Bouncing Back from My Biggest Downswing

Man, variance is a bitch. I started out this week continuing last week’s downswing, losing almost $1200 over my first two sessions. After this, I began to seriously question my game and whether or not making it as a professional was something I really wanted to do, and if I was even capable of it. I feel kind of like a baby writing that, but a 10+ buy-in downswing was not something I’ve ever experienced (in LLSNL) and while I know it was largely a result of negative variance, it still hurt a lot. Needless to say, it was a rough 10-12 days and the losses were certainly affecting me emotionally both at and away from the table. It sucks, because as a poker player I know that I should try to detach my emotions from my results. But, as you all know, I’m a very competitive person and I just don’t deal well with losing in general. This is definitely something I’m going to need to work on in order to not go crazy the next time I hit a downswing.

After those sessions, I began rereading The Mental Game of Poker which helped a good bit. I really like the inchworm analogy Tendler uses. He compares the progress we make in our poker/mental game to the way an inchworm walks. When we reach a new level of skill in poker, our A-game (the front end of the worm) moves forward, which widens the overall range between our F and A games. The most efficient way to continue to move forward is to focus on the improving our F-game (moving the back end of the worm forward) which in turn narrows the gap between our F and A games and move us closer to a state Tendler refers to as “unconscious competence,” where we’re able to play our A-game (or close to it) without even thinking. I definitely recommend it to anyone who feels they may have some weaknesses in their mental game.

After taking two days off from playing entirely, I was fortunate enough to book 3 winning sessions later in the week, which brought me into the black for a weekly profit of $1,009. It felt great to get out of that downswing and definitely brought a bit of my confidence back, although I will say I still feel a bit shaken up. I plan on continuing to review parts of TMGOP and focusing hard on reaching my running and meditation goals in the next few weeks.

With regards to my studying of the non-mental game aspects of poker, I recently subscribed to RunItOnce which will likely serve as my main study material for the next month or so. So far, while it has been interesting and very educational, I feel the material they cover is way more useful for beating online poker and playing in a very balanced and unexploitable way. While it’s not crucial to have a grasp of these sorts of things when playing LLSNL, I do think it will help me down the road when I move up in stakes.

I’m going to leave it at that for now. I’ve had a pretty long and stressful week. The downswing along with a death in the family has got me feeling a little unmotivated to write more, but I will talk to you all next week. Peace, and thanks for reading.