Handling Tilt

11What is tilt?

When one plays poorly due to being affected by typically recent, losing experiences.

Everyone who has played Poker has experienced a bad run. It’s not fun. Over the course of 6 hours, when one only receives a hand of AA only to lose it to some raggedy K7. When one is emotionally invested in a hand and ends up losing it, it could potentially put him/her on tilt. When losing hand after hand, it isn’t hard to end up on tilt.

When one doesn’t handle tilt properly, they can spiral into a huge vortex of lost money.

Take a breather, take a break. Take a moment to distance yourself from the table.Do any other activity that will take your mind off that hand. There is nothing  worse than to let past experiences negatively influence your actions in future hands. This only leads to imperfect poker play.

If you are experiencing a more long term tilt, it is time to shift the blame onto yourself. If you are experiencing weeks of bad runs, bad beats, and the like, and not letting it impact your actions, then don’t worry. Everyone goes through bad runs. Tell yourself that you are still playing perfect poker and are simply getting unlucky and that you will make money in the future if you continue to play perfect poker.

Poker is a game of variation, it is not completely skill based. It is completely possible for people to go on months or bad runs at a time. You can only not let it affect your play and realize that you will make money long term.


Experience, Improvement

Bad Beats

4Bad beat: a situation in which a player with the better hand bets and another player with the clearly weaker hands makes a bad call, lucks out with the community cards, and wins the hand.

How players handle bad beats will determine the type of player they are. If one reacts negatively to bad beats and starts raging or tilting, they are more prone to make poor decisions later on in the game and end up losing money they shouldn’t have. If one reacts positively, then he will have increased chances of maintaining a peak performance during the game. Poker is a game that requires immense concentration and focus.

What do you do when you get a bad beat?

The only viable option is that you accept that it happens to everyone. Not only you. It happens to professional players too. It can be hard to deal with a bad beat if you take it personally. Bad beats happen due to the variance in Poker. Everyone will have good runs and bad runs. Poker is not a 100% skill based game.  If a player is feeling lucky, then they will make a bad call and luck out.

Experience, Improvement

Tanking the Heat

3Anyone who has played Poker knows the feeling when someone makes a bet that outsizes your entire stack of chips, forcing you to go all-in if you want to proceed in the round. It’s an easy situation if you actually have a bad hand. All you have to do is lay down your hand and move onto the next hand. It’s also an easy situation if you have the best possible hand. You call the player’s bet and rack in some easy money.

But what do you do if you have a good but not great hand?

You’ll probably “tank” for a while, taking a period of time to critically analyze the situation and determine the correct decision.

This is normal. There will be huge heaps of pressure on you. You will double your stack and possibly more, or lose it all. These are the moments that define a player. These are the moments you analyze your opponent’s “actions” up until this moment and their overall demeanor. These are the moments you try to narrow your opponents hand down and try to figure out what two cards they have. You try to determine who has the better hand between you two or if they are bluffing.

It is at the end of this long silence you will come out a smarter player with another learned experience under his/her belt. A smarter player with double his/her stack or one forced to make the walk of shame, leaving the table with no chips left to play.

Regardless the results, these are the situations poker players yearn to be in as they have the potential for huge winnings.