Six tips for when you can’t win at poker

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I hit a bit of a downswing recently in my pot-limit Omaha cash game (that’s what all the fish say), and since I’m hopefully on the verge of recovery, I thought I would share a few things that helped me get back in control of my game.

SEEK ADVICE FROM BETTER PLAYERS: Get rid of that ego. Find the smartest players you know and start annoying the crap out of them. Have them watch your game.

I’m lucky enough to have a poker legend in my corner who gives it to me straight at times like these and it’s an invaluable asset in more ways than one.

TALK ABOUT HANDS: You’re more likely to find flaws in your logic when you’re conversing with others. You’ll hear the hand from their perspective. The tiniest decisions in a game such as PLO can determine your entire session and those can be easy to overlook.

DON’T GET DISCOURAGED: When you’ve lost five sessions in a row, you’re going to start doubting yourself. Maintaining a positive attitude is crucial. If you sit at a poker game with the mentality of “I can’t win, so what’s the point?” you are definitely going to play worse.

DON’T PLAY SCARED: I can’t stress this enough because I know from first-hand experience that losing a significant amount of money can put the fear of God in you. The worst thing you can do is start playing ABC poker and play too straightforward. You’ll get eaten alive.

EXERCISE: This may sound a bit silly, but most players never exercise. It can help you control your emotional state as well as maintain focus. Exercising can give you a confidence boost that could affect your poker game.

BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF: This is the most important of the six. Are you losing because of bad luck? Or are you calling 100 percent of three-bets? Maybe you’re three-betting a little too much or playing too many hands in early position. Whatever it may be, you have to find the real problem. If you can’t be honest with yourself, you’re never going to climb out of that hole.