Let’s face it, poker is a very stressful game. Especially for lower stakes players not experienced enough to know the whole nature of what is happening and an understanding of variance. In addition, low limits, and especially micro limits, are a jungle. There are a considerable number of bad players, including those utterly frostbitten, so sometimes it’s impossible to know what they might do next.
Bad beats and their negative impact are inevitable. Here are five effective ways to reduce the impact of tilt.
Losing your head when bad beats and coolers are raining down on your head at breakneck speed can happen. Give yourself regular short breaks to regain your composure.
Allow yourself to make mistakes
One of the main reasons people tilt is because they beat themselves up for their mistakes. From time to time, you will play bad. Sometimes you will incorrectly put your opponent on a range or make incorrect reads on him, resulting in big pots lost.
You will never become a perfect player, although this is always worth striving for. Everyone makes mistakes, and you have to admit that this is normal.
Constantly remind yourself of the distance
Remember that no matter what is happening now, you still win in the long run. Short-term distance is just an illusion and does not matter.
You can even create some kind of physical “reminder” for yourself to help you remember this. For example, try using a screenshot of the long-term schedule as a reminder and post it somewhere visible.
Often such reminders greatly help to cheer up and recover from despair. Make it impossible to ignore your long-term success. This will help you realize that what is happening right now is not real or does not reflect the big picture of your game.
Change your inner thinking
The main problem with tilt lies in the negative thoughts that begin to emerge in your head when things are going badly. And you may start believing them, which subsequently leads you to a “victim mentality”. In turn, this leads to feelings of frustration and further poor emotional decision making.At times like this, you might start saying things to yourself like:
“Yes, they always close flushes against me!”
“Yes, they always have aces there when I have kings!”
“These fish always get their lucky two outs on the river against me!”
The problem with these claims is that these affirmations are almost always untrue. Simple math tells us that a flush draw is always a significant underdog against a made hand. Coolers like KK vs AA are extremely rare, and lucky cards are called lucky for a reason.
Take poker easy
When things go wrong at the tables, ask yourself how important it really is within your life and the big picture. Will one lousy poker day or week cause your world to fall apart? Does losing 3, 5, or even 10 buy-ins really make a big difference in your life? Most probably not.
Find fun in this game. Even the top players in the world often get slapped hard by variance. What is the point of being angry and upset about this, spoiling the mood and health of you and your loved ones?
Your own play is the only thing you can control in poker. As long as you make the right decisions regularly, you will win more than you lose and be happy about it.
If you get too frustrated by your short-term results, it’s good to take a short break from the tables. Being competitive and striving to win is great, but your short-term results will always be out of your control in this game.