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How can you protect your money from tilt?
How can you avoid losing your money on tilt?In this article
- Watch out for the "stop signs"
- Set realistic goals and limits
- Never forget, poker is just a game
Television does a good job of depicting the perfect poker player. He is cool, relaxed and in his element. He isn't sweating or moving about nervously in his chair. The loser, on the other hand, is overweight and going bald and about to bet his house and life savings on a single card.
The average online player is somewhere between these two extremes. Sometimes he is completely focused on the game and aware of everything going on at the table; at other times he loses control and will try anything to win a big pot.
This is when we begin to speak of "tilt." Tilt can basically be described as a psychological phenomenon in which:
A player falls into a mental state, in which he is no longer capable of making rational decisions, but instead acts on emotion (usually anger, despair or resignation). He begins ignoring his own rules and his play becomes less and less controlled, which leads to considerable losses in his bankroll, if not to total bankruptcy.
The 11th man at the table
Tilt is the 11th man at the table. He doesn't play, but he's always waiting for a chance to rob you of your money.
You won't have any fun playing poker on tilt. You really won't. You will only end up burning a hole in your bankroll. And to add insult to injury: you usually end up paying off weaker players who you would normally beat on any given day. In the end you have less money and more emotional damage.
Once you start taking your poker game seriously there will be no way to avoid the subject of tilt. It's not something that just happens. There are causes and, more importantly, warning signs.
There are standard situations that cause players to go on tilt. Losing several large pots in a row will frustrate you, and frustration is a gateway emotion to tilt, as are anger and hatred for your fellow players.
In fact, every negative emotion provides fertile ground for a tilt phase to come your way. Taking a bad mood to the table puts you at an even higher risk. Good manners aren't the only reason you don't play poker after a funeral.
Easy going, man
Think of the 70s. You should be relaxed and in a relatively good mood when you play poker. If you start getting bored or ignoring your own rules, if you start thinking, "Eh, what the hell...", please, STOP!
Learning when to play and when to call it quits is what keeps you, the hunter, from becoming the hunted. You don't want to play on tilt any more than you want to take your entire bankroll to the table to face off against a pro.
Well, you might want to do that if you were drunk. Taking on Phil Ivey with your entire bankroll may seem like a lucrative idea when you've had several litres of beer, but even then, deep down you know it isn't. And playing on tilt is like having Phil Ivey at the table.
Most players don't learn the importance of preparing themselves for a session until late in their careers. Storming the field and screaming out war cries went out of style a long time ago. Write a checklist of the things to do before you start a session.
Is Elephant / Pokertracker running? Do you have all charts handy? Have you already gone to the bathroom?
Set a "stop loss limit". If things get out of control and you've reached your loss limit, end the session immediately.
You can have a pile of 5 poker chips (or coins or whatever else) to your left. Move one to your right side for each buy-in or 20 Big Bets you lose. Then end your session as soon as the entire pile has moved to your right.
Ask yourself if you are playing to win and making progress, or if you are bored and just looking for some fun before you start a session. You can have fun on the lower limits. But even then, only play if you really are having fun.
Take the time to make a list of all the signs that lead up to a tilt phase before you head to the tables.
I start commenting on the game and how bad my opponents are.
The game is moving too slowly.
I'm playing too aggressively.
It seems like I haven't had a decent hand in ages.
I just lost a big pot.
I think my opponents are total idiots.
I show my bluffs for no particular reason at all.
These are your "stop signs." Keep this list handy when playing and end your session when you've seen too many of them. Recognizing the stop signs and hitting the breaks is the best prevention.
It's just a game
And remember not to take poker too seriously, it's just a game after all! Respect your opponents. You don't have to think all too highly of them, but trying to take one to school can mean learning a lesson yourself. Things are also sure to go wrong if you start taking the game personally. And remember, you don't have to play. If you're not having fun or if you're bored, angry or frustrated, go do something else.
Set realistic goals. Don't expect things to be the way they are on TV. You're not going to be a millionaire tomorrow morning. Think about where you want to be at the end of this month and the next. Be realistic!
You will find a lot of players who have mastered your limit in the forums (unless you're a Black Member). Ask them how long they needed. You can do it, just don't try to force things. Things can't go too wrong as long as you stay cool, stick to your game and manage your bankroll.
There's a lot that could be said about tilt, but we prefer to keep it brief. Accept the fact that tilt is real and that you will have to deal with it. Know that you can't play well when you are on tilt and that you will only throw what you've worked so hard for out the window.
Whatever you do to stay off tilt, remember: Poker is a game. There's no point in playing any game with a detrimental attitude that will keep you from winning.
ArticlesYou can learn more about setting stop loss limits in the following article:
You can turn to the PokerStrategy Psychology Forum with questions on tilt, self management and other psychological aspects of poker.
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