The game of poker is a microcosm of life in many ways. We calculate risk before taking any chances, and we face adversity to the extreme. I don’t care what sort of beats you’ve suffered, we have all had our share of 5%ers that rip out our calm and test our ability to take it in stride. We usually end up freaking out and we start to believe that we’re the most unlucky poker players on the planet. But the truth is that bad beats are part of everyone’s poker game, no matter how skilled or accomplished you may be.
Experienced players who have been playing the game for a long time know that bad beats are always going to be around their game. There’s no way to beat luck, whether it’s good or bad. The game of poker will repeatedly rip your heart out and spit on it, over and over again until that one fine day when it all comes together and you get that deep run in a tournament and all the pain goes away, at least for a while.
What we’re talking about here is variance. Every player has ups and downs and most player results look like a wavy graph of winning sessions and losing sessions. Experienced players understand variance and they don’t let hand outcomes affect how they behave. Most amateur players suffer a couple of beats and all but give up because they can’t handle the fact that they lost despite overwhelming odds to win. And until a player can learn to take the bad beats off the chest and keep playing anyway, they will continue to waste bets from emotional responses.
Having a bankroll strategy can help to lessen the fear of suffering beats. If you have enough money set aside for play you can afford to get pounded with bad beats for awhile. The thing is to realize that you can’t stop the bad beats no matter what you do. You can only control your reactions to them. In poker you have to be able to repeatedly take it on the chin and then come back with even more eagerness to do well the next time.
They say that every dog has his day, and that’s certainly true for many poker players. If you can wallow through the scum that this game will subject you to you will eventually have a good tournament and score a big cash. Some players play for years and years before they eventually get a shot at a big payday. If you stop playing poker during a downswing in your variance you could miss out on the winning hands that will be sure to come.
The idea is to only play with what you can afford to play with and to try and get your chips in the middle with the best of it. There isn’t much more one can do than that. If you want that big tournament cash you have to dust yourself off and get back into the game after suffering the bad beats, with the knowledge that the beats may be back again tomorrow or the next time you play a session.