Friday, June 13, 2008

Dropping Down in Levels

Switching from tournament play to cash game play can be a painful transition. I have switched between the two modes several times over the past couple of years to keep the game interesting. However, I have learned from these transitions that dropping down a level or two makes a lot of sense to limit transition losses and to build confidence.

Tournament poker and ring game poker are very different animals. I make moves in a tournament that I would rarely, if ever, try in a ring game. However, if you have been playing tournaments for 4-5 months straight and then suddenly switch to cash games, your playing style is not going to automatically convert. There is a transition and you have to be cognizant of the transition to limit your potential losses.

When you are in the zone for either cash games or tournaments, you play with a lot of confidence and it is easy to take a bad beat because you know that you are making good decisions. But during a transition, your confidence may not be at 100% so beats can lead to tilt -- which leads to big losses.

As a result, I like to drop down a level or two during the transition back to cash games to limit the potential for tilt losses. If I would normally play $1/$2 NL, I will drop to $.50/$1.00 or even $.25/$.50 (for a couple sessions). This helps to build confidence and re-sharpen my cash game strategy before hitting my normal level.

Remember that the players definitely get better as you increase in level and there is no reason to butt heads with better players until you are ready with your A game.


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