How to Cope With Losing Streaks

Take 56 suited.  You are heads-up going into the flop, and your opponent holds AQ. The flop comes Ah Th 2c. Not bad,” you think to yourself. Heads-up, you are a 38% to 62% underdog. You’ll have to call the bet on the flop and Turn assuming you want to see this hand to the River, and if you make the flush you’ll win yourself a tiny little pot. The situation where this most often comes up is when you hold two suited or connecting cards in the blind, flop two to the flush or straight and get heads-up. Your hand is deceptively good-looking and needs to be tossed if the player with a position on your bets because the odds don’t justify your trying to hit your hand.

 

To change or not to change?  In a game that is random, seat selection seemingly should not have that much effect on your game. But it has a very big effect because you can be against very different types of players. Changing seats or leaving the table to find another game are fine but do it for the right reasons. If you think to move and seeing another player come into your old seat and win a big pot could affect your game, don’t move. However, if a player to your immediate right is getting to you by being super-aggressive, or making snide comments that are getting you off your game, by all means, move. Another good reason to move is when you feel you will have excellent control over a player by having a position on him.

 

River fear: missing the value bet and the foolish laydown. Because you play so few hands, when a hand comes along that you are going to play, you have to squeeze every last possible chip out of the hand. Unfortunately, when you are running bad, it can be tough to do that with the good-but-not-great hands, especially on the River. Value betting on the River is a must for any serious poker player. Take the situation where you have top pair with a good kicker. The River card appears to have been safe for you, no flush or straight out there. Two players check to you. The player running bad thinks the worst, so just checks and happily takes down the pot. Betting out, though, gives you two ways to win the pot, including a way that’s even better: getting more money into it. Many players will call with middle pair, and this is very well what the other players may have. Make them pay you off and maximize your winnings. This is an even easier play when you have a position on the other players, but top pair with a good kicker is a good hand. Don’t feel you have to have two pair or better to bet on the River. Similarly, don’t feel the need to make the big lay down on the River. Even if you are pretty sure you are beaten, calling one more bet is much better than losing the entire pot.