How to Handle a Bad Game

No matter how often you play poker or how much time you have spent honing your playing strategy, it is likely that at some point, you will simply face some bad luck. This may be because you misread a player and they outsmarted you, or because you made a risky gamble that didn't play out. Whatever the case, it is important to know how to protect yourself--and how to bounce back.

Plan Ahead

Since you can never be quite sure whether or not your luck will take a turn for the worse, it is important to prepare yourself for misfortune during every game. Try to slowly build up your chip stack early in the game. Don't get greedy: just go for small wins. This will not only give you time to read your opponents and perhaps plan a bigger move, but it will also allow you to compile some funds that may serve as padding in the event of a hit in the future.

Take Calculated Risks

Just because there is a chance that you'll be unsuccessful doesn't mean you should be forever afraid to take a potentially profitable risk. Sometimes, the money you make on a lucky hand may protect you against the fallout from some bad luck in the future. If your pot odds and implied odds are solid and you stand to make a good amount of money, play your hand.

Finally, don't let a bad game discourage you. Everyone hits a patch of bad luck once in a while. If you plan to be a serious poker player, you will have to learn how to recover emotionally and financially from your losses, learn from your mistakes, and move on.