June Balance and downswings management

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Graphic of June (sit-n-gos):

(68% of rakeback is equivalent to all the benefits of being SNE)

As you can see from the graphic, June was my worst month in Poker until now. I ended up losing close to $45k at the games, winning $15 from rakeback, finishing the month around -$30k.

I won't analyse stake by stake, since the individual sample of each stake is too small to make any conclusions. The conclusions I'm going to make are going to be based on the analysis of the last trimester and if necessary, the last semester.

Bankroll management

When I think in the short term (3-6 months) or even in long term (1-2 years), I don't think a lot about variance, I focus on the expected value, since it's that value that allows me to make estimations of my hourly rate, which is what really matters. That said, variance has an extremely important role in bankroll management and it exists upwards as well as downwards!
It's fundamental to have a bankroll big enough to withstand the downswings and at the same time to not be cashing out like crazy when you have an upswing.

In my case in particular, I feel comfortable playing with 200 buy-ins and since it's been a spectacular year for me, I had more than 400 buy-ins of the highest stake I was playing in my poker bankroll. What I want to say with this is, since I haven't been spending my money around like crazy during the good months, I was able to continue playing the same stakes during the bad months.

Physical and emotional part

In the beginning of the month I started doing a more intensive training at the gym and I was quite tired. As if the tiredness from the gym wasn't enough, I got more tired due to the defeats at the online arena. Losing day after day is tiring, trust me!

After losing many days in a row, my survival instinct made me ask the following questions: "Could it be that I can't beat these games?", "Could it be that my opponents understood how to play against me?".

I often read in the forums comments of winning players that say things like:

"A professional player has to play the same way when he is losing as when he is winning".
"When I'm losing, I'm more motivated for longer sessions".

I don't agree with that kind of ideas, and I think that kind of thinking makes you lose money.

One question... Do you think that a coach would put a football player in the game when one of his arms is broken? In theory, unless we're talking about the goal-keeper, a player could play with a broken arm, but he wouldn't have the performance that he has when he's playing in excellent conditions.

I see downswings like injuries of a poker player. When there's a downswing, it's important to slow down (and sometimes even stop), so as to gain forces and make a comeback. Normally I come out of a downswing stronger, because that's when I spend more time studying. Study is fundamental in order to recover lost confidence. When I make a play and I see that it goes bad, what really makes a difference on an emotional level is the line between THINKING it was the right play and KNOWING it was the right play.

I believe that one of the reasons why many of the best players are arrogant is because a strong self-esteem is necessary in order to withstand the bad moments of this profession. However, many are victims of their own ego and play when they shouldn't or make plays that they know are ev-. I'm not as gifted as many of my opponents are, but as I can be very stable on an emotional level, I am able to compete at an interesting level.

To sum up, when I'm winning, I try to play as much as possible, but when I'm losing I play as little as possible, so as to be aware of what's happening and have time to study, improve the quality of my game and reestablish my confidence.

This month was very difficult, but... looking back, I think it was a month with a very high expected value. I'm saying this because at the gym I can already go through the new training without feeling exhausted. My concentration levels have gone back to being quite high and I think I can manage playing 8h/day. As for my strategy, I made some very important discoveries and I think my game improved substantially. And, most important of all... I feel good and motivated!

The month may have gone bad, but I'm better prepared for the next months than what I was before June.


This month I played around 80h and I won around 130k VPPs. For the hours I played it was great, but it's good to be careful, cause if I had played 160h, I wouldn't have earned twice as many VPPs, cause there aren't always high stakes games, maybe I would have earned 200k VPPs or something like that.

In any case... during the next 2-3 weeks I'll do the 82k VPPs that are missing :)

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