How to Maintain Confidence During a Downswing

“Another day, another losing session”

“Has the game passed me by?”

“Was I ever good to begin with?”

Thoughts like this go through every poker player’s head when they are in the middle of an extended downswing.

Once you learn the basics of creating poker confidence (this is what I discussed in part 2), it’s easy to be confident in your game when things are going well…

…but no matter how great your results have been in the past, it seems impossible to maintain confidence when it feels like you are losing every session no matter how well you are playing.

This is frustrating because when things are at their toughest you need your confidence the most.

That’s why in the 3rd and final post in this confidence series I’ll be sharing three strategies for maintaining confidence during a downswing.

In Part Two I shared my formula for confidence:

Skill + Awareness = Confidence

The strategies below are tactics to reinforce the two components of confidence.

The emotions that come with downswings often mask leaks in your game or lead you to think you are worse than you previously thought.

Using these strategies will allow you to take back control of your game and can help you play your best while you ride out the downswing.

Strategy #1: Assume Responsibility

It’s easy to blame luck and curse the “poker gods” while running bad.

However, mentally strong poker players always assume responsibility for their results.

Yes, there is variance in poker.

Yes, you have little control over your short term results.

But guess what?

It doesn’t matter!

Being emotionally attached to something you have no control over is very destructive.

Elite players know the results they achieve are a direct result of the actions they take, and assume responsibility for those results.

There are always areas of your game you can improve. When you take responsibility, you gain control in a situation where you once felt powerless.

The better you get at poker the more confident you can be that you are making the right plays…

… but to have the motivation to get better you MUST believe that your actions matter.

Always blaming bad luck or making excuses is simply saying you have no control over your poker outcome, and without control there can be no confidence.

Strategy #2: Get a Second Opinion 

This strategy works to improve both your skill and awareness.

Even when your process is solid you will have blind spots in your game.

Whether it be areas you are unconsciously avoiding or simply skills you haven’t developed yet, a skilled coach can help you identify the issue.

Getting high-quality coaching is a fantastic way to maintain confidence during a downswing.

When working with a coach they will either:

A): Find a major leak in your game which you can then fix, or

B): Confirm that you are on the right path

Discovering areas in your game where you are leaking money is obviously a great way to halt (or at least slow down) a downswing.

Having someone you respect validate the plays you have been making can give you some peace of mind (and a greater awareness of your game) during difficult times.

This awareness can often provide enough value by itself, with the improved skills being a bonus.

I can’t stress the value of getting skilled coaching during downswings enough, whether it be technical coaching or my mental game coaching (a combination of both is likely optimal).

Strategy 3: Remember How You Got Here

In Part Two we talked about the process of Earned Confidence. If you want to maintain confidence during a downswing you must focus on the process and not your results.

When you feel your confidence begin to crumble take a moment and think about the following:

  • The work you’ve done to improve your game
  • Your results over the long term
  • Times in your career where you made the correct decision, even when it was difficult.

If you’ve put in the work needed to be one of the top players in your game you should be able to quickly find these examples.

Doing this type of visualization work will help you recognize your skill level for what it really is, and not what your recent streak of losses makes you think it is.

A tool that I’ve created to help with this step is my Confidence Booster MP3.

The MP3 is designed to use hypnotherapy and visualization techniques to help you remember the reasons you should feel secure in your game and turn those reasons into confidence and motivation.

It’s a great way to make this step as simple as possible, and a tool I think every player should have on hand.

If you struggle to find examples that can restore your confidence, maybe it’s time to rethink how you approach the game.

It’s possible that your lack of confidence is a warning signal that you’re walking on thin ice in your poker career.

If you aren’t taking the steps necessary to earn confidence, then the time to start is now before the game passes you by.

Final Thoughts on Confidence

Let’s recap what you’ve learned over this three part series:

In Part One we asked some top pros their opinion on the importance of confidence to being a winning player.

We all agreed that it was essential…

…if you had the right kind.

In Part Two I cleared up the confidence controversy and showed you the type of confidence to avoid at all costs and the type that could take your game to the next level.

I then shared my exact formula for being a confident poker player and showed you how you could apply that formula to your game right away.

In Part Three I taught three strategies you can use to maintain your confidence during a downswing.

You should now have a very clear understanding about the true nature of poker confidence and have all the tools you need to start to become the confident poker player you know you are capable of being.

Plan out all the ways you’re going to earn your confidence from here on out.

How are you going to improve your skills?

What will you do to increase your awareness?

For the latter, I suggest you pick up a copy of my Confidence Booster MP3 as it’s the easiest way I know to increase your awareness, and can give you that boost of confidence when you need it most.

About the Author Elliot Roe

Leave a Comment:

1 comment
Bogdan says August 25, 2016

Amazing series Elliot, thank you!
This is needed to get back to reality, and approach poker from a different mindset. Self mastery, curiosity, passion and letting the money be the bi-product.

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