EDITOR'S NOTE: Jay Lovinger is on a losing streak, and it isn't pretty. It's so ugly, in fact, it's going to take him three columns to work his way through it. Last week was Part II. Before that, Part I. Today is Part III of Jackpot Jay: Into the Abyss.
It seemed like it might be wise to tap some of my better poker-playing friends and acquaintances for advice, assuming they are still willing to be publicly associated with me after my long losing streak.
For the most part, they generously shared tales of their own epic streaks -- or, at least, some insight into how they finally got back into the good graces of the temperamental god Poker.
The best way ever discovered to end a losing streak
Greg Raymer's worst-ever losing streak ended when he won the 2004 World Series of Poker and $5 million. Hey, maybe that's what I have to look forward to!
"In February, I won about $40,000 in the Sunday tourney at PokerStars," Raymer says. "Then I went on vacation and a business trip to Florida. After that, I lost about $60,000 before winning the WSOP. It was essentially just a series of bad beats piling up on me. At the end of each night, I'd see I was down by somewhere between one and five pots, and had taken one- and two-outer beats on between three and eight pots. Invariably, if I had just broken even on those pots, I would've been ahead for the night instead of behind."
So how did The Fossilman cope?
"I just kept reminding myself that bad *&$% happens in poker, and that you've got to just make sure you keep making the best possible decision every time, no matter what," Raymer says. "In my case, intellectual belief in my decisions -- and that luck will even out going forward -- got me through it."
Well, that, and booking a nice $5 million win, which, you've got to admit, is a stylish way to break any losing streak.
From England, with love
When Joe Beevers, who is 25 percent of England's Hendon Mob, started playing poker for real money, he almost never lost. By his calculation, his success rate for winning sessions was about 90 percent, "though that figure may have been a little skewed because I massaged it a bit. For example, if I had been intending to play until 4 a.m., but had been losing, and it was now 3 a.m. and I'd just gotten out of it and gone 10 pounds in front, I would stop early and register the win," he says.
Basically, Beevers managed to float along for years without ever confronting a major losing streak ... until an ill-fated poker trip to a Paris festival, which featured some of the best action in the world.
"I had top set beat by second set, top full beat by quads, straight flush beat by straight flush," he says. "I would have thought it impossible to lose to so many one-outer and two-outer hands as this in a year, let alone a week. I started to play badly, and I lost more than I should have."
This taught Beevers an important lesson: "You can never be a great poker player unless you have gone broke at least once."
Beevers also cautions against denial -- specifically, the belief that a bad run is strictly a result of bad luck.