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  #1  
Old 12-29-2005, 04:56 AM
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Default I forgot how to play poker.

I've been on quite a downswing lately. That's not the problem though. I've been playing poker for two years, and making a living at it for the last 6-8 months. I've had plenty of downswings, and they've never bothered me mentally until now.

It's not that I'm frustrated about bad beats or losing money. It's that I don't know if I'm playing well. I click the buttons on autopilot without really knowing if it was the right way to play the hand.

I just went to the SSLH forum and read the first page of hand posts. I honestly had no idea what I would have or should have done in any of the hands posted. Usually, I can reply being fairly confident about what the correct play would be, and most people agree with me.

I still want to play poker every day, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to lose every session. I don't know what to do. Take a break? Move down in limits? I kinda feel like pulling a Dave Chappelle and running away and checking into a mental institution.
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  #2  
Old 12-29-2005, 06:16 AM
captZEEbo1 captZEEbo1 is offline
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Default Re: I forgot how to play poker.

Move down in limits....always the safest way....if you are indeed playing poorly you will lose money at a much slower rate. If you're just on a downswing, it'll be easier to start booking some wins (albeit less than usual) since lower limits generally = less sophisticated players. Either way you will likely start making money again at the lower limit and rebuild much needed confidence.

Edit: Most players that go broke, go broke b/c they KNOW they can beat a certain limit (possibly b/c they started out running hot there) before they donate back their entire roll. I play no limit and have a safeguard policy: If I lose 2 days in a row, I move down in limits and continue moving down until I can win again. This way I will never ever go broke (b/c eventually I'll hit $10NL and it'd take a long to go bust at those stakes). Just if you are playing on long-term tilt, you won't get hurt extra bad each day you play like that.
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  #3  
Old 12-29-2005, 07:32 AM
Pog0 Pog0 is offline
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Default Re: I forgot how to play poker.

[ QUOTE ]
play no limit and have a safeguard policy: If I lose 2 days in a row, I move down in limits and continue moving down until I can win again.

[/ QUOTE ]

Is this a psychological thing or a bankroll requirement thing? Because if it's just psychological, you are giving up a lot of potential profit by doubting your skills every so often.
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  #4  
Old 12-29-2005, 08:58 AM
Exsubmariner Exsubmariner is offline
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Default Re: I forgot how to play poker.

Ron,
My advice, which prolly means about as much as a Party VIP offer, is to slow down a little. Don't quit. But slow down. Play less tables at once. If you can, find a small site and sit in a game without the aid of PT & GT or PA. Simply go by time played and amount won/lost. Focus in on your opponents as individuals, not as profiled collections of numbers. Watch them play other players. Watch how the play you.

Moving down in limits is good, but it will not necessarily help.

I had a stall out for a long time myself. I was winning, but at a low rate. I discovered that my wooden way of playing was exploitable by even some of the very worst players given certain conditions. Then I got to thinking about how I should compensate for those weaknesses in my game and if I could not totally protect myself against them, at least minimize them. Then that got me thinking about how to exploit weaknesses in other players. I now play at a much higher level for a much higher win rate.

FWIW I hope this helps.
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  #5  
Old 12-29-2005, 11:12 AM
Bluffoon Bluffoon is offline
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Posts: 184
Default Re: I forgot how to play poker.

I had an extended bad run recently and I felt alot of the things you are describing. I felt lost and like I didn't know how to play poker anymore. (and wondered if I ever did)

Ultimately I decided to do that internet challenge thing where you start out at .5/1 and everytime you win 50 BB's you move up a limit and everytime you lose 25BB's you move down. I also limited myself to two tables at a time and focused on really thinking about each and every decision and not autopiloting anything.

I found it helpful in a couple of ways. First I was able to evaluate and fix my game (which definitely had suffered) without having to worry about winning or losing.

Playing against players of different abilities also challenged me to focus more on making adjustments based on game conditions (something I had probably been too relaxed about when playing in the same games all the time).

It also helped my confidence to run over tables and dominate games full of relatively weak players.

By the time I got back to the limits I was used to playing (which didn't take long at all) I had plugged some leaks, become more flexible and had my confidence back.

It's worth a shot.
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  #6  
Old 12-29-2005, 11:34 AM
SNOWBALL138 SNOWBALL138 is offline
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Location: LA
Posts: 518
Default Re: I forgot how to play poker.

I think you've answered your own question. There are some days where I can't think about poker seriously. Thats when I surf the net or go out and meet up with some friends. Playing on days like that is terrible. Multitabling on days like that is a disaster.

If you are going to play, try to rev yourself up with some good posts on the forum or read some hand quizzes from a good poker book. If that doesn't work, just say "Fuggit" and don't play.
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  #7  
Old 12-29-2005, 12:30 PM
captZEEbo1 captZEEbo1 is offline
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Posts: 264
Default Re: I forgot how to play poker.

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
play no limit and have a safeguard policy: If I lose 2 days in a row, I move down in limits and continue moving down until I can win again.

[/ QUOTE ]

Is this a psychological thing or a bankroll requirement thing? Because if it's just psychological, you are giving up a lot of potential profit by doubting your skills every so often.

[/ QUOTE ]FWIW, Kristy Gazes had a similar concept in the recent full tilt article:
http://www.fulltiltpoker.com/proLessons.php?lesson=41

Furthermore, I really highly doubt I'm giving up much EV by moving down limits when I'm playing bad and moving up limits when I'm playing good. Also my policy isn't written in stone either. If I sense I'm playing bad, then get up and come back and still think I'm playing bad in the same day, I'll move down limits. Furthermore, it's super rare I have two losing days in a row (only twice over past 6 months of daily play since I started keeping track).
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  #8  
Old 12-29-2005, 01:11 PM
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Default Re: I forgot how to play poker.

My advice?

Drop down to $1/2, whore a few bonuses, and work on plugging your leaks.

Reread any books you've found helpful.

Spend some time 1-tabling with no distractions and PT turned off. Actually watch every hand and try to read your opponents.
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  #9  
Old 12-29-2005, 03:31 PM
Dan Mezick Dan Mezick is offline
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Default Re: I forgot how to play poker.

Sizing bets per trade, as a function of portfolio equity size, is a very common risk control policy and practice used by almost all traders.

Trading and poker are both games where you are supposed to cut losses-- and let winners ride.

If you dont decrease your size when you are losing, you are asking for quite a bit more psychological stress than you may be currently experiencing.

Increasing size as equity grows is the rewarding flip side of following this type of risk-management rule.
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  #10  
Old 12-29-2005, 03:47 PM
Lash Lash is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 5
Default Re: I forgot how to play poker.

[ QUOTE ]
It's not that I'm frustrated about bad beats or losing money. It's that I don't know if I'm playing well.

[/ QUOTE ]

I usually question my game when a specific situation consistently confuses me. I’m especially vulnerable to self-doubt when a confusing situation repeats itself relentlessly in a short time frame.

Two things can put confidence back in your game:
1) Luck – you run good for a while
2) Effort on your part

It’s nice to get lucky, but if you actually want to get to the bottom of the question “am I playing well?” and get some confidence back in your game it takes a lot of hard work and honest self-evaluation.

Some ideas in the hard work department:
-Post hands with specific questions. When you find yourself in doubt while playing, write down the situation or hand number. Later on, pick the top 2 or 3 most confusing situations / hands you have on your list and post them.
-Reply to posted hands when you think you know the answer – reinforce the good decisions you are already making, or possibly discover leaks you didn’t even know you had.
-Study – books, strategy posts
-Discuss situations / strategy with friends
-List goes on and on…

If you are not prepared to put in the hard work at the moment for whatever reason - there are still options…take a break, move down limits, get a part time job – I think these options are all workable and I’ve tried them all with varying degrees of success. Then just come back to poker when you are ready.
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