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Are you a poker player that has gotten frustrated with poker to the point that you want to quit the game? That’s understandable. Poker is getting tougher to beat consistently and many players are getting to the point that they want to quit rather than play the role as a fish.

While it is understandable that you don’t want to continue your losing ways, might we suggest a few changes before you give up the game entirely. After all, many of you have dedicated years of your life to the game and it would be a shame to quit rather than just making a few adjustments. Here are five things you should try before you give up poker completely.

Change Your Goals

What are your goals for poker? Do you aspire to turn pro or use your poker income to help support yourself? If you find that you are unable to meet your current goals in poker, consider adjusting your goals.

There’s no shame in admitting that you aren’t presently talented enough to accomplish certain goals in poker. The reality is that a small percentage of poker players will be truly successful long term.

Before giving up on the game entirely, consider making more attainable goals. Instead of trying to turn pro or use poker to support yourself, maybe use poker as a way to generate additional income or build money towards a particular financial goal.

Sometimes your game will improve by simply making the game less stressful. If you are playing the game more recreationally rather than professionally, the reduction in stress can help to improve your game.

Move Down in Stakes

We know. You’ve read about a dozen different articles about how you should move down in stakes to improve your game. But have you actually done so? The problem with many players is that they start playing at a certain level and their ego prevents them from dropping down, even when it is painfully obvious that they should do so.

Dropping down in stakes will help you regain your confidence, provided that you start winning again. Of course, if you are dropping down in stakes and still regularly losing, then there may be deeper issues in your game that need to be addressed.

Change from Tournaments to Cash Games or Vice Versa

A large number of players that get into poker do so playing poker tournaments. While tournaments are a lot of fun and can net a massive payday, they also have insane variance. It’s similar to playing baseball. Even the best players tend to fail 70 to 75 percent of the time.

The difference is that in poker, you are putting up money to play and unless you are hitting big scores in the times you do cash, you are often just bleeding money.

As such, you may want to try you hand at playing cash games. While it is true that they require different strategies, sometimes a player will find that a different format will benefit their game. Many poker players will focus on cash games and play tournaments as an aside.

Conversely, if you find that you are struggling at cash games, then you might want to try your hand at poker tournaments. Poker tournaments have a fixed buy-in and this can be a beneficial to those on a losing streak.

The fact is that some players are better suited to tournaments over cash games or vice versa. Sometimes a cash player spins his wheels at tournaments when he should be playing cash. Making the switch may get you back on a winning track.

Educate Yourself

You simply cannot expect to win on a consistent basis in poker unless you take the time to work on your game. If you aren’t studying and trying to improve yourself, you will eventually hit a wall.

Sadly, there are too many players stuck in a rut of trying to use the same strategies that used to work five or ten years ago. They get frustrated when they cannot win and don’t take the time to learn new strategies.

There are so many options out there for you to improve your game. All you have to do is take advantage of them. Hire a coach, sign up for a training site, buy a couple of books or register for an online poker forum; these are just a few of the options out there.

Any improvement you attempt to make will pay dividends in time. Like any other job, sport, or passion, you have to practice and learn new skills to improve.

Try New Venues

Whenever someone gives advice on how to improve your game, they typically tell you to move down in stakes and get training. You seldom hear them tell you to try to play elsewhere. One thing you may want to experiment with is playing poker in different locations to see if you can improve your results.

Why would this work? There are a few reasons. First, if you are regularly playing in the same poker room or with the same players on a regular basis, they probably have pegged your style.

Next, there’s a chance that the players in your game just are significantly better than you are. You are trying to overcome the experience and training of superior players and that is not done overnight.

Attempting to play in new venues can help you break a losing streak or find easier games to beat. For example, many players will try several different online poker sites because they aren’t able to win consistently on PokerStars. The games on PokerStars have been getting increasingly tougher, leaving players to try to find somewhere else where they can win more consistently.

This last tip will definitely help you determine whether your losing streak is based more on variance or on poor play. If you find that you’re still losing as frequently after changing venues, then your game is what needs fixing.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.

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