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Dealing with poker related stress - & bad beat stop loss limit?

    • Royaltramp
      Joined: 28.11.2010 Posts: 215
      Okay well a few days ago I managed to drop all the way from $55 to $33, it started with a few bad beats (AA cracked by J2, that kinda thing), and then severe tilt for a couple of days. Over the last 3 days (NL2, and only a few 100 hands a day) I grinded my way back up to $39, and then this morning to $42, but I hit another couple of bad beats and managed to lose all the way down to $33.80, only ~$0.80 above my previous all time low.

      The thing is, when I start tilting I trick myself into believing I'm still just getting bad beats and my play isn't at fault - when really it is very much at fault and I'm causing myself huge losses. Then I end up losing even more, and when I quit for the day, even though the loss is minute in comparison to my total cash, it leaves me feeling drained, really stressed, and makes everything else not so fun.

      So how do you guys deal with poker related stress? I don't mean for playing the game, I mean for still being able to enjoy the rest of your day if you've had a big downswing. I had a bunch of stuff planned for today and I just can't be bothered with it now, just going to sit around on my PC most likely.

      Also, I have a stop loss limit of 2 BI (which I forgot to adhere to today, but I remembered eventually, and left when down 2.5 BIs, so it's not all bad) - but I don't think it's helping much, even when I do adhere to it. I notice nearly all my tilt starts with a single bad beat, so I'm wondering if maybe I should have 2 stop loss limits: 1) Quit completely for the day after losing 2-3 BIs, and 2) Quit for 10-15 minutes after any bad beat, or at least do some pushups or go eat a sandwich or something to take my mind off it.

      Good idea?

      Edit: On a semi-related note, another thing I've noticed is, I could lose 90% of my money one day, and that day I would feel absolutely awful, but I could come back the next day, make $0.01, and I'd feel great that day just because I'm up overall. This seems irrational to me.
  • 5 replies
    • Bliausmas
      Joined: 11.03.2010 Posts: 741
      Setting a stop-loss limit is a really good idea IMHO. But you'll need to follow that "rule" strictly. You lose 2 (3, 4, ...) buy-ins, and you stop - not when you "win back a little", not when the blinds come to you, not after next hand - now. It's hard to follow (at least for me), but it might save you lots of money. Although there is one nasty thing - you may start feeling urge to go back and play again in order to win back your money. But that urge easily goes away with growing experience. If you find it hard to avoid, there is one very nice cure - excluding yourself from playing. I use it myself and it works just fine. Sometimes I use it to follow a stop-loss limit, sometimes to follow a stop-win limit (when you win and start feeling tired and don't want to blow up your winnings).

      And about what you said after edit: yes, I really had that very same problem some time ago :) But again, with growing experience this problem is gone (and I'm quite far from experienced player to be honest).
    • Saruniks
      Joined: 30.08.2010 Posts: 1,213
      I got used to it, after having some downswings, easyly could come back, and when I lose now with dominating hand two times a row I don't get tilt at all, it's just no emotions for me, you just get used with it.

      All I do is think, what I am playing with preflop, what kind of hand I need to beat others? Just don't multitable on tilt or after tilt. When you lose few times a row because of bad luck, take a pause, next day you will make those two buyins easily.

      ps: poker is not steady, it just looks to be. You win much because of good luck, and you lose then, and when you lose it seems that you are most unlucky poker player, but it's not true, If you have 90%, you have to lose 1 out of 10 times, or something 2 times a row. That's poker. In long term it is not luck but math. Good luck
    • darkod80
      Joined: 13.11.2008 Posts: 161
      if you're using holdem manager you can see your ev and your balance,if there is big difference it should usually be enough for you to know you played good and things will eventually turn. I am less stressed when my ev is at level while I am 5 buy ins down, than when I am only 2 buy ins down while should be at 2 buy ins down.
    • RGOD2
      Joined: 02.08.2010 Posts: 34
      Hand Evaluation?
    • ScroogeMcMuck
      Joined: 04.01.2011 Posts: 16
      I think it's a mindset really. The thing that helps me the most, is I refuse to think of it as money I own. It's pokers money. I don't even think of it as money, but as chips... that abstracts it further. The more abstract you think of it, the less concerned you are emotionally of bad beats. No one likes them, but you absolutely must accept they are a part of the game.

      Another thing I tend to do, is if I lose a few buyins over a few consequtive days, then I banish myself from poker for a week. When I come back, I'm all rared up ready to go, and my mind is properly set for it. I tend to do quite well at those times.

      Another thing I do to control losses is I went through my data, and I worked out on average, after how many hands, am I up or down $1 (I play micro stakes), it turns out it's around 15 hands (be different for different players). So if I find myself down $1 before or close to 15 hands, then I know this is a bad table for me, if I'm up $1 then I tend to do well there. Works most of the time, and controls alot of small and large leaks.

      To be honest, I'm a bit of a risk taker anyway, so it doesn't really get to me. I just think, hey it's poker.. I'll get it back another time, just not today :)