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Texas Hold'em A-Z: W Is When Things Go Wrong

17 August 2012

It doesn’t matter how good a poker player you may be. Sooner or later you are going to run into a losing streak. One thing is certain; a losing streak can affect us psychologically. It can wreak havoc with us emotionally, causing us to second guess and question our own abilities and our play. How you handle a losing streak will be a true test of your poker abilities.

All players at one time or another will experience a losing streak. When this happens we need to determine if the losing was brought about by bad play on our part or just on a negative fluctuation in the luck of the draw. When you start losing, the first thing to do is to look at your game very thoroughly.

If the losing streak is being caused by bad play you need to determine why and then take action to correct the situation. There are several things you should ask yourself. Did you loosen your standards for starting hands? Are you misreading the board? Are you playing too loose or too aggressively? Did you move up in limits? Are you playing too long? Are you multitasking while playing online?

COMMON PROBLEMS

Many players going through a losing streak may find that they have loosened their standards for starting hands. They have had great success and many winning sessions and soon they think they are invincible. You start entering the pot by playing hands out of position. You tend to take more chances and end up playing too many hands.

It’s common for players to move up in limits as they become more proficient. Many times when you move up you will encounter players that are more skilled. If you find that your losing streak started when you moved up you may want to drop back down to a lower limit. It’s much better to be a winning player in a low limit game than a losing player at the higher limit. Even if your losing streak is not being caused by bad play you may want to drop down in limits until you run of bad cards is over.

I play a lot of Sit & Go tournaments online. After coming into the money 16 out of 20 tournaments I went into a losing streak and went 0 for 15. I finally moved down in the limits just to preserve my bankroll until the losing streak ended and I started winning again.

Players on a losing streak may find that they have been playing more aggressively. They may be raising more or just bluffing more to try and bully their opponents. In reality they are just throwing away money and compounding their own losses.

One of the biggest problems with playing online is that there are so many other things you can do while you play. Taking on the phone, watching TV, answering e-mail or reading a magazine while you play can be the cause of your losing streak. Making mental errors such as misreading the board or not noticing that the guy who just raised you has only played three hands in that last hour will contribute to your losing. You have to give the game your full attention.

Playing too long may also be a factor in your losing sessions. When you play too long you lose concentration or can even get bored and find yourself not giving the game your full attention. If you have been losing after playing marathon sessions then cut back the amount of time you play.

BAD LUCK

If you can honestly say that you have not been making any of the mistakes above, then it may be that you were just suffering a string of bad luck. If your losses are being caused by a bad run of the cards, then it's time to batten down the hatches and weather the storm. One thing you can do to combat a losing streak is to tighten up your game a little more. Play only the very best hands and forgo some of the drawing hands that you might have been playing.

There is nothing worse than finding yourself with second best hand time after time. We’ve all been there when small sets are beaten by larger sets, straights are beaten by flushes and flushes are beaten by full houses. It’s ugly but it does happen to everyone from time to time.

STICK WITH THE GAME PLAN

One thing you don’t want to do is make any radical changes in your play. When we get into a losing streak we sometimes start playing differently. We tend to second guess some of our play. A player who has had success playing aggressively may become timid and start calling instead of raising. You may hesitate making a play for fear of losing. You can’t forsake your winning strategy to compensate for a run of bad cards.

Some players will go on tilt during a long losing streak. This will only add to your problems. If you so find yourself playing differently or starting to play recklessly then it might be best to just take a few days, or weeks off and get away from the game for awhile.

Everyone will experience bad luck from time to time. A winning player will take it in stride and come out stronger in the end. It is after all just a part of this wonderful game we call Poker.

Until Next time remember:
Luck comes and goes.....Knowledge Stays Forever.
Bill Burton
Bill Burton is a gambling expert and best-selling author of Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em and 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets. He is the former Casino Gambling columnist for About.com.

Burton's Texas Holdem book was published in 2002 long before the game became a national phenomenon. The producers of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown used his book during the first season to teach the game to the participants.

He writes for several national gaming magazines and newsletters. These publications include: Casino Player, Strictly Slots, The Southern California Gaming Guide, Midwest Gaming and Travel magazine, Southern Gaming and Destinations magazine, Midwest Player and Blackjack Insider.

Burton is an instructor for the Golden Touch Craps dice control seminars teaching players how to gain the advantage in craps. He is an expert at all casino games and can teach players how to play any casino game as well as offering them advice to get the most out of their casino visits.

Bill Burton Websites:

www.billburton.com
www.goldentouchcraps.com

Books by Bill Burton:

1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets

> More Books By Bill Burton

Bill Burton
Bill Burton is a gambling expert and best-selling author of Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em and 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets. He is the former Casino Gambling columnist for About.com.

Burton's Texas Holdem book was published in 2002 long before the game became a national phenomenon. The producers of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown used his book during the first season to teach the game to the participants.

He writes for several national gaming magazines and newsletters. These publications include: Casino Player, Strictly Slots, The Southern California Gaming Guide, Midwest Gaming and Travel magazine, Southern Gaming and Destinations magazine, Midwest Player and Blackjack Insider.

Burton is an instructor for the Golden Touch Craps dice control seminars teaching players how to gain the advantage in craps. He is an expert at all casino games and can teach players how to play any casino game as well as offering them advice to get the most out of their casino visits.

Bill Burton Websites:

www.billburton.com
www.goldentouchcraps.com

Books by Bill Burton:

> More Books By Bill Burton