some subtle changes to your strategy go a long way. Don’t just assume that you’re losing because you’re unlucky.
Play Different Games
Sometimes I like to jump into low stakes PLO games for a change, to take a break from No Limit Hold'em. It can be refreshing because I’m not as comfortable in my knowledge of the game. I will play much tighter and it never hurts to learn another variation of poker!
Take a Break
If all else fails, sometimes you just need to refresh your mind and take a couple of weeks away from the tables. Some people like to go cold turkey and stay away from anything poker-related during this time, and some people like to just study without playing. Though if you’re abstaining from the game totally, bear in mind you will be rusty when you come back. The game is constantly evolving, and it takes work to keep up.
Get Some Advice
Whilst there is a light-hearted element to this article, the serious reality is that the world of gambling can be a cruel and unforgiving place. We want you to enjoy your time playing poker, as after all that's the point of playing! Keep in mind that losing streaks often perpetuate further gambling, you'll all have heard of "chasing your losses" before and it really is the worst thing you can do. There are plenty of resources online that can help you if you feel a problem developing, such as www.begambleaware.org.uk, www.gamcare.org.uk and www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk.
Don't forget you can always talk to family and friends as well.
There are also some handy tools in the partypoker software, to help you control your spending limits, and how long you can play for.
To adjust these, simply click the downwards arrow next to your screen name, and select 'My Account'. From there, click 'My Details' and then navigate to 'Responsible Gaming'.
From here you can set deposit limits and session time limits.
Lastly, please gamble responsibly, and if the fun stops, STOP!
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- Becky Levers
- Armin Voss
- Anatolii Khokhlachev
- Cornelia Windberg
- Dmitriy Smarakov
- Paul Seaton