If you’ve read enough poker books then you know that one thing that always comes up at some point is learning to cope with the “swings”. For clarification, swings as they are referred to in any form of gambling, are the rise and fall of your bankroll as you continue to gamble over a period of time, normally viewed in frames of about six months.
What Is a Swing?
Most players, no matter how skilled or how well they handle their money, will experience an extreme swing potentially numerous times in their career where they go from winning lots of money (the top of the swing), to the point to where it seems like luck and skill have completely abandoned them (the low point of the swing).
Even if a bad swing doesn’t cripple you financially, it can really affect your mental status, which in turn can have a devastating effect on how you play poker. You need to be able to take the money factor out of the equation and continue to play at or near your best session after session, regardless of many bad beats you get.
Treat Highs & Lows The Same
Obviously this won’t be easy and it takes a lot of time to build up a mental resistance to losing money, but it is possible. After a string of losses you’re going to want to step away from the table for awhile (however long it takes to clear your mind) and not return until you can approach the next session with a fresh, positive frame of mind.
On the flip side though, there are many bad habits you can pick up when you can’t seem to lose and are raking in the chips. Players that feel invincible will make bad decisions, call hands they shouldn’t and overplay their cards.
Just because you’re winning now doesn’t mean you’ll never lose again, which is why it’s important to remain humble and focused. Now is the time to add to your career bankroll for the future, rather than up the ante and gamble it all away, only to leave yourself with nothing the next time you hit a downward swing.
It can help to read up on swings as well, so do some online research and see what the pros have to say when it comes to dealing with the big wins and the big losses.