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Last updated September 17, 2020

How to Deal with a Bad Run of Luck in Poker

Poker is one of the most popular casino games in the world. Major tournaments like the World Series of Poker have helped to bring the spotlight onto the game like never before. These days, the availability of online casinos and Poker sites means that millions of people around the world play Poker on a regular basis.

How to Deal with a Bad Run of Luck in Poker

If you’re anything like us at SlotsBang, you probably enjoy playing Poker but hate it when it seems like everyone in the game is out to get you. Despite Poker is a game that mostly involves luck, sometimes it seems like there’s nothing but bad luck at a table. While it’s rare, bad runs are possible and happen to even the best players.

One of the biggest tips in Poker we can give new players is to stay in control of your emotions. When you play Poker, or any casino game, emotionally, you’re more likely to lose. This is because as we get over-confident, angry, or upset, we tend to forget our strategies. If you want to be consistently good at the game, you’ll need to stay in control of your emotions, especially when you have a run of bad luck or bad hands.

We wrote this guide to help Poker players deal with bad runs of luck and to explain the best way to make sure you return to winning ways. While you can’t change luck, you can change how you respond to it, and in most cases, that makes a lot of difference.

Take a Break

One of the best solutions to a bad run of luck also happens to be the easiest. If you’re finding that none of your hands are going your way, just take a break from the game for a while. Some players feel the need to keep playing until their luck turns around. In most cases, though, you’ll find that your luck just gets worse as you chase losses.

Taking a break isn’t quitting or surrendering, it’s simply preventing the Poker losses from affecting you and allowing your mind time to rest and think about other things. Do something you enjoy, whether it’s watching a film, exercising or spending time with friends or family. You can take a few hours off, a few days, or even a few weeks depending on how you feel. Before you return to the tables, think about your strategy and the reasons for you playing. Remember that playing Poker should be about having fun more than anything else.

Play Tighter

Playing tight refers to playing hands infrequently. When you play tight, you’ll be folding more than usual and only playing hands when you have a very strong hand. In most cases, tight play is the most sensible option though some players like to play more aggressively. If you’re on a bad run of luck, however, it makes a lot of sense to tighten up.

Playing tightly also lets you learn more about strategies, gives you a clearer picture of the other players at the table, and allows you to think more. While it can seem like you’re losing money by folding when you have blind when you’re in a bad run of luck you’d usually lose more by playing those hands.

Avoid High Stakes Games

Some Poker players exclusively play at high-stakes tables while others think that playing higher stakes while on a bad run is a good way to make back your losses. The reality is that high stakes games are often populated by more experienced players, known as sharks. These sharks usually play for a living and will ruthlessly take all your money before you know it.

When you’re on a bad run of form, you might think that playing at a high stakes table can bring back your losses when it eventually turns around. However, you never know when that bad run will end, and chasing your losses is normally just going to result in losing your bankroll much faster. If you still feel like playing while on a bad run, we recommend sticking to the low stake tables.

Manage Your Emotions

As you’ll know if you’ve read our other guides on playing Poker, being in control is one of the most important aspects of success. Whenever you’re at the Poker table, you’ll need to be in control of your emotions, becoming too confident, too upset or too nervous can result in you making mistakes.

Any good players will know how to capitalize on your mistakes, and you’ll soon find yourself losing more often. When you have a bad run of luck, it’s easy to quickly become angry or annoyed by your bad luck. These emotions will only lead to worse results, and you’re better off taking a break if you’re unable to stay calm.

Review Your Hands

Most online poker sites will allow you to see your hand history, which shows you all of the hands you’ve recently been dealt. You can take a good look and decide whether you are suffering from just bad luck or if your strategy needs changing. Often players will be quick to blame luck when the reality is, they made a mistake or just got outplayed by their opponents.

If your hands were all bad, then your luck really is bad, and it might be time for a break. If you discover that in actual fact, you made some bad moves, this is a great learning opportunity. Review your hands and see if you could have played better and try to work out how your opponents were able to beat you. Did you make a mistake? Identifying mistakes and thinking about what you could have done better is how you improve your game.

Try Out a Different Game

There are tonnes of different variations of Poker out there, almost too many to list. If you’re finding that you’re having a bad run of luck in one, why not try out a different game. You can play for free or for low stakes to learn the ropes and understand the game. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover a new favorite?

Most Poker sites and online casinos have plenty of different versions of Poker including Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha Hi-Lo, Five Card Poker, Pai Gow, Stud Poker, and many more. If you’re not sure about the rules, play a free demo of the game before you play for real cash. Don’t expect to be an expert straight away just because you’ve played other versions of Poker before.

Arthur is a staff writer at SlotsBang. He contributes to all things casino, from our ‘how to play’ guides to tips on finding the best sites for your favourite casino games.