What do I do during poker losing streaks?

One of the most common questions asked by starting poker players is: “I am in a bad losing streak. What can I do? My opponents play so bad and get so lucky against me!”. Because of this it becomes important to understand that large fluctuations are normal. Even a professional player can end up losing money.

Step #1 is being prepared! You must prepare yourself for the bad streaks or it can be very bad for your game once you become frustrated.

Here are some tips to help you while going through the bad times:

  • Losing streaks are a good time to reevaluate your game to try and identify areas to improve. Analyze your statistics and compare your stats to the winning players. What statistics of yours seem lower than theirs?
  • Try taking a break for a couple of days. If you expect bad things to happen you might start to adjust your play and make bad decisions. For example, you might become more passive allowing an opponent to stay in the hand and draw out on you because you didn’t bet or raise at the right time.
  • Read Zen and the Art of Poker which discusses some things to consider to help control your emotions.
  • Take advantage of deposit bonuses. These bonuses are a great way to soften the blow at the lower limit tables when bad streaks come along.
  • If you believe it might affect your concentration, avoid playing multiple tables.
  • Set a limit to how much you intend to lose in one sitting; in other words, once you reach this limit, it would be wise to quit. But don’t let this mean that you’ll quite every time you lose a certain amount in a given poker session. As long as there are weak players, it’s a good idea to stick around cause you might just beat them.
  • Never try too hard to break even. When you think like this, you’ll play a few more hands than you should and increase your possibilities of actually losing more, and since by the time this decision is made you’ll probably be tired, your play choices might not be the best.
  • When your opponents make bad calls and get lucky, think about all the money you are winning when they make those calls and don’t hit their hand. This is the reason poker is profitable as your opponents mistakes will eventually catch up with them in the long-term.