Its an outrageous statement i know but i wanna talk about what i mean and how it applies to poker.
You will often hear quotes along the lines of "You learn more when you lose than you do when you win". This holds very true in poker, probably more so than in other aspects of life.
Say for instance you are a SNG player, if you play 200 Sng's in a week and run at 11% roi you feel great. But what are you learning? I know a lot of you will say "well i do study when I'm winning at 11%" I'm not disputing that but can you honestly say that you study as much winning at 11% over 1000 as you would if you was losing at 11% over a 1000? The answer is most probably no and since poker is a long term game and for most of us sad souls a lifetime game the value of learning and becoming better players over our poker careers is worth a lot.
Most people give you a few options if your losing bad as mentioned above.
- Take a break and come back to the game when you feel you are playing your "A" game again
- Move down in limits
- Play through it
Now lets take a look at these options and their merits.
1) Taking a break
This is a valid option and to some that feel that stress building up inside of them is too much for them this is prob best, but what value does it have? When you come back from your break there is a good chance variance will still be there but now you are rustier than you was before and your poker skills if anything have decreased and as such in the long term this is possibly a -EV decision(note this doesn't apply to people who tilt easily and often or people that would use this time purely to study their game. In which case i would advocate that this is the most EV+ option)
2) Move down in limits
Now i see the validity in this option to help you regain your confidence but once again lets ask "what value does it have?" If you are a consistent winner at a particular limit(note once again if you are on very strict bankroll management or cant afford to refill this may be your only option) and you have a bankroll which can easily withstand your current variance stretch then why move down to regain confidence? you know this is a part of poker that will always be there. In the long run if you are a proven winner at limit then moving down is also a -EV$ decision.
These 2 points have led me onto point 3 which is the basis of this blog entry and why i think its beneficial.
3) Play through it
Don't get me wrong I'm not saying that playing through it is the best option for everyone as i have stated above, but think about the benefits you will gain.
- Firstly by playing through you will end this particular variance stretch quicker.
- Secondly, as you keep losing you try harder to win and as such you actively seek leaks in your game and how to fix them.
I see both of these points as EV+. Especially the second point. If by losing 50 buy ins you have filled leaks that will allow you a 0.5% roi increase over your poker career then how much money will that make you over your poker career?!
To conclude, you can see that losing can actually have a very positive outcome on your long term game.