Downscaling as a way of surviving downswings

NAPT Mohegan Sun S1_$5KMainEvent_Day1_JoeGironWhen poker players are asked about what they feel about downscaling, more precisely making a transition from higher limits to lower ones, many are puzzled. The reason is that poker players are overly concerned about how to maximize their profits and the most straightforward way to achieve that is by moving up the ladder. There is no obvious reason for going in reverse but a close introspection of the game would reveal the fact that downscaling can act as the ultimate safety net.

Even though poker is generally a game of skill and practice makes perfect, luck plays its role and when it is against you there is very little you can do to emerge victorious. Tilt is a dangerous foe and when it leads to downswings, it is very likely to lose all the previous gains and more. Taking breaks is the obvious thing to do and players are recommended to return to the tables after they chill out and reconsider their strategy.

This is a surefire way of preventing all those mistakes that have a catastrophic effect on bankrolls, such as chasing losses or shifting between limits in an erratic manner. On the other hand, if you can’t afford the luxury of taking lengthy breaks or quitting poker for a while, you need to resort to a more sustainable solution. Downscaling is one of them, as moving down the limits is going to alleviate the pressure on your bankroll and decrease the odds of incurring losses at the same ratio.

It is supposed to have a two-pronged effect, because on one hand you mitigate losses on the other you improve the chances to return to your winning ways. If luck continues to be against you at lower limits, you will find solace in the fact that the poker session will be far less damaging. At least in theory, when you play at lower limits you are supposed to compete against less experienced opponents and this will give you an edge over them.

This is where poker players need to tread lightly, because jumping to conclusions regarding the skill and ability to play of people competing at lower limits can be hurtful. Keep in mind that you used to play at the same limits a while ago and even though you eventually moved on, some of those competitors are quite dangerous. Making the transition back to higher limits is a sensitive issue, because the decision is to be made in complete regard to your state of mind, recent improvements and less with your bankroll.

Different types of player likely to be pit against online

pokerthreadsPoker players should remember to forsake any prejudice when they sit down at the table, because they’re very likely to be surprised if they try to enforce strict patterns over reality. It is hard enough to differentiate between the type of players who compete online and those who participate mostly in live events, so there is no point in starting from faulty assumptions.

Nevertheless, it is in everyone’s best interest to do whatever they can to discern between their opponents and include them into one category or the other. The idea is to make sure that you don’t play against players that are dangerous or better than you, while focusing on those who are more likely to commit mistakes. For example, recreational gamblers are the ones that you should be seeking, even though it might take a while to find this select group as they are a dying breed.

They don’t take the game too seriously and they simply want to have some fun which they usually do, even though they lose some money in the process. There are different types of recreational players and those who have a lot of money and play at stakes that are below their possibilities are dangerous for a different reason. They don’t really care about the cash and what they seek is to impress their opponents and have everyone at the table speak about them.

They frequently antagonize with their peers and they don’t back off from situations that would normally prompt players to fold their hands. They shouldn’t be bluffed and there is no point in criticizing them or commenting on how they play, instead arm yourself with patience and wait for the inevitable mistakes. Do not commit the error of assuming that those who play loose aggressive poker are rookies or people who have more money than common sense and skill.

There are increasingly more players who have embraced this style of poker which is aggressively advertised at television and a select category of them have mastered the odds. They get involved in many pots and frequently raise out of position, but the best ones know how to get out of a dangerous hand and they rarely get pot committed. Occasional re-raise against them and focus mostly on extracting the most from your strong starting hands, but think twice before calling an all-in.