It happens to all poker players. It does not matter how good of a player you are or how much you win, variance will catch up and a downswing will come. Anyone can look like a pro when they are running good. Successful poker players figure out what to do when bad variance strikes them. The way downswings are handled can mean the difference between a long term winner and loser.
Downswings usually start with a few bad beats. Removing the bad beats from your mind is the first way to deal with a downswing. You have to clear your mind and play each hand independently from another. If you fail to do so, then a few bad beats can become a nasty downswing.
The first thing that you need to do when a downswing hits is evaluate your bankroll. If you were properly bankrolled for your limit then a short downswing should not force you to move down in limits. If you were playing above your bankroll then the first thing that you should do is go down the limit that supports your bankroll. For limit games you need 300 big blinds. For no limit you will need 40 max buyins for your limit. Tournament players need no fewer than 50 entry fees. If you fall below this then you need to drop down before your downswing becomes a complete wipeout of your bankroll.
A long term downswing might expose some holes in your game. If that happens then you should look into finding some good poker books to read that cover your game. Two Plus Two Publishing is a good place to start when looking for poker books to read. There are also good strategy forums there to read for every game imaginable.
Coaching websites are also a great way to improve your game. One of the most popular coaching sites is Drag the Bar. There are several poker rooms offered by RakeTracker that give away free coaching subscriptions to Drag the Bar and players that rake $500 in a month will qualify for a free month of Deuces Cracked.
If poker has started to affect your emotions then it is time to get away from poker for a while. If you are in your head too much about what is going wrong then you are probably not in the right state of mind to get back on the right track. Go out and get some exercise. Find some friends to go out to a bar or sporting event or do some work around the house like spring cleaning or home improvement. If you enjoy playing card games without playing for real money there are many games such as spades, hearts or cribbage to play on sites like Yahoo. You can also go play some micro limits or play money games and try to bad beat other players. I find this to be especially satisfying. Do anything that can get you out of the grind and free your mind.
Believe it or not, there was a time in online poker’s history that there was no such thing as rakeback. When the seeds of Rake Tracker were first planted in 2003 almost all poker rewards came in the form of bonuses. Soon players wanted more. The RakeTracker business first started small, offering rakeback to players on a one-on-one basis and through referrals.
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All live and online card rooms take “rake” and “tournament fees” to run and operate their games. The amount of rake or fees taken will vary by game type and stake levels, but will generally be 5% of each pot for ring games and around 10% of the buy-in for tournaments.
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