Dealer - Fighting 'Tilt'
A loyal reader writes in and asks:
Happened to me one day. I got beat. My two
pair got busted at the river by a set.
Now, I understand in poker, stuff like that
just happens, and many others have taken worse beats.
Ordinarily, I can shake off unfortunate things
like that. Random chance? Yeah, I can handle that.
But in this case I felt I ALLOWED this beat
to happen. I got too cute with my betting, thinking that,
by stringing my opponent along, I could extract
more and more money from him after each card.
If I had applied more pressure on my opponent
earlier, I would have closed out the hand on the turn,
and avoided the river entirely.
I was mad. I got beat because of my stupid
I was on tilt after that, and I didn't last
much longer at the table.
My question is: how do you regain your composure
after you suffer such a blow?
Wait, I can answer this one: You get used
to it after a while.
Sorry, Mike, you go ahead.
I can't say exactly what happened in the hand,
since I don't know the blinds/stack sizes/etc, but this does
sound like a case of getting unlucky, as the
two pair was a big favorite going into the river and lost.
Now did our reader bet to little and give the
opponent the right pot odds? Possible but not likely unless
the pocket pair was big and could have made a
better two pair (Let's say the opponent had Kings,
our reader has 8-7s, flop comes out 2-8-7, now
our reader can lose if a 2 or K comes up,
or if the turn and river pair themselves, like
running J-J or something of that kind)
But the real question is, how to fight tilt.
The biggest thing is to shake off a hand after you've played it.
If you have time to go over it in your head,
so do, but if you catch a playable hand right away, you have to play it.
My suggestion would be to play any big hand you
get right after a tough beat in a very straight forward manner,
let's if you got a big pocket pair, I'd raise
big pre flop and then push all in on the flop as long as an Ace didn't
The other thing is people might think your on
tilt and treat your strong betting as the actions of an angry person,
you'll get a lot more action in this spot then
normal just because of your 'table image'.
If it's a cash game and you're tilted and upset,
the best play is to just leave, nothing can benefit you by staying
when you're in a bad mood. One of the keys to
playing winning poker is always being in a good frame of mind.
If the game is a really good one and the money
is just being given away, then maybe just take a quick walk,
15-20 minutes clear your head and see if you
can still play, but if you're still making reckless, angry plays, then
it's time to go.
In a tournament you don't have the option of
walking away, as blinds and antes will eat away at your stack
if you decide to take a walk. If you get a few
hands to fold, then fold them. Take a few minutes to work out
how the last hand played out. Were you unlucky,
or did you screw it up? If you did screw it up, how are you
going to fix it for the next time you get into
a spot like that? What was the mistake, did you misread your opponent
or did you have the right read but the wrong
plan? Relax, just deal with the new reality, what is your stack size?
What are the blinds at? Who's got more chips
them you at the table, who's got less?
Just keep your head in the game, and hopefully
things will turn around.
I'll always answer any and all poker questions,
if you have any send them to Mikethedealer@hotmail.com
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