Downstreak and Dispersion in poker

Sometimes a poker player just starts to constantly lose without any obvious reason. This situation is called a “downstreak”. It is important to distinguish between a downstreak and a single lost game. Downstreaks are usually prolonged, which means it can take some time to get out of it. It is absolutely necessary to understand that downstreaks can befall any player, and it is unlikely you’ll avoid one.

A downstreak is usually a result of something called “dispersion” – a mathematical difference between expected long-term financial gains and real short-term income. Of course, more often than not the dispersion is not in the favor of the player, which can harm self-confidence, causing even more losses. The difference between desired results and the real ones can upset and disappoint the player, forcing more irrational plays.

 To beat a downstreak, you have to keep in mind that it’s unacceptable to tilt and try to manically change your strategies mid-game. You have to face the fact of a downstreak’s inevitability for any player and think of it as just another aspect of poker. It is pointless to follow pseudo professionals’ advice and try to mathematically predict the beginning and the end of a downstreak – instead of torturing yourself with formulas, it is smarter to focus on improving your self-discipline and poker skills. Moreover, some professional players claim that downstreaks reveal the flaws of one’s poker strategy and create a space for improvement.

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