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Don't Lose it All Back
CEO "Rocket Boy" 10.02.2006

Many times I've seen Players win big then lose it all back and more. It never happens to me since I'm happy to lock in a win. Sometimes even a small win is enough, depending on the action, how long I've been playing, and many other factors. But I've seen many players accumulate mountains of chips, then lose it all back again.

Why? I think there are several win-big then lose-big scenarios, and two of them are defined by a player's mental state:

Easy Come, Easy Go
This is the one I've seen most often. Players get a big chip stack by being lucky, either by hitting drawing hands, or getting into good situations, or winning more than their share of races. You've seen it too: players chasing draws with poor odds and/or winning coin flips and/or looking down at aces in late position after there are several all-ins.

Then they lose their stack by continuing to "play lucky" after their card rush ended. They'll chase and miss, overplay top pair / top kicker and lose, and get out-raced. Some players will win big early and stick around a little too long. Sure, you're supposed to stay at a game when you're winning. But maybe they didn't want to hit-and-run, or they waited an hour for a seat, or it's raining outside. So they stay even when they start losing and don't quit.

Bad Luck
A smaller percentage of the time the big stack loses his chips by straight bad luck. In no-limit, you don't necessarily need to win many pots to build a big stack. Conversely, it doesn't take many losses to lose it all.

You can play great all night and build a stack. Then your aces get cracked by jacks, you flop top set and someone rivers a straight, and then your nut straight gets rivered by a baby flush.

Well there just ain't much you can do about being unlucky. All you can do is leave the table and cut your losses. Quit before you do, in fact, lose it all back. It's like when you're "running bad": all you can do to stop it is to take a break.

Sicko Gambler
Some players aren't playing to win money. Once in a while I've seen guys who wanted to gamble it up and create chaos just for yucks. One guy in particular would win big at pai-gow, and decide to take a break and throw a party at the no-limit hold'em tables. He'd buy in and shove it all in the middle. Blind. He'd dust off rack after rack and just rebuy, shove, bust, and repeat.

Everyone else at the table wants this kind of action, so starting hand requirements vanish. This is great if you happen to pick up good hands while the maniac isn't catching cards. But when they do get lucky, they'll win enormous pots. Which of course makes them even more dangerous, until they start to double up other players and eventually bust out and leave. Maybe it's a release of tension for them. They can throw benjamins around and whoop it up in a way that would get them kicked out of the serious, genteel pai gow room. I'll never know.

Tilt Monger
Another ego-driven player type is the "tilt monger". Their only mission is to put ridiculous beats on people and also bluff people off big pots just to stroke their own egos. It's as though their chips are just tools to tilt everyone else, and making others lose money is more gratifying than actually winning money for themselves.

A guy like this was at my table one time, and he was relentless at being the bad beat table captain. I saw him go from a few hundred to over $1400 in a $200 buyin game. Almost always with hands like Q2 and flopping trips deuces, or 64 and rivering a straight, all for huge pots. He actually said "I'm here to put beats on people" and he did precisely that.

I was having a miserable session, but at least I got to see the guy's rise and eventual fall. He'd play the same cheese, try to humiliate far better players, and finally start to lose. Sick rushes can only last so long, his ended, and people started helping themselves to his stack. A new player sat down and took most of his chips in just a few hands. I finally busted him for his last $35 or so.

It was like he wanted to destroy everyone at the table, including himself. We all wanted to destroy him too, but by the time I had my shot at him, he was nearly broke already.

If you're reading this, you're probably neither a sicko gambler or a tilt monger. And if you are one of those two types, you probably need more help than anyone here at FlopTech is qualified to provide you. But if you're just starting to get unlucky or if you play a little on the happy-go-lucky end of the spectrum, you can quit while you're ahead.