How to Deal with Tilting in Poker and Bad Beats
When you look to fade tilt and bad beats you have to have a clear and focused mind. If you have a clear and focused mind and look to remain focused then you will avoid tilt. Bad beats however are a natural part of the game, and you will encounter them in every session of poker that you play. No matter how long or how short a session you decide to play, you will certainly see some bad beats and take one or two as well. If you are playing a poker tournament you will encounter the largest number of bad beats especially if you get down to the end of a poker tournament. If you have survived that is kudos enough as poker tournaments are filled with bad players who will dish out bad beats left and right.
In order to deal with a bad beat the first thing to always keep in mind is what your goal at the beginning of the day was. If you didn’t have a goal to start the day then you should correct yourself right there. Having goals is a big part of long term poker success and if you don’t have goals or a guide to see the light at the end of the tunnel, then why would you even bother playing the game. If you set a goal to make let’s say $300 for the day in a $1/$2 game with a $300 buy-in, and instantly lost a monster pot with pocket aces, you aren’t feeling too good about that, but then again there is nothing you could have done differently. You will take bad beats in cash games often and dealing with them can help you get back to even and make a profit. If you lose the big hand with aces and begin to feel warm or heated a little bit, you should realize that you are about to go on tilt. You can always step back away from the game for a couple of minutes and grab something to eat, have a glass of water or juice and sit back down at the table. The game will always be there, but you have to know when to play and when not to play. If you can effectively shrug off a bad beat and continue to play, not too many players can sit in there and do that, but over time you should learn that bad beats happen, and don’t get discouraged when they do occur.
Tilt is a crazy thing and it can often come out of nowhere. One hand can change the entire complexion of your mindset, and set you off completely. To know when tilt is coming, you almost will never know, but you will realize it when you start moving all-in with hands you would have since folded. When you see that happen you should be able to catch yourself and quit the session right then and there. If you don’t feel like you are playing your best game, you shouldn’t play. The only reason to sit and not play your best game is late in a poker tournament. Often times after 4-5 hours of poker the brain slows down its thought process and you will not see solid poker from previously solid poker players. Late in poker tournaments is the one exception as for when you should remain seated at a poker table. The other exception should be when you are at a table with completely terrible and horrendously aggressive players. Even if you are on tilt some or take a bad beat or two, you should realize that games with aggressive players are games that are very profitable. The aggressive players will give you plenty of opportunities to win money back that you previously lost.
The best way though to deal with tilt and bad beats is to analyze your game and how you played hands. If you see that you have played hands well and have an edge over the player who took a big pot from you, then you shouldn’t back down from playing them again. The one thing not to do is to start 3 betting them with marginal hands and playing back at them for no reason other than you want your money back. Once you get that attitude you now have a losing degenerative attitude that will end up with you either burning your money in your pocket or maybe getting back to even. The best case scenario is you put a bad beat on someone and then return to normal, but often times you will over commit your stack and lose another big pot that could have been avoided.