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5 Tips For Surviving a Bad Run In Poker

April 11, 2022
by Raise Your Edge

It’s easy to give poker your all when you’re winning, but how do you cope when the cards aren’t going your way?

There is a key reason why the vast majority of players will never become professionals in the game of poker, and why many fail to be profitable in the long run. Much of what makes poker so difficult is the inevitable swings and variance that you will have to overcome throughout your journey.

Here, we’ll talk about 5 things that you can do immediately to help you survive a bad run of cards in poker.

1. Take a Break

Taking a break from poker is the first thing you should consider doing when on a downswing.

Time heals all wounds, and nothing will help to reset your system like turning your focus towards something else.

Cutting out poker entirely can be difficult and even elite professional players struggle with taking a break. They may stop playing poker, but they keep talking with poker friends and studying the game by reading books and watch poker videos. Then, they’re surprised when they’re still exhausted by poker.

Sometimes you must walk away entirely and shut out poker from your life.  Taking a break for at least a week can really help. Then, when you’re ready, you can come back to the game fresh and hungry to win.

2. Find Some Good Poker Friends

This is a super important step regardless of whether you’re on a downswing or not. You absolutely need a group of peers to hold you accountable to your goals and encourage you along the way.

Who will learn faster, one player studying by themselves or ten players all growing and making mistakes together?

Joining a community like the Raise Your Edge Discord group can be a great way to meet like-minded poker players to study, learn and grow with.

Finding people who understand what you’re going through and can offer support and advice is paramount to surviving a bad run. Assemble your team and get to work.

3. Focus on Studying

Taking a break altogether from poker can be a good idea, but you can also try just taking a study break and focusing on off the table work for a while.

Watch training videos in PokerStars Learn, look over hands you’ve played with other poker players, and focus on the things that you can control. Working on areas like your mindset can be very helpful in times where nothing seems to be going right, and you can check out 3 Mindset Tips for Poker Players here.

Often, it’s easy to get so tied up with playing poker that we forget the study that allows us to perform better. Taking a week or two just for studying will also boost your confidence, your game and allow you to go back into the battle with a few extra weapons at your disposal.

4. Go Back to the Basics

If you don’t want to take a full break from playing, just tightening up your game and adopting a more straightforward strategy can have a positive impact.

Stop trying to make as many big bluffs or fancy plays and instead focus on playing a solid, fundamental poker strategy that you’re confident in.

You don’t have to stay this way forever, but going back to that foundation will give you confidence as well as helping you to avoid tilt and making massive errors. Then, when you’re ready, you can start experimenting again and let your creativity out of the box.

5. Stop Telling Bad Beat Stories

The next time you tell someone a bad beat story, just look at their eyes and watch them glaze over. No one cares, no one wants to hear it, and telling these stories is only hurting your own mindset and outlook on your poker journey.

Even if you really are running terribly, telling bad beat stories creates a false narrative that you’re one the unluckiest people in the world – a narrative that is obviously false.

Bad beat stories are a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even if you have an average session, hyper-focusing on bad beats will just put you in a negative mindset, which can lead to tilt and more bad sessions. This is a vicious cycle that you must avoid if you want to make it in poker.

The most important thing that will carry you through a bad run or a downswing is a positive attitude. You must be able to roll with the punches, accept the bad beats and suckouts and move on.

The next time you want to tell someone a bad beat story, just remember that they don’t care and that telling it will only hurt your mindset and progress in poker.

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