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Start strong, but then become a donkey

    • STR82ACE
      Joined: 01.10.2008 Posts: 389
      Noticing a pattern recently.

      When I start session, I play very strong. Play the SHC to the letter, raise short stacks in blinds when I can, get decent reads on the table. The first hour or two is usually profitable, if only marginally at times.

      Then...all coherent thought escapes me...and I'm playing like a donkey in heat!!

      Usually it starts with a beat...pocket KK getting beat by QQ when another Q hits the flop or river (never the turn though I notice, hmmmmmmm). I tell myself I did nothing wrong, its just the game...but within a few minutes, I get another loss...might be a beat or it might be a marginal play that didn't work out, but that's usually when I start to slide down hill. The last hour or so in the session usually gets me frustrated, fighting to maintain any kind of edge I had once, and even though I pull out the SHC again and SWEAR to play by it, sometimes, I just get in over my head.

      Any thoughts on how I can control this better?
      Would be VERY MUCH appreciated if someone could tell me the secret.
  • 11 replies
    • straddler71
      Joined: 03.07.2008 Posts: 516
      Hey str82ace

      Think of your poker day as one long session. Break it up into a few smaller sessions if you can. I usually play four hours in the afternoon and four more in the evening.

      Once you realize that your tilting you should stop and do something else for a little while and get away from the game. Any marginal edge that you had over your opponents is now gone and you cannot play your "a" game.

      best regards,

    • Maniatrix
      Joined: 01.11.2008 Posts: 674
      Have the same problem. Just take a break after a bad beat is my best advice. And turn off chat, someone saying "yay!" in the chatbox after cracking your aces with 83 sooted will not help at all.
    • PidKoker
      Joined: 03.06.2008 Posts: 416
      We cant help you control how you feel, you just have to get it into your head that there are bad beats and donkies can get Aces too :P ..(have you seen the WSOP where one guy had Quad Aces (he said f*ck it and put all his chips in) and the other guy had the Royal Flush)

      Just last night I flopped a Set of 4's and i played it perfectly got him to fire on the flop and the turn, I reraised him all in on the turn he turns over JJ, he was drawing dead to 2 outs,,, and guess what he hits his 2 outer.. i just let out a curse and went onto the next hand. This is why BRM is so important if one beat is only a small ammount of your stack then it is not as bad as Like if you had like 10 stacks and now you have just lost like 10% of your BR
    • STR82ACE
      Joined: 01.10.2008 Posts: 389
      Thanks for the advise so far. I know its upsetting to get beaten, and I'm doing my best to control myself. Loud sigh, shake my head, label villain as a complete donkey (the time when I called an allin with pocket KKs and villain shows J2o...22J on the flop...felt good to leave a note on HIS icon)

      I guess what I needed to do was post and see if there was something else I could be doing to shake it off and get my calm back they way it was at the beginning of the session. Taking a break wouldn't kill me either...grab a smoke, walk the dog...whatever...
    • Jaissica
      Joined: 10.02.2009 Posts: 1,385
      The pschological keys for me in beating this sort of tilt were two things -

      1. Judge your game by play based poker, not by results. You can lose 200BB in a session and still have played great poker. Use elephant to review hands. I like to order hands in sessions by BB won / lost and compare. If I am losing to suckouts I feel better about it. If I am winning with suckouts I get worried about it!

      2. Set a stop-loss. If you feel that after you lose 2 stacks that you go a little crazy, set a 2 stack loss as your stop-loss. Go away for an hour or two and play again when your head has cleared. My stop loss is two full BSS buyins, then its off to some online game for a while.

      It helps to post hands that you lost big with and are unsure about (lucky? unlucky? good play? bad play?) in the sample hands forum. The judges and the want-to-be-judges who are out to improve their play by analyzing EVERYONE's play (hi!) will fall over each other telling you what you could and should have done differently.

      In short, you need to understand the difference between rating your sessions on results based poker and decisions based poker. Results based poker is obvious, your BR is up or down x. Decisions based takes some analysis and is way more important overall.

      Remember - J2 is going to crack KK a bit less than one time in five. If you get upset every 5th time you play KK vs fish's J2, go on tilt and throw away another stack, you change your profit from that situation from +3 stacks / 5 hands (win 4 stacks, lose 1 stack) to +2 stacks / 5 hands, a 33% reduction! Poker can often be a bigger battle against yourself than it is against others :)
    • PidKoker
      Joined: 03.06.2008 Posts: 416
      Originally posted by Jaissica
      Poker can often be a bigger battle against yourself than it is against others :)
      This is a very nice comment, when you are starting your Poker Quest this is one of the most important things, you have to be able to play your best poker at all times on the tables otherwise you shouldn't be playing, take a break, ect. Also you must learn to analyze your game and spot errors and fix them as possible small leaks can cost big $$$ in the long run.
    • shivas80
      Joined: 24.12.2008 Posts: 573
      STR82ACE i know what you mean... i have quite a opposite...

      At start i play like donkey... when i see im starting to go down quite fast, somehow im switching gears and playing all remaining session as i should always.

      For example: Today i played session of 637 hands (2.4 hours), after 95 hands i was -1.3 stack. Then somehow i start playing best i can and ended up my session +1 stack...

      And if i look whole months period (~8000 hands) its always like that...

      Donno, how to switch to that "A" game mode from start... if i manage to do this...
    • mishkagg
      Joined: 29.07.2008 Posts: 1,354
      I can give advice from my experience. As I see the OP's problem arises when he gets a bad beat or two and he starts trying to recover the losses with marginal hands and questionable play. I've had the same problem some time ago. Sadly that's tilt. That results only in further losses.

      Proposition 1: make yourself an emergency break. It can be like this: when I receive a bad beat I take at least 15 minutes break to calm down. Or: when I lose 3 BI I quit for the day and take a walk or read a book or something.

      Proposition 2: this is what helped me immensely: When I start a session I imagine myself sitting at the chair and I imagine how I detach all emotions and stuff them in a ball near me. I try to keep them for as long as possible regardless of money wins/losses. This might seem retarded but it's actually a technique I've adopted from eastern martial arts where they try to keep themselves emotionless. The motto is: fight angry, die angry. For me it's really easy to achieve now. Having played PC games competitively doesn't hurt either.
    • STR82ACE
      Joined: 01.10.2008 Posts: 389
      I've started a stop loss on myself now. Lose 3BI's, I'm done for the day. If I'm up early, say by a buyin or more, I set it to 1BI. Haven't really played much the last day or two, so I'll see how that works for me.

      Also, I'm definitely going to take a walk after a bad beat. Last couple of days, I've been getting hammered by them, and trying to play through it, and its not working. So effective immediately, when I suffer a true bad beat, I'm going to get up and go outside for 10 to 15 mins, and sit out on all tables I"m on until I calm down abit.

      Gotta do something. Its really starting to become predictable, play hard for a half hour, lose for 5 mins and lose everything I worked so hard for to gain.
    • luitzen
      Joined: 03.04.2009 Posts: 664
      I understand how you feel. I have the same problem. After a long period of SSS on low blinds (I don't have that much money yet) I start getting impatient, playing wrong hands and get bad beats. I often switch to a higher blind level for one table and than I lose 2 or 3 times my buy-in to win 2 back. What helps for me is switching from room and game. When it's going bad at PokerStars I play a little on Full Tilt, when it's going bad in ring games I play SnGs. Everytime I make that switch my memory 'resets' and I play independently from previous winning or losing streaks.

      edit: another advantage of this is that it prevents you from trying to cover-up your losses. Since you're playing in a different poker room or a completely different type of game, you can't deduct those loses from your new profits anymore.
    • whateverdude
      Joined: 01.02.2009 Posts: 232
      I had the same problem, and I found out that sometimes I tilted even during winning sessions, because of badbeats.
      I also observed that on average I always start to tilt after 2 hours BSS or 1 hour SSS. No matter how I run, on average for that amount of time I experience enough badbeats to get me on tilt, so I limited my sessions to that time.
      So, the solution to that problem is to play short sessions, so that you never get past your limit of badbeats you can ignore.