1. Clear the Desk
This is a term that you will sometimes hear in the corporate world. It generally applies to finishing off little tasks before going home, leaving for the weekend or taking a vacation so that you are not distracted while away from work with those little things hanging over your head. My experience with it has been a little different. Just recently I went through a definite downswing for about two weeks. When looking at it afterwards, the cause was obvious. It wasn't bad beats or any crap like that, it was that I hadn't "cleared the desk". During the same period I was working on a project. I had no set "due date" to complete the job so I found myself pushing it off a little even though I knew that I should be working on it. Instead, I would log on to play cards with the thought "I can play for 90 minutes, then I need to get to work". I found myself being a little too aggressive to try to eek out some winnings in my short time span. Meanwhile I was slightly distracted thinking about the work that needed to be done. Then when I would take an (inevitable) loss it would feel twice as bad, because if I had just been working like I should have, I wouldn't have dropped $200. While it wasn't a huge financial loss, it sure felt a lot worse because of the situation. We have all heard "don't play with scared money". I think that playing with "scared time" might even be worse. Clear the desk before you play, so that you can bring the full brunt of your focus to the table and not needlessly sap your Emotional Bankroll.
2. Don't Throw Out the Baby with the Bathwater
When going through a downswing (even as short as 2 or 3 days) when you have just been getting your teeth kicked in, one of two things happens. A donkey will automatically blame it on bad luck. This may or may not be the case, but they never seem to even consider the chance that it may be of their own doing. A good player will sometimes over-analyze everything to the point of insanity. This is the situation to which I am referring. They think that they must have a glitch in there game so they start trying all kinds of things. Playing more hands, playing fewer hands, making more bluffs, making no bluffs, laying down to any raise or never laying down, no matter what.
If you have been a consistent, winning player, stick with what works. There is actually something I say to myself all the time (mainly because I have so much faith in Lorin's System).
System + Time = Money
And it is so true. Lorin has started telling his students this as well and it is a great way to get through the bleakness of a downswing. If what you do works, feed it some hands and let it do it's job. We will all have those standard deviations from the mean. And while I have found that a downswing is a decent time to do some evaluation and tweaking, don't throw out the baby while dumping out the dirty bathwater. If a pitcher has a bad game, he may check to make sure that he was arching his back or that his release point is where it should be. He doesn't just scrap his entire motion and delivery and start over, and neither should you.
Well there are two points to start off with. I plan on doing more in the series on mistakes (it could take me years to cover all the ones that I make). I do hope that you will throw up you own little tidbits here on The Stort Stack Hero. It's not giving away any strategy, and maybe it will help exorcise some of your own little poker demons by having to call them out into the light of day.
Best of luck at the tables (and away from it for that matter)......