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In worst downswing over 8k

Kinda beside myself right now. Looking to see how many have gone through huge downswings in short periods of time. I play at the 2/5 NL level. I'm a solid winning player who does this full time professionally. I took a few 5k downswings in the past and back then I wasn't even as solid as a player. I was having a killer year, I honestly can say I wasn't running like god or anything but was up over 21k in 230 hours. This last week I played about 60 hours and lost over 8k. I literally couldn't win a pot for 3 days. Memorable hands were:
shipping it on a guy who I knew had a combo draw that he missed on the turn, he hit the gutter ball on river. Flopping a set vs AK and board ran out trips so his A made a bigger boat. Doubling up short stacks that flopped sets. In my last hour of play alone I flopped trips against a guy's AA and he hit an A on river. Lost 900, didn't get stack because I check called river on an AK board hoping he had AK. Then 30 mins later I ship it pre on a kid with QQ and I have KK for 1300 and he calls it off and hits a Q. This variance is unreal. I'm used to taking bad beats and losing big pots and I take it on the chin well. But I'm starting to lose it here. Is it normal for a 10bb + winner like me to go through downswings of up to 10k in even short periods of time? Playing only 2/5?
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Comments

  • nopair Posts: 350Subscriber
    Being up 21k in 230 hours is better than 91 an hour.
    Being down 8k in 60 hours is better than 133 an hour.
    Sounds most likely some regressing to the mean is going on here. You are up 13k in 290 hours, 45 an hour. Cool.

    However, these threads
    http://www.crushlivepoker.com/forums/discussion/comment/72036/
    http://www.crushlivepoker.com/forums/discussion/comment/74322/
    http://www.crushlivepoker.com/forums/discussion/comment/74057/
    show a lot of high variance play where you are the one facing a big bet decision in marginal situations instead of putting your opponent in that situation. Indeed, you have invited these situations via passive play, like checking AA on the turn to one opponent who has only called you so far.

    Combined with that, you posted a high variance bluff, that you may or may not be fully committed to
    http://www.crushlivepoker.com/forums/discussion/comment/79762/

    Even if all these plays you made were "right" (which I seriously doubt, especially the AT), these four hands alone amount to over half of the 8000 you lost.

    If you want to play a high variance style of play, like the AT especially, you have to expect big swings... even if the line of play is correct.
  • DavidChan Posts: 1,208Pro
    edited May 2017
    I have had 30k downswing over 200 hours before playing a mix of good 5/10, 5/10/20, 10/25 NLHE games. Therefore, I think that a 10k downswing at 2/5 NL over a short period is definitely possible for someone who crushes 2/5 NL.
  • pokertime Posts: 2,180Subscriber
    I don't think it's that unusual. Maybe not often but it's going to happen. There is the whole poker happens and is one long session so there is no reason you can't have 6 months of "normal" variance all at once over 2 weeks. It's not really different than you can run sun hot flopping set and hitting FD/SD like crazy for a few weeks or longer. Your also never going to play perfect so you can lose extra when in a downswing second guessing yourself.

    I was down about 6k over 200 hours and was finally having a big session. Then I got KK in vs AK on a K64 flop. Turn A. River A. 300bb pot. It happens.
  • rcollier5 Posts: 67Subscriber
    nopair said:
    Being up 21k in 230 hours is better than 91 an hour.
    Being down 8k in 60 hours is better than 133 an hour.
    Sounds most likely some regressing to the mean is going on here. You are up 13k in 290 hours, 45 an hour. Cool.

    However, these threads
    http://www.crushlivepoker.com/forums/discussion/comment/72036/
    http://www.crushlivepoker.com/forums/discussion/comment/74322/
    http://www.crushlivepoker.com/forums/discussion/comment/74057/
    show a lot of high variance play where you are the one facing a big bet decision in marginal situations instead of putting your opponent in that situation. Indeed, you have invited these situations via passive play, like checking AA on the turn to one opponent who has only called you so far.

    Combined with that, you posted a high variance bluff, that you may or may not be fully committed to
    http://www.crushlivepoker.com/forums/discussion/comment/79762/

    Even if all these plays you made were "right" (which I seriously doubt, especially the AT), these four hands alone amount to over half of the 8000 you lost.

    If you want to play a high variance style of play, like the AT especially, you have to expect big swings... even if the line of play is correct.
    Thanks for the input, but do you realize these are all over a year old? Don't you think many people post hand solely on the fact that we find our selves in tough spots (i.e big bet decisions in marginal situations). I don't have a very high variance style of play compared to most regs I know honestly. I been doing this for a long time, just never experienced run bad at this level so I asking the community how normal this can be
  • nopair Posts: 350Subscriber
    I saw March/April and decided to live in 2016. Trump isn't President yet. :)

    Okay, so they aren't current, but the point still stands. Four hands at your game size can account for over half your 60 hour loss.

    You summarized yourself as a 10BB+ player, and after four months this year you are at a 9BB rate. That should tell you what you've been through isn't super-unlikely. You grouped some seriously negative sessions after having run about double your normal win rate for a longer period.
  • neverlearn2 Posts: 2,842Subscriber
    this reminds me of robs podcast about variance and equity and all that. So yea its standard, you ran extra good before, its just normalizing, blah blah blah. I think I was running close to $70/hour at 1/3 for about 45-50 hours earlier this year. I thought I was ready to make the jump to 25/50+ but then variance happened.

    You sound like you got a good mental game and outlook. Ims ure you will get back on your feet in no time. GL.
  • ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,086Subscriber
    Last year I had two 10k downswings.. Prior to this you were obviously running above ev and now you are running below EV. Since last sept I would say that I have been running above EV and this past month I am running below. I havent lost that much but going sideways for sure. small wins or struggle to get out of the red during a session. no monster session wins and two 2k losses during this time.

    these times are always what makes me a better player. As you go through them you should be very very aware of what is going on and look at other means to gain value in poker. This forced me to look at higher level thinking more bluffing due to my nitty image etc... you should be thankful you are getting this after being up so much so far this year.

    Poker is the lover that occasionally reminds you of who is really in charge .. Take the bait and learn new skills that will make you an even stronger player on the other side. Or don't and bemoan your "bad luck" and keep the game still great for the rest of us serious students... :wink:
  • Joanna Posts: 428Member
    How do deep do you play? I mean like average effective stack when you get it in.
  • rcollier5 Posts: 67Subscriber
    NEVERLEARN2 said:
    this reminds me of robs podcast about variance and equity and all that. So yea its standard, you ran extra good before, its just normalizing, blah blah blah. I think I was running close to $70/hour at 1/3 for about 45-50 hours earlier this year. I thought I was ready to make the jump to 25/50+ but then variance happened.

    You sound like you got a good mental game and outlook. Ims ure you will get back on your feet in no time. GL.
    Funny you mentioned him, I played with Rob the other day. He ran pretty bad too. Says he's having a losing year so far. I've been talking to a lot of the winning regs I know in the game. Many have had 10k downswings, just not as fast lol

  • rcollier5 Posts: 67Subscriber
    Joanna said:
    How do deep do you play? I mean like average effective stack when you get it in.
    1k - 1.5k its more or less depending on short stacks and if Ive run it up or someone else has
  • FreeLunch Posts: 1,309Pro
    rcollier5 said:
    Is it normal for a 10bb + winner like me to go through downswings of up to 10k in even short periods of time? Playing only 2/5?
    The way you phrase the question shows you dont have a fundamental understanding of variance. That's not an attack as its common.

    No it is not "Normal" to have such a downswing but its natural, predictable, and inevitable.

    If you imagine a bell curve graph of your session hourly - most of the time you will be somewhere close to the middle of the curve - aka your average hourly. That's normal. The extremes - the tails on the right of the left of the curve are not normal in that you will not normally experience those extremes. But it is predictable that over a large enough sample size you will experience those extremes and there is nothing you can do to prevent it.

    The problem in our perception is our sample sizes are so small that we get the illusion of control. To a large degree skilled players have a lot of control of our results so is it really an illusion to think that skilled players should never have a downturn of more than X? That thought process confuses the skill that gives us a positive win rate with ability to control the random deal of the cards. We think that because we can take advantage of the random cards better than the villains that there is some kind of threshold below which that randomness can't hurt us. That perception is an illusion. Any player who tells you that a skilled players should have more than a X downswing quite literally does not understand the math and how variance and distributions work.

    There is no mathematical limit to how big a downswing a winning player can have. Bigger is rarer. But that does not create a limit.

    Its interesting, to me anyway, that professional blackjack players understand this so much better than professional poker players. In blackjack you can prove what your win rate (expectation) is of your strategy even before you ever play a hand. You can also calculate the variance and thus your risk of ruin. Its unfortunate, but not a surprise to the blackjack player when they go on really long brutal downswings. Yet there is no moment in blackjack where a dealer or house changes things up to mess with your strategy and make it less EV. But in poker your bad play or the better play of others can reduce your EV. Your maximum EV is capped by strategy and the amount villains are willing to lose to you (another feature missing from blackjack) but for some reason the fact that the maximum EV strategy in poker is unknown and thus there are players that have different degrees of skill, creates an illusion in poker that does not exist in blackjack - the illusion of the ability to control random fate. I believe this is a normal behavioral psychology - aka human trait. So its not normal to even understand variance unless you for some reason or other, studied it enough to override your normal instinctual misperceptions.

  • ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,086Subscriber
    Freelunch expands on the issue that I discussed earlier. Trying to deny a downturn is by itself self defeating. Downturns WILL happen there is nothing you can do about them other than lessen their impact by being a better player (ie your downturn might not be as bad if you get more value today than say 2 years ago) and your mental outlook when they do happen.


    Back when I was a fish I would go on monkey tilt when I would consistently get it in as a 90% favorite and lose. Although these still hurt I understand and accept this as a price of making the higher win rates I do today compared to what I did 1 year or more ago. Again I ACCEPT variance .. that alone keeps my head in the right place

    One thing that isn't being discussed here is the idea of taking higher variance to increase win rates that inevitably lead to short term losses but overall actually decrease your overall variance from your mean..

    So if I am wrong please let me know but this is how I think about this. last year instead of raising on the flop with say flopped two pair vs a villain I know would not fold an overpair I would play it safe and not try to raise to get it in until the river when I knew I wasn't counterfeited. But because of this I generally could not get in 200bbs and therefore did not maximize my EV on the hand. Today I do play these faster and many times get it in vs these opponents for their whole stack. So whereas last year I played it safe and lost a little less on the 25% of the time I was counterfeited I actually lost so much more in value for the 75% of the times I actually still had the best hand on the river..

    So if we fast forward to today.. One month ago I twice in two sessions stacked villains with overpairs with flopped two pairs winning large pots and booking 200bbs wins.. Do I specifically remember how much I won those weeks? not really. But fast forward a couple of weeks and in similar spots I get it in with villains and get counterfeited.. I lose 200bbs a few times and NOW I remember!! So in the short term me playing a bit higher variance which yields me thee MOST value also meant I lost the most in those hands and in the short term seems like I am losing more now than I did last year when I played those hands safer.. But in reality as FreeLunch mentioned we don't remember the good side of variance and when put together I am still way ahead of last year even with the downswing..


  • Joanna Posts: 428Member
    rcollier5 said:
    Joanna said:
    How do deep do you play? I mean like average effective stack when you get it in.
    1k - 1.5k its more or less depending on short stacks and if Ive run it up or someone else has
    OK so we can say you play deep. Deeper play results in bigger swings.

    I would say that it's very likely that the variance you're experiencing is very normal. I think the key is how well you can deal with it psychologically. That's "the other fight" of poker.

    If you find a way to deal with this well psychologically and be at peace then it will not just make you a better player, a better pro but it will vastly improve your quality of life. And yeah, share the way with us if you discover it ;)

  • rcollier5 Posts: 67Subscriber
    FreeLunch said:
    rcollier5 said:
    Is it normal for a 10bb + winner like me to go through downswings of up to 10k in even short periods of time? Playing only 2/5?
    The way you phrase the question shows you dont have a fundamental understanding of variance. That's not an attack as its common.

    No it is not "Normal" to have such a downswing but its natural, predictable, and inevitable.

    If you imagine a bell curve graph of your session hourly - most of the time you will be somewhere close to the middle of the curve - aka your average hourly. That's normal. The extremes - the tails on the right of the left of the curve are not normal in that you will not normally experience those extremes. But it is predictable that over a large enough sample size you will experience those extremes and there is nothing you can do to prevent it.

    The problem in our perception is our sample sizes are so small that we get the illusion of control. To a large degree skilled players have a lot of control of our results so is it really an illusion to think that skilled players should never have a downturn of more than X? That thought process confuses the skill that gives us a positive win rate with ability to control the random deal of the cards. We think that because we can take advantage of the random cards better than the villains that there is some kind of threshold below which that randomness can't hurt us. That perception is an illusion. Any player who tells you that a skilled players should have more than a X downswing quite literally does not understand the math and how variance and distributions work.

    There is no mathematical limit to how big a downswing a winning player can have. Bigger is rarer. But that does not create a limit.

    Its interesting, to me anyway, that professional blackjack players understand this so much better than professional poker players. In blackjack you can prove what your win rate (expectation) is of your strategy even before you ever play a hand. You can also calculate the variance and thus your risk of ruin. Its unfortunate, but not a surprise to the blackjack player when they go on really long brutal downswings. Yet there is no moment in blackjack where a dealer or house changes things up to mess with your strategy and make it less EV. But in poker your bad play or the better play of others can reduce your EV. Your maximum EV is capped by strategy and the amount villains are willing to lose to you (another feature missing from blackjack) but for some reason the fact that the maximum EV strategy in poker is unknown and thus there are players that have different degrees of skill, creates an illusion in poker that does not exist in blackjack - the illusion of the ability to control random fate. I believe this is a normal behavioral psychology - aka human trait. So its not normal to even understand variance unless you for some reason or other, studied it enough to override your normal instinctual misperceptions.

    No I understand completely. Just tough to deal with when in so many years of playing it hasn't happened. I understand variance and standard deviation. Standard deviation in this game is like 400-500 bucks an hr. and Just 1 standard deviation is like 60% of the normal curve correct?

  • rcollier5 Posts: 67Subscriber
    Joanna said:
    rcollier5 said:
    Joanna said:
    How do deep do you play? I mean like average effective stack when you get it in.
    1k - 1.5k its more or less depending on short stacks and if Ive run it up or someone else has
    OK so we can say you play deep. Deeper play results in bigger swings.

    I would say that it's very likely that the variance you're experiencing is very normal. I think the key is how well you can deal with it psychologically. That's "the other fight" of poker.

    If you find a way to deal with this well psychologically and be at peace then it will not just make you a better player, a better pro but it will vastly improve your quality of life. And yeah, share the way with us if you discover it ;)

    I deal with it pretty well at the table. Off the table though its hard not to be bummed out and stressed about the grind it will take to win that much back. Many of the fellow pros out here have actually complemented me on the fact that I don't play bad when I run bad
  • Joanna Posts: 428Member
    rcollier5 said:
    Joanna said:
    rcollier5 said:
    Joanna said:
    How do deep do you play? I mean like average effective stack when you get it in.
    1k - 1.5k its more or less depending on short stacks and if Ive run it up or someone else has
    OK so we can say you play deep. Deeper play results in bigger swings.

    I would say that it's very likely that the variance you're experiencing is very normal. I think the key is how well you can deal with it psychologically. That's "the other fight" of poker.

    If you find a way to deal with this well psychologically and be at peace then it will not just make you a better player, a better pro but it will vastly improve your quality of life. And yeah, share the way with us if you discover it ;)

    I deal with it pretty well at the table. Off the table though its hard not to be bummed out and stressed about the grind it will take to win that much back. Many of the fellow pros out here have actually complemented me on the fact that I don't play bad when I run bad
    OK, I'll share what works for me. First, if the grind is the grind to you then perhaps it's possible to see this in a better light. What if the grind is not the grind but doing something you love? What if you just feel happy and grateful to be able to do what you love? Any moment you're able to do that you're a winner - in life.

    Next, think about the worst case scenario. Realize that even the worst case scenario is really not as terrible as it may initially seem; then accept it, embrace it even. I find that it kicks the monkey of my back. For example, it could be something like: "If I continue to run bad and BR drops to $X then I will move down stakes and work part time at Starbucks until I climb my way back up. Either way I'm never giving up. Working at Starbucks is really not that bad. So many people do that to make ends meet. Am I "better" than all those people? No, I'll be fine either way."
  • ActionTwin Posts: 146SubscriberProfessional
    As others have stated, yes this size of downswing can happen to a big winning $2-5 player due to variance alone, but it shouldn't be a regular occurrence. I have a good top-tier winrate and over the course of ~4,500 hours of $5 blind games I've gone on 4 downswings in the $7k-$8k range, so an average of once every thousand hours or so. But I look at the flip side of this and have had way larger upswings, just as you did. So a helpful way to think about it that it is in essence "evening out" or regressing to the mean.

    What has been helpful for me was entering my winrate and standard deviation into a variance simulator and finding out about how large of a downswing and how long of a breakeven stretch I could go on. If I remember correctly it came out to be about $10k at $2-5/$5-5 and $30k at $5-10 with breakeven stretches of about 500 and 1,000 hours respectively. Although these extreme occurrences were only about 1% to happen over the course of a several thousand hour sample, they can still happen and are completely out of our control. Fortunately I've never been on a downswing or breakeven stretch of these sizes, but when my bigger downswings and breakeven stretches happened, I wasn't tilted and didn't lose confidence since I already knew they were bound to happen and were built into the equation of being a winning player.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that you are only one small sample in a sea of winning poker players that all go on their own variance paths. You could make a clone of yourself and have your clone play in the same games you do and make the same decisions you do and you could each have wildly different variance rides in terms of size and duration of downswings and upswings. But at the end of the ride after thousands of hours you'd arrive with the same hourly +/- 1 or 2 bb's per hour. This could explain why Bart has said the biggest downswing he's been on in $5-10 is only about $10k which is quite small for that game. In a parallel universe, Bart could've gone on a much larger downswing making the same decisions he did in this universe. You can see this type of thing displayed in a variance simulator when it spits out 20 different paths the same player can go on. So I wouldn't recommend comparing your downswing size to someone else's since it's pretty much irrelevant. I'd recommend inputting your stats into a variance simulator, looking at how bad it is possible for you to run, and then don't worry about it as long as you are within these boundaries and as long as you think you are playing well and sitting in good games. This is also why bankroll management and having living expenses saved up are paramount to surviving and staying mentally stable when playing for a living. If you're playing $2-5 and are financially and mentally prepared for a ~$10k downswing and not making any income for ~6 months then you are prepared for the worst and should get through it fine when it happens. Many aren't ready for this though which is why in my opinion you see so many "pros" come and go in live poker.
  • nofriends333 Posts: 882Troll
    After reading all the comments so far i have yet to see someone post the 1800 gambler link . Yet with me i get that from a few wise asses when i rant about losing $100 - $150 in $1 $2 cash. If this guy is on a 10k downswing which when using the term "downswing is sort of the kind way of saying he lost his shirt, then why dont you get on his case about the compulsive gambler needing help blah blah. Only me right? It seems that if i lose a few dollars in paltry comparison to his 10k then i need help yet its perfectly ok to lose 10k because the dollar amt is comparable to what you lose during a bad downswing stretch . Maybe its the fact that you give him respect because hes a pro where as i am looked upon as some novice jackass that hasnt a clue as to the perils and pitfalls of cash poker . Is my assumption correct?
  • nofriends333 Posts: 882Troll
    R Collier no disrespect but if you dont have a full time job or retired with a pension or some sort of income coming in other than poker, you are treading deep waters. If i lost 10k i would probably jump in the lake and drown myself but then again i barely have 5k in the bank to live on so that will probably never happen. To the poster who claims he went on a 30k downswing, the only time i ever saw 30k in my entire life was when i sold my condo in Fla back in 2004. Sold it for 100k after paying off remaining mortgage taxes and other shit , that was basically what i was left with . On another note i was thinking about heading out to AC to play $1 $2 in attempt to make my $180 back i lost on Saturday (most of it in tournament) but after reading your downswing story im afraid to head out there
  • LesterDiamondLesterDiamond Posts: 152Subscriber
    What happened to said $100k?
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