In this episode I talk about going through one of the biggest downswings of my poker career. I also give tips and advice on how to get through them.

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Brad Owen
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26 Replies to “Dealing w/Poker Downswings: My Story And Advice”

  1. This downswing I’m on right now is insane literally seems like I can’t hit a hand right now lol. Before this past month I’ve been profitable just a tiny bit mainly because I like to play big variance. But this past month has been brutal I’ve been changing my game and trying to take a lot of the variance out of it but it’s still killing me. Every hand seems to kill me I’ve had pocket kings like 15 times in this downswing and been cracked everytime. I only play 1/2 and one of the time was a 1600 dollar pot preflop vs 88 against a player that was insanely drunk and just kept getting lucky all night vs everyone… I’ve decided that I’m gonna take a few month break, I play poker for fun and at this point it’s not even fun anymore which is why I’m taking the break.

  2. Hey Brad, I know this is an old video. But I just re-discovered poker after quitting after black friday (with the exception of some rec play once every few years when I am in Vegas). I had been excited about how the game has evolved and had been playing fairly solid since coming back to take poker seriously as a side income, while continuing to learn bet sizing and hand ranges, etc. The problem is, I’ve started my new poker journey literally on a downswing. I had been making good plays, bkuffing in the right spots, but seems like almost every-time I finally got a real hand and my money in good while ahead, only to get coolered by set over set on a dry board, sucked out on or rivered, or runner runnered and down about 5 buyins so far. I started in lower 1/2 stakes but the run bad definitely had hit me, especially when I looked at the plays where I got stacked, and the bulk of them are suckouts when our money is all in. This video was really helpful. I’ve taken a break after reloading my account online to have an opportunity to learn more and hone skills while I am away from live play, and eventually will have live sessions, but it is tough when you get your money in good as a huge favorite over and over and keep getting drawn out on 2 or 3 outers. One of the toughest was KK vs AQ all in pre, only for my opponent to spike the Ace on the flop, this happened twice in the same weekend. I was able to grind back to even, only to get into similar spots, money in good, only to get drawn out by the fish…it happens. I love the short sessions idea, something I am bad at (When I get stuck, I end up playing too many hours). I am using that off time to study more when I am taking a break. But 5 straight buyins out of a 20 buyin bankroll definitely can fuck with your mind and play when the downswing is there from the get go. I do like that you said, don’t play higher. Something that has both helped and fucked me up. I am going to stay at this level until I get some consistency. Love your videos, and thanks for teaching mindset

  3. The shitty thing about downswings is that it causes u to play bad . All of a sudden calling with 6 3 of clubs from the small blind sounds like a good idea when the person who stacked u raises pre

  4. Agree 100% with everything you said and found I do most of the same during a down swing. Especially playing bigger and playing wider. You never know when variance will end, I moved up to a larger game and got stacked with AA vs KK, so just amplified my loss not a great feeling.

    I’m just starting back at poker, only have a 3k hand sample right now. How large of a sample do you need? I have heard 10k hands before, does that sound right?

    Keep up the good work, enjoy watching you play a different levels. Did you see a big change in player level from 1/3 (or 1/2) to 2/5?

  5. 6 buy in swing once a year 😂 Run better Brad 😂 I can run KK into AA and have sets, straights and straight flush draws crushed in a single live session and that happens for a few days every fortnight 😂

  6. i'm on a 30buyin downswing and have been getting extremely unlucky by donkeys on pokerstars. what to do? im to the point now where i truly believe my account was red flagged a few years ago for saying some offensive things in the comments and i was banned from comments for a short period. i tried to stay away during the pandemic but last month i decided to try and give online poker a go again and have 100buyins aside for 5c/10c.

    as usual on pokerstars, i've noticed for many years, that whenever i deposit money i go on a sharp upswing online to go on a severe downswing, even out, and proceed to get coolered out the rest of the way. this has been happening again. in the past month and a bit i've played 40k hands and am now down 30 buyins. i put in 10 buyins and it happened. deposit another 10 buyins and it happened again. rinse repeat.

    i lose all in pot like no tomorrow. i do well live 1-3 and i am getting slaughtered by all in pots and coolers against donkeys on stars.

    raise utg KK, sb 3bets with Q3o, i shove 100bb, he TANK CALLS, flops a Q, he has 5 outs, turn is a 3 to flush, i obviously have a bigger flush, he hits a 3 outer on the river

    i'm down 30 buyins but i had 40 on there before i said fuck it. im going to play .25/.50 for the rest of my money im done with this bullshit.

    i make $10more then get in a hand with AKs against AQo, i raise and call the guy next door's 3bet, it goes check call, turn i check he bets $11 i raise to $22, i also now have the backdoor flush draw also…this moron ships it allin, we both have TPTK but i have him OUTKICKED AND A TURNED FLUSH DRAW NOW, we're all in for $100 now, the turn is a fucken offsuit Q for a 2 outer and i was in absolute shock. i;ve stopped playing online poker now before i read something abouy how this is possibly normal

    i read on twoplustwo that you should be in a AA vs KK situation about once every thousand hands.

    i've had AA vs KK once and KK vs AA 6 times in 40k hands AND LOST THEM ALL

    i've had QQ vs AA/KK 6 times and LOST THEM ALL

    i truly believe they red flagged my account at this point

    or the rng is rigged to benefit fish a little so that they stick around and the games dont die so pokerstars can keep getting rake

  7. Thanks for this. I was close to giving up on everything. I bought in at a 1/2 table for $100 and in 3 hours made $864 ($764 profit) and it was great. Went back next day, lost 300. No big deal. Next day, broke even. Now after a few days I'm at -$1000 and it just feels unreal. Like, I'm losing to garbage players, garbage hands. Its just sick. I don't know when it will end but I hope it's soon. Thanks brad. 🤘🏻

  8. 50 buying plus 6 months of expenses?? So let’s assume you do1000 as your buyins and you have expenses of 3k. So we are at 68k. Is that we a pro should have in their bank before they start playing? Then what reassess every 6 months… or 3 months? Or something else.

  9. As a rec player, I've been winning nicely since I started tracking it 9 months ago, I just had a "mini downswing." Ran bad, played bad. Big spots. Lost a few buyins in a game that I usually win or break even.
    Set over set, set to my tptk, flush to my set, JJ to my AK which won, etc. and mostly to one guy on my left that was either a genius and/or was just running hot. I couldn't win a single pot with him and he called 9/10 of my preflop raises with trash hands. He didn't miss a single draw when I had big hands (and i wasn't able to find a fold to his big river bets a few times, unfortunately). I was 2nd best every time somehow. Just blowing steam. Enjoy your evening.

  10. Even if you “play your best”, you’re still going to experience downswings. Ran into a few in my days. Just remember, “tilt is a poker players worst enemy”.

  11. Brad,

    This video is poignant and timely for me in my first real experience with a down swing. I'm 24-years old, and began cash games only in the last year. I started out well enough to consider myself the young pro, and local seniors of poker were appraising my plays. Then October hit. It has been eerie with fright, and I began to contemplate quitting.

    Thank you for the assurance that this shall pass! I would add, for anyone who sees this, that my experience shows that buying in for inconsistent amounts is not helpful. Starting in a tilt, or stacking enough to start as chip leader yield the same results when bad luck persists.

    From North Dakota, good luck on the felt! I'm eager to sit at a table with the vloggers whenever this pandemic subsides.

  12. This was last night for me. I think that what I should do is spend the next few days studying. Took me 100 hours to grind out 5 BI for 1/2.
    As a rec who wants to get better, without a real roll, I think that a good strategy is to just poke around on 1/2 until I have 1 – 1/2 buy-in, and 1 – 2/5 buy-in (roughly 3 1-2 buy-ins) , and just kind of take a single shot at 2/5, not playing scared, and fall back on my 1-2 buy in if it doesn't work. Do it like that until I get a couple of good runs at 2/5. I will then have a proper (but small) roll for 1/2, while I learn how to 2/5 game works. If it doesn't work out, then I'm never really down all that much.
    I'll only replenish the 1/2 buy-in (if I have to) with my weekly earnings, and do this 1-3x a week. The rest of the week will be studying.
    Once I get 5-10BI for 2/5, I'll start playing it more often.
    During this time, I will be studying and getting better, and it will likely be 5-6 months altogether.
    I was playing pretty solid for a long while, so I think it will be ok, and I just have to remember that we are all not perfect and that even people who actually do this for a living experience these issues.
    Thanks again for the vid.

  13. My parents do not know I play poker for living, the reason why they don’t know is that they won’t understand. How and when did you share with your parents you playing poker for living?

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