**Betting carefully** and controlling emotions are part of dealing with bad luck at the poker table.

To avoid getting eliminated immediately, start by betting 5-10% of your total stack per hand.

If you have $1000, the amount per hand should be between $50 and $100.

Combine **pot odds** and **hand odds** to make wise decisions; for example, if you have a 20% chance of winning, you can bet $30 into a $100 pot.

**Adjusting your betting strategy**

The downside of bad luck in poker is that you might get stuck in a rut, with nothing going your way.

This is when **adjusting your betting strategy** becomes very important.

So, how do you start?

First, if you’ve been on the losing side for a few hands, don’t go **all-in** to try to recover your losses.

This will ultimately lead to faster failure.

In the game, avoid betting too much per hand (e.g., 33% or more), and instead, try to keep each bet within 5-10% of your total stack, especially considering the **house edge**.

Avoid making foolish decisions.

If you started with $1000 in chips, betting around $50 to $100 per hand is within my comfort zone.

This way, even if you lose a few more hands, you still have a chance to come back.

Next, you should **adjust your play** according to the flow of the game.

If opponents suddenly start betting frequently (they might have strong hands), in such a situation, it’s usually best to **fold** rather than **call**.

Conversely, if the overall situation looks cautious, you might be one of twelve or more **pre-flop** callers with your small bet.

Assume the first two cards you get are a **7 of Hearts** and an **8 of Diamonds**.

Not the best hand, right?

However, if the flop is **9 of Hearts**, **10 of Clubs**, and **Jack of Spades**, you would have a **straight**.

This is the time to make a modest increase in the bet.

But if the **turn** and **river** are **2 of Clubs** and **4 of Diamonds**, not improving your hand, you might consider checking or folding, especially if others are betting too aggressively.

What’s suggested here is the strategy of **“semi-bluffing“** in poker.

If you get a hand that’s not great but not too bad, then raising the bet slightly can convey a strong message of confidence.

For example, when the **flop** shows **King of Spades**, **9 of Hearts**, and **2 of Diamonds**, and you have **Ace of Spades** and **10 of Clubs**, that might be enough to attempt a draw-bet (especially using **blockers**).

Sometimes, doing this will make your opponents fold because they think you have a better hand than you actually do.

Never play with just **one strategy**.

For instance, you can lowball a bit in one round before increasing the bet in the next to catch your opponents off guard.

All this **unpredictability** makes you hard to read, which is why the odds tend to favor you!

Statistics show that players who change their betting styles win at least 20% more hands.

Because sometimes your luck is just really, really bad, the best thing to do is to **take a break**.

As poker legend **Doyle Brunson** famously said, “It’s not whether you won or lost, but how many bad beats you avoided.”

This advice is invaluable in practice.

**Observing table dynamics**

During a bad luck streak, observing the **dynamics at the poker table** can greatly impact your overall game.

So, what kind of changes can we witness at the poker table, and how do you need to adapt?

First, check **player behavior**, which is the most important thing.

For example, a player who regularly places big bets might suddenly play very cautiously.

This change could imply a lack of confidence in their hand, or they are attempting to bluff the table.

Conversely, a usually cautious or conservative player who suddenly starts betting a lot might have very strong hands.

By using **stats**, you can figure out what your opponent is doing and get a free play about 70% of the time.

For example, you notice a player who usually raises (or re-raises) only when they have a **top pair** or better suddenly starts betting aggressively after the flop.

If their bet size is double or triple their usual amount, you should be cautious.

Suppose you have **Queen of Hearts** and **Jack of Spades**, but the flop is **10 of Hearts**, **7 of Diamonds**, and **3 of Clubs**; calling might be harder than it initially seemed.

Their aggressive betting could mean they have a **pair of Kings or Aces**.

Another important factor to keep an eye on is **betting patterns**.

For instance, many players who are used to certain betting styles follow specific patterns, such as small bets on the flop with made hands, medium bets on the turn, and high stakes on the river.

Understanding these patterns can provide insights into their strategy.

If you have a **high-ranking hand** like **Ace of Spades** and **King of Diamonds**, and the flop is low or doesn’t pair with the King (like **Ace of Clubs**, **9 of Diamonds**, **5 of Spades**), if your opponent places a minimal bet, consider raising their pot.

If they bet much larger on the turn, you can either call or fold depending on how strong your hand is.

**Community cards** are also very important.

For example, if the flop shows **3 of Spades**, **4 of Hearts**, and **5 of Clubs**, and you have **6 of Hearts** and **7 of Diamonds**, that’s a **straight**.

In this case, watching how others respond can guide your next move.

You might bet to keep the pot and hope everyone checks.

However, if there’s a strong raise, it’s possible your opponent has anything from **pocket 7s** to a **higher straight** (like **7 of Clubs** and **8 of Spades**), in which case the best move might be to fold until the turn.

Consider the **game tempo** as well.

If we notice that the game has suddenly slowed down and players around us are playing very passively, this could mean they’ve decided to pick their spots more carefully (note: these players are unlikely to fold **pre-flop** to contest for position).

Actually, this change is subtle but significant.

If the board slows down, you might want to ramp up your aggression—especially if you have a good hand.

For example, you have **10 of Clubs**, and the flop is **King of Clubs** with two Hearts—if your hand is **9 of Clubs**, you can afford to bet more aggressively, getting rid of weaker hand ranges and making sure there’s less **dead money** in the pot when you hit your **flush draw** on the turn or river.

**Using mathematical probability**

**Mathematics** can be very useful in poker, especially when your luck deteriorates.

To simplify things, let’s go through the same reasoning exercise with some basic data and templates.

First, let’s talk about **pot odds**.

Suppose there’s $100 in the pot, and you need to pay another $20 to continue.

Your pot odds are **5 to 1**.

Now consider your **hand odds**, i.e., the chance of completing that flush or straight.

If you’re chasing a flush draw, there are **13 cards** of that same suit in the deck, and you have **two in your hand**, with **two more given** to everyone else holding possible drawing hands.

This means there are **9 additional cards** left of the same suit in the remaining deck.

That gives you about a **19.6% chance** of hitting your flush on the turn, which is almost exactly **4 to 1 odds** (or really, what works out closer to a **four-to-one** shot).

In this case, it’s a great call because the hand odds are far better than the pot odds.

Another thing to consider is **EV (Expected Value)**.

This helps you determine whether a choice is valid in the long run.

For example, you have **Ace of Spades** and **King of Diamonds**, and you calculated in your head that with a pot size of $200, the odds are 30% to take it down pre-flop, but calling is just $50.

When your EV is positive, that means it’s a profitable call.

The **rule of four and two** is another helpful calculation.

This preliminary count helps you estimate the probability of completing your draw.

If you have **four cards** to a straight and/or flush after the flop, simply multiply the **number of outs by 4** (8*4=32%) for your shot at hitting by the river.

If your view is limited to the **turn**, then multiply by **2**.

An **open-ended straight draw**, for example (8 outs), should complete by the river about **32%** of the time.

Example: You hold **9 of Hearts** and **10 of Spades**, and the flop is **7 of Diamonds**, **8 of Clubs**, and **2 of Hearts**.

If you need a **6** or one of your opponent’s outs to make a flush, that leaves you with just **8 outs**.

If the pot is **$80** and someone bets **$20**, then you have **4 to 1 odds** on this call.

According to the **rule of four and two**, you might actually be as high as **32%** (or 2:1) by the river.

Calling has the **hand odds** to boot the pot, so it’s okay.

Also, consider **implied odds**.

These are a kind of **futures bet**.

You might want to gain an extra $50 on the river if you hit your flush, so factor that into the current pot size.

If you’re playing a pot against **two other players**, and the total amount in the pot is **$150** with **$50 to call**, your equity isn’t just what percentage chance you have on each turn alone but also the rest of it based on how strong or weak your personal hand is.

So if your hand has **35% equity** against two opponents, that means you’re expected to win **35% of the pot** on average.

Your share would then be **$52.50** with the pot at about **$150**.

If you’re in with a **$50 call** and your equity is at **$52.50**, that’s a profitable call.