One of the most important concepts to understand when playing cash game poker is your win rate. Similar to an hourly wage at the workplace, your win rate describes your average amount of money won over a period of time. You can also determine how much you can expect to earn over a long period of time by judging your win rate as a poker player.
Understanding Poker Win Rates
It is common to express your win rate in big blinds per 100 hands in online poker as bb/100. In other words, it is the number of big bets (BB) per 100 hands. Limit hold’em refers to two times the big blind as a big bet. Due to the difficulty of tracking how many hands you played during a live poker session, win rates are usually expressed in hours. In summary:
- Every 100 hands, the big blind (bb) is won by the player.
- For every 100 hands, BB/100 indicates how many big bets (BB) were won.
- An hourly rate is how much you are paid for each hour
Our focus will be on the bb/100 win rate, which is the most commonly used win rate in poker tracking programs like Hold’em Manager and poker forums.
How to End Poker Downswings?
Poker downswings cannot definitively end. The cards you are dealing with cannot control, unfortunately. Still, there are ways to lessen their impact on your bankroll:
- You should keep your regular game’s buy-ins healthy.
- Move down in stakes if you have to.
- Hands should review.
- Play for a while and then take a break.
Keeping enough buy-ins for your stakes is the first and most important way to minimize poker downswings. According to Upswing, live poker players should keep 20-40 buy-ins, while online players should keep 100 buy-ins. You can read more about bankroll management here.
(If you don’t play poker for a living and can easily replenish your bankroll with earnings from your day job, you can be a bit more aggressive.)
Second, be willing to move down in stakes in order to minimize poker downswings. When you get back, the bigger games will still be waiting. Poker is a marathon.
Thirdly, be sure to discuss your poker hands with your poker network. What is the cause of your losses? Is it bad luck, or are you making mistakes? The ability to analyze your own hands can be challenging, so it is always a good idea to consult with others whose opinions you value.
Joining the Upswing Poker Lab gives you access to the Upswing Engage Group where members and coaches discuss hands and theory every day.
If you feel like a downswing is negatively impacting your mental health, you may want to take a break from playing poker. Studying and thinking about the game is still important, but avoiding time at the table completely is a great way to conquer tilt.
How Long Does Downswing Last in Poker?
It is necessary to state this first point: If you are a losing poker player, you will always lose money. This is a fact that is not avoidable.
Your win rate is essential to understanding the severity of downswings if you are a winning player. Poker players measure their edge in games through their win rate, which is calculated as the number of big blinds won per 100 hands (BB/100). Variety will have a lesser impact on you if your win rate is higher.
Using programs like PokerTracker 4, online players can track this easily. You can manually track your BB/100 for live players, but it is a little trickier.
Poker Downswings in Different Game Types
A poker downswing in a live poker game may be different from a downswing in an online poker game. Because of this, you can track your win rate more easily in online games than in live games. Here are the differences between the two poker downswings:
- There is a possibility that live players do have not much experience. As a result, you will have a higher win rate if you play poker against amateurs and beginners in a live game.
- Getting to the long run is quicker in online poker games, but you can play more hands.
In The Conclusion
It’s also important to remember that variance, while brutal, is the reason poker continues to be profitable. In a game where the best players always win, the worst players will get the motivation to keep playing. Despite the fact that bad beats stink, remember that most of the time, they leave broke while you have plenty of chips in the bank.