Variance: The fear of losing.

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mischman

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Most people know that i was struggling with ring and losing a lot. With practice and the help of a certain CC Loyaler that helped mentor me ive been winning. I've played well over 1,000 hands with him watching and have seen him play hands and have discussed them along with lots of scenarios with him and it has been really helpful.

I am now winning regulary and it has built my confidence up, im winning money and enjoying it.

Today i played a $25NL Table with a bunch of CC people and i was up over a buyin and a half. It fealt great sitting there winning.

I looked back at the session and say
AA- +$7
AA- +$1
AA- -$2
KK- +$1
QQ- +3
QQ- +2

I got another few OK hands obv, AQ, AQ, AK, A10, thats not the point.

This was over a span of about 75 hands and im afraid that i just got lucky and will go back to losing soon. Advice?

Also, im winning a lot more and every time i get up about 2/3s a buy in i get scared and want to insta leave or start playing so tight and scared that i end up doing something stupid.
 
ChuckTs

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Read me

then grow some^^^



Sorry, had to bug ya.

One of the most effective ways of losing chips is to play with scared money. Just relax, use the stuff you've learned over the x months/years you've played and have fun. Something that's really helped me personally is playing over-rolled. Losing a whole buyin really doesn't hurt as much when you've got 50 instead of 20 (or however many).
 
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mischman

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Cant do that. Then i lose the value of money. If i played...a lot over my bankroll i wouldnt take it serious and would just donk off money. Could you take playing $5NL serious with $1,000? When i say serious i mean, just dont donk off on purpose.

I dont think its best to fix a problem with another problem.
 
Stick66

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Remember Misch. I had the same problem. I'd win a few hands and feel like taking the money & running. I was only averaging 25-30 hands per session.

What I did was set a number of hands as a goal when I sit down and try really hard to meet it. Of course, if things aren't good at that table, I leave. But I try to set a number like 50-60 hands at a cash game table (100 with CC folks). Then I feel better when I hit that goal number, no matter how well I'm doing.

You can set your own number, but the point is that it feels good when you have the problem we have and you hit your number.
 
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mischman

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Good idea and might help some but i still get scared when i get a big stack at ring.
 
edge-t

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Good idea and might help some but i still get scared when i get a big stack at ring.

I used to have that exact feeling. Then someone told me that. If you're gonna win 1 buy-in and lose it in the next session, than it doesn't make much sense to leave when you're up. It'll be better to keep playing when you're winning, till you're tired or getting bored.

It's a psychological thing. Just realised that you can lose it in the next session and play the best you can, and the fear will be gone by itself, in time.
 
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ph_il

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I think I used to have a similar problem. Especially when I went to casinos-I would by in, triple up, and then I would leave with nothing and I would wonder what happened. So, the next time I go and I triple up again, I had this fear of losing it.

When you build up your stack in cash games, you might feel the urge to play a little looser because you can afford it. There is nothing wrong with that and its exactly what I do. If I've tripled up my buy in, then I have a little more money to play with and I can take those gambles. However, there is a difference between loosening up your play and playing stupid. An example of playing stupid would be to risk half your stack on a gutshot draw. Just because you have the money to call doesnt mean you have to. Heck, just because you are up doesnt mean you have to alter your play at all. You can continue to play exactly the same way if you had tripled up or if you had the initial buy-in.

Do you feel obligated to call because you have a big stack? If you sucked out on someone and you're in a hand with them, do you feel like you should give them a chance to win it back when its a losing situation for you? If so, this could be one of your problems. I used to feel obligated to call a raise with a hand when everyone folded. And its stupid. Everyone who buys in, even you, is saying 'Im risking this money.' So, just because you take money from others, dont feel like you have to give it back.

Try to avoid things like:

-I know you have me beat, but I'll pay you off.
-Im curious to see what you have, so I'll call your bet.
-Betting a medium strength hand on the river...

One thing that has really helped me is to not consider your profit as part of your stack. If you buy in for $25 and you have a $75 stack, that $50 is your winnings thus far and you are only playing with your $25 buy in. Im not saying to ignore you stack completely, instead play as if you dont have a $75 stack. Play as if you still had a $25 stack-so, if you were in a situation where you wouldnt risk your $25 stack, then the same can be said if you were sitting on a $75 stack.

Example: Say you're sitting on $75 and you hold a 10J suited in late position. Its a decent hand to see a flop with and you can make a lot of money if you hit. Except when action gets to you, you're looking at a Raise, Call, Call, Reraise, Call. Of course, the usually correct play would be to fold, but sometimes you might get the mentality of "I can afford it with my big stack" So you make the loose call. However if you looked at it as if you were only sitting on small stack, your mentality might be "Im risking too much, so I fold."

I've seen a lot of people lose a lot of money because they play loose and they thinking "I can afford it." But what they are really saying is "I can afford to play loose and stupid because I have more money." So, try and to avoid thinking like that.

Of course, dont ignore the fact that you have more money. If you hold AA or you're on a monster draw with lots of outs-say open-ended, nut flush draw, and 2 overs to the board, then you're going to want to maximize on your profits..especially if you hold the best hand or your draw hits. If the pot odds given are correct to chase, then do so. You might not hit and lose your stack-and it will happen sometimes, but if you made the correct mathmatical choice, then you really cant fault yourself for it.

No matter if you're up, down, or even, try and play solid smart poker. Avoid getting yourself caught in risky situations with marginal hands, and try to always make the right decisions.

I like the idea Mr. Sticker suggest because I used to do the same thing, except that I play cash games at casinos. So, I dont play a set number of hands, but I play a time limit and a set BR to play with. Usually its 2 buy-ins and 6 hours of playing. I think setting a set amount you can spend and how long you can play is a great idea because it forces you to play smart.

Allowing yourself only 2 buy ins means that you have to play a lot tighter and a lot smarter. Even if I have 100 buy ins and I allow myself that, then I am risking my stack if I dont disipline myself. So, I can either play as long as I can on 1 or 2 buy ins. Or I might lose both buy-ins early and thats it for me. Of course, its so temting to buy back in online because its so easy. If you play at a casino, all you have to do is leave your atm/credit cards at home and bring just enough and you cant get tempted.

The time limit is set because that is when you tell yourself "enough is enough". Unless I am on a monster roll, and I seem to be sitting in the seat of God where every single hand i am dealt is golden-I will follow my own rule. Why set a time limit? Because if you dont-how will you know when to quit? If you're up, you certainly dont want to quit because you're making money. And if you're down, you dont want to quit because you want to give yourself a chance to get even. So, when you do you stop? As soon as I am dealt my cards, I set my phone alarm to go of 6 hours later. When it rings, it doesnt matter if I am up, down, or even, I finish playing that current hand and tell the dealer that I am done. I tell the dealer so they dont deal me in the next hand and I can focus on racking my chips. Also, I dont like like being dealt in after my time limit is up because I might get dealt a hand I want to play...so, i resist temptation and verbally announce that I am finished. Another reason to set a time limit or number of hands played limit is because you can avoid the "one more hand." syndrome. If you're thinking about quitting and you tell yourself "one more hand and Im done." How often does that really happen? Especially online when cards are dealt so fast-its hard to be true to "one more hand." "one more hand" can easily turn into "well, just one more." and then "Seriously, one more" and before you know it you've played another 20 hands. You might have won some money or might've lost some money. And if you've lost, you're probably kicking yourself for not leaving the table when you told yourself you would. At least at casinos, they have to push the pot, gather up the cards, and reshuffle...

ETA: Dont ever feel bad about getting up. There is no rule telling you that you have to sit down for X amount of time or that you have to give the other players a chance to win their money back. If you had a rush early on, tripled up, and then suddenly you find yourself card dead. Or the table is just playing way to loose for your liking, then get up. Call it quits for the day or find another table, but dont feel obligated to sit there and play if you arent able to play your A-Game.
 
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tenbob

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Cant do that. Then i lose the value of money. If i played...a lot over my bankroll i wouldnt take it serious and would just donk off money. Could you take playing $5NL serious with $1,000? When i say serious i mean, just dont donk off on purpose.

I dont think its best to fix a problem with another problem.

Cant I play serious poker on $5NL with a 1K Roll ? Yes and with a substantially bigger roll than that. ;) There is several reasons to do such a think, one of the bigger reasons being to force yourself to see your buy-in as "chips" rather than money. You should be prepared to put your stack in the middle with the best of it, even if its only a 1% edge in a cash game. This means some terrible beats, and some nasty swings, but since as your only playing $5NL then you should be able to do this easily. Now how about doing the same thing on $50NL ? Unless youve worked your way up though the limits, taken the beats and see poker for what it is then your wasting your time.

Your chip stack is a means to and end. A bigger stack should give you more opportunities to do a few things. Have a think about this Misch.
 
4Aces

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I do the same thing when im up about 1 or 2 buyins, i start playing tight and want to leave right there. But, if your beating that game and you are winning then why not stay?
 
robwhufc

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Not got much to say, other than hell of a post philthy
 
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mischman

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WOW, NICE JOB!

So what im feeling is that there is no real fix. I just need to set my mind and play right.

So i think i may start setting X minutes or X hands to play, do you think something as stupid as sticking a piece of duct tape over my chip stack on my screen would help?
 
ace2daface

ace2daface

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excellent posts above. good discussion starter too mischman. i play cash games primarily and i have to say that what philty, tenbob and others have to say above is invaluable advice.

wtg philty, geez when u get in your stride there is no stopping you!!
 
Ronaldadio

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I have got into this post late and glanced over the responses. I`m sorry if I say something that has already been said!!!

I feel the same way as misch about playing lower stakes - no point to me. Not because the money does not matter, but because the challenge I have set myself is not to be a pro player who makes a day by day living, but because I want to hit the big ones!!!

So playing a $0.05/0.10 ring game does nothing for me.

I`m not saying ppl who play those limit are wrong, its just their reason for playing the game is different.

I`m not a big ring game player - I get bored too easily, but to me I would prefer to chance say $50 in a MTT and chance winning $5k @ a big tourny with a large amount of entries than making that $5k over a year playing ring games.

I also accept that I could lose a lot of cash with nil return doing that.

So I think it all depends on what motivates you.

My advice on ring games, for what its worth, is make a decision what u will be happy with. So, for example, u might play $25 NL ring game and think "I`ll leave as soon as I turn that into $75 or I`ll leave if I get down to $20" (This is an example of figs, but you get my drift?)
 
dj11

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WOW, NICE JOB!

So what im feeling is that there is no real fix. I just need to set my mind and play right.

So i think i may start setting X minutes or X hands to play, do you think something as stupid as sticking a piece of duct tape over my chip stack on my screen would help?

NOT DUCT TAPE !!!!, leaves a nasty sticky residue. Several Post-it notes should block it out. I have done something similar, I forget just why I did it, or why I felt I needed to do it, but I remember it did what I wanted it to do, and have Post-it notes handy.

+rep for that post Philthy, got right to the meat of the matter. The other meat on that table is the difference between ring and MTT's. I have noticed mischman plays lots of tourney's. I also think that the mindset of the two is so totally different that to play one with he mindset of the other is about like playing bridge with a monopoly mindset.

I too am mainly a MTT player. And my fears at ring games are exactly the same.
 
swoop

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I know the feeling. Too many times I've donked away my whole buy-in after being way up by changing my style and playing too loose. An approach that works for me is to set plateaus. For example if my buy in was 5 units and I'm up to 11.5 units, I'll decide that if my stack drops below 10 units, I'll cash out before the next blind reaches me. If my stack increases, I'll increase my cash out level. Works for me!
 
vanquish

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Good idea and might help some but i still get scared when i get a big stack at ring.


Take it as you will, but this kind of goes back to what we were talking about in the 'why LAG works well' thread. You have to remember that cash games are not at all like tournaments - you can not be eliminated from a cash game. You have to accept the fact that you can win and lose all the money you have on the table in one hand, but you can not let this prevent you from making correct decisions. Believe it or not, you have to take advantage of any edge you have in winning the hand (in an all-in situation for example). In other words, if you are 60% to win, and you have to bet your entire stack to call, it is the right decision. Don't think of it as a huge risk, think of it as a proper investment. (If you lose, you still made the right cash game decision)
If the size of the bet (or your stack) makes you nervous about losing, consider moving down a level so that making the right decisions outweighs the importance of you not losing your stack. Once you can make all the right decisions, you will be winning a lot more than you will be losing, and those big stacks will get even bigger in no time.
 
vanquish

vanquish

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Argh I should have posted this in that other thread.
Whatever, all posts lead to misch
 
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