Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How do you react to a downswing

I was thinking about this the other day, in terms of how I have reacted to my worst downswing to date. Sure i'd had a couple 300BB downswings, but this 500BB one (actually probably even a few more than that) has taken quite a while to recover from.

Step one for me was to withdraw some cash from my bankroll - not a huge amount, maybe $1k or nearly 5%, but almost as much as i'd lost. This seems a bit counter intuitive - withdrawing when I had lost a chunk of change. But I needed a way to feel like poker was still profitable, even if it temporarily (at least I hoped temporarily) wasn't.

Step two has been fairly religous table selecting, which has maybe got a little more lax in the last few weeks after recovering at least a couple hundred BBs. When strictly doing it, I like to have two 50+ vpip fish on my right. When i'm not so strictly table selecting i'll accept a single fish, or even be slightly out of position against several fish. Granted, i'm probably still making a profit when not being quite as picky, but when somewhat beaten down by variance, it's probably good to be playing with the largest advantage possible.

Step three has been patience - not trying to get it all back at once. Money lost quickly cannot be miraculously found again at a rate faster than your overall win rate. Dropping 100BBs can often take 5,000 - 10,000 hands to recover. Whilst it is nice to have the occasional super hot run, it's not something you can rely on.

Step four has been stakes selection - for me it was the choice to maintain my stakes to grind back a profit slowly, rather than increase stakes to try to get it back quickly. I've still played a few hands at $4/8 and $5/10, and even a few orbits at $10/20, but only when i've spotted a hugely fishy table. I think i've stated before that losing say 100BBs at $10/20, whilst being acceptable to my bankroll, it would not be acceptable to me psychologically ... yet. Maybe when my bankroll is larger it will be acceptable to me, but for now, it isn't. Therefore I won't be jumping up stakes to chase any losses any time soon, as it could easily make a downswing substantially worse.

Step five has been to let rakeback do its job. Recovering 200BBs on the tables was enough to recover my 500BB loss thanks to the additional credits generated through rakeback. Enough said.

Having said all that, i'm still well aware that another downswing could start any time soon, and that technically i'm still well down in table winning (approx 200BBs) from where I was.

However, since I include my rakeback in my bankroll, i'm not actually that concerned that i'm still down, and in fact, I don't really track my overall win rate all that closely. Total bankroll to me is far more important - provided that keeps going upwards, i'm happy.

Current bankroll: $25,150
April time played: 7.8h
April hands played: 1,519
April profit / (loss): $450


shit said...

I'm always following your blog and find it very interesting. You mention very often table selection. Might it be possible for you to write an article one day about the way you choose tables, e.g. how long do you observe before sitting down... do you fixate yourself on a specific seat and wait till it's free? Are you using buddy lists?

parttimebonuschaser said...