I’m in the middle of going thru a situation that sooner or later all of us have to go thru.  The same thing will happen for both cash games and tournaments and for me, it’s hit me hard at cash. 

For cash, I started out like everyone else, playing 2NL, then 5NL then 10NL then 20NL and once I beat all of those games consistently, moved to 50NL.  Well, to put it mildly, 50NL hasn’t been very kind to me as I hit a variance run (which can happen more frequently in a very fishy game) that I compounded by making a few mistakes on top of it.  I should be able to consistently beat the game, but when you start out at a level with a smaller allotted bankroll (as I withdrew a chunk of my roll to put toward other things, like my Vegas trip), problems can happen. 

I started out with an 8 buy-in roll, that would have been 20+ if I hadn’t withdrawn, and promptly dumped off 4 of them, won one back, lost 2 more, won two back and then lost them again, so for a two-month period, I’m consistently stuck between $200 and $250. 

Here’s how I’ve gone about trying to rectify it.  The first thing I did was to take a break from playing cash for a month (was easy to do since I was also in Vegas for over a week) and went back to sng’s and mtt’s, which are my highest ROI games, to get my confidence back.  I also went thru and did a thorough hand history review. 

After getting some wins in the sng’s and a couple decent cashes in mtt’s (a 50+ buy-in final table run sure doesn’t hurt), I decided to start back playing cash, but only having 1-2 tables on the side with an mtt or sng, instead of 3-4 tables of only cash.  I also dropped back to the tables that I’ve got the best track record on, which are 10NL or 20NL full ring, whichever I can get a seat at.  I’ve played and will continue to play some 6-max (actually done better at 20NL than 10NL for 6max), but the full ring games have been more profitable for me. 

If I don’t have a sng or mtt up, I’ve gone back to what I did on PokerStars before Black Friday which was to have 1-2 tables of NLHE tournaments but also to have one FLO8 cash table up.  Back then, I was just playing 2/4 or 5/10 cent tables, but now I’ve been playing 25/50 cent or $1/$2 or $2/$4, whichever game’s running… if any of them are even running at all.  Dave talked me into playing some FLO8 cash and I’m glad I listened, as it’s done a world of good for me.  Instead of two tourneys, I’ve had one tourney, one NLHE cash and one FLO8 cash up (used an STT if FLO8 isn’t running).  A lot of players that have multiple game types up will actually play worse in them since it’s different strategies that are needed (know that Brian would get on my case over and over not to mix game types or even to mix cash with tourneys as I know he wouldn’t mix them and I know for a fact that he played a ton better when he didn’t), but for some reason with me, if I have an O8 game up along with NLHE, it makes me concentrate more, and due to that, I play better.  Back then, I’d have the PSO league game or two up (if I lasted long enough to be in two at the same time), another tourney and then also an FLO8 cash table getting my VPP’s.

Well, after running things this way for a couple weeks, I’m up consistently at O8 when it runs (made it thru a variance run there too), still up a decent amount at sng’s and mtt’s (won my last two STT’s), and have made a marked improvement with my NLHE cash tables, as I’ve erased over 2/3 of the deficit, which is great because while at 50NL it might only be a 5 buy-in deficit, it’s 25 buy-ins at 10NL or 12 buy-ins at 20NL.  When it’s back in the green, I’ll take another shot at 50NL, but continue to do it this way (one table of it instead of 3-4) along with a tourney and possibly an O8 cash table or sng.

Everyone that plays is going to run into this type of situation eventually.  The key when you do is to review your hands, drop down to a level that you know you can consistently beat to build your bankroll back up and to get back to basics.  Then, once you rebuild your bankroll, take another shot, but use the information that you got from your reviews to plug the leaks that compound the problems and to keep playing the way that has made you a consistent winning player.