Bad poker streaks are primarily due to three reasons:
1) Making bad decisions at the tables
2) Emotional and mental fatigue
3) Lack of volume
Fortunately, we have control over two of those 4 reasons. Can you guess which those 3 reasons we DO NOT control?
YES I GUESSED IT…VARIANCE!
So, we will not waste time talking about something we have no control over. Variance is something that affects all of us equally and is beyond our reach. Where we do have control and, in fact, it is OUR responsibility is in the first two points. I think it's a good time to clarify something here and this is where many tend to get confused. When we say that we do not control the variance, I mean directly, in the sense that we cannot control which cards are dealt to us or which cards are distributed both to the other players and in the board.
But we CAN control the variance indirectly by improving our decisions at the table, strengthening our mental and psychological state and playing as many games/hands as we can. By achieving this, we would be reducing the variance to its smallest expression. Understand that we can NEVER eliminate variance completely, we can only reduce it to a minimum. But Variance is a “necessary evil” that maintains this beautiful discipline beatable so players like you and me can play it not for fun but generate profit on a regular bases.
• Improving our decisions at the table
– This a major factor! Not playing a good and solid style of play will inevitably cause us to lose money at the tables. And this is where the bad streaks will increasingly become more frequent and longer. We must constantly work on our game, reviewing records, taking notes and actively participating in group discussions to develop the ability to extract every penny in EV from our decisions at the tables. Only then, we will reduce our long-term variance.
• Strengthening our mental and psychological state
- It is not enough to be an excellent player but we also need to have a solid mindset. I have seen over and over again how excellent players fall into a bad streak and start to get desperate, angry, frustrated, etc., and as a result, they begin to make mistakes. We must learn that, variance is part of the game and that there is nothing we can do about it. On the contrary, we must be grateful for it since thanks to the variance bad players continue to deposit money, feeding the ecosystem and keeping this game beatable so that players like you and me can develop professional or semi-professional careers in it.
• Playing as many games/hands as we can
– Once we have develop a healthy mindset and we´re playing a solid a profitable game all we need now is to maximize the games/hands we play in a month without losing sight of or sacrificing the two factors mentioned above.
I know it sounds simple, but each of these factors itself is a beast that takes time to master. Even being able to maximize our monthly volume of play has its peculiarities. It is not enough to load 20 tables if we start making bad decisions at the table. Nor is it enough to play for 20 hours a day because this will have a negative impact on both our mindset and our physical health. On the contrary, we must find the balance where all these variables are maximized. A point at which we could play a maximum number of games / hands, maintaining a game A and enjoying an excellent mental and psychological state.