Does Staying Calm Make Poker Players Better?
You know that you have to study poker to get better. At Juicy Stakes Poker, we say that players have to “study themselves” too! One way we can become better aware of ourselves is in the area of tilt. In everyday life, tilt is called rage. Let’s learn how to mitigate rage.
Why Has Rage Become So Pervasive in Modern Society?
People are very stressed out these days. We work hard, long hours. A lot of people don’t even have a job! There was a lot of rage even before the corona virus hit, but the pandemic, with all of the rules and restrictions connected to it, have rubbed people’s nerves even rawer than they were before.
We have road rage for the slightest of slights. We have airline rage for a slew of reasons not the least of which is being checked and rechecked for too much weight in our bags to a wallet in our pocket to a virus in our body! We have waiting room rage, checkout counter rage, restaurant rage, political rage, and many more forms of rage. And, of course, we have poker rage, aka tilt.
Tilt Heaps Loss upon Loss
All of the simple things we need to avoid come out in players undergoing a bout with uncontrollable rage. We are told to not throw good money after bad. How many players throw good money after bad on the very next hand after a bad beat? How many players simply lose concentration and misread a subsequent hand? How many players fail to see the tells that opponents have effectively “written” all over their faces because the players are tilting?
We could go on and on but we all know a ton of examples pf tilt. Let’s look at some expert life advice on how to combat rage and use that advice to end or mitigate tilt in our poker play.
Make Sure that You are Playing with Money that You Can Afford to Lose
The goal is to win money playing poker and to have a lot of fun playing. On the other hand, we all know that there will be hands that we should win and lose instead. In poker terms, these hands represent the proverbial bad beat!
If you have milked the pot so that you should have scored a big win, only to have the one out your opponent had come up on the river, have you now lost money you shouldn’t have been playing with or is it money that you reasonably brought to the pokier table and were able to “withstand” a loss?
It is a lot less common for a player to tilt if she or he has lost money they can afford to lose.
Change Your Personality
There is a common belief that people don’t change. We tend to agree in principle but all of the talk about improving at poker includes changing one’s poker personality if not one’s overall personality.
If you are the type of person who knowingly flies off the handle at very minor matters, then you are probably not suited for poker in the first place! If you are the kind of person who is almost always in control of yourself except for those “exceptions”, then you can certainly play poker at the stakes level best suited to your actual, financial circumstances and at the skill level most in line with your own honesty assessed skill level.
Controlling tilt is an aspect of your individual skill level!
Develop a Strong Sense of Humor
In the great film “Four Days in October” by Ken Burns, Kevin Millar was filmed speaking to a local sports writer from Boston covering the Boston-New York playoff series back in 2004. The Boston Red Sox were down three games to none in the series and were one loss away from being eliminated in the playoffs.
To make matters worse, the team that was leading the Red Sox were their arch-rivals the New York Yankees.
To make matters even worse, the Yankees had won game three the day before buy a score of 19-7 which in baseball terms is a genuine massacre.
So, the reporter asked Kevin Millar for his reaction to the previous game and the dire situation the Red Sox faced. Millar’s response was simply “baseball”.
Millar was demonstrating a sense of humor even after a terrible “bad beat”. He was showing that even in their seriously dire circumstances, the team was capable of having a sense of humor about it all.
Then he said that the Red Sox were still in the series because if their overall talent. In the end, the Red Sox won the next four games in dramatic fashion!
Poker players need to be able to say to themselves “poker” after a terrible bad beat. Go on! Get your head straight immediately because the next hand is being dealt even as you suffer internally from the bad beat!
You can’t win every hand and you can’t even win every hand that is “impossible” to lose! The only hand that you can’t lose is one in which you know for sure that the opponent can’t beat your hand! That also happens often in poker and may very well happen on the very next hand!
So, let the bad beats be and immediately set your mind at ease by saying out loud or just to yourself: “poker”!
A lot of rage in everyday life is caused by one person misunderstanding the situation. Teach yourself to never be that person! The above discussion about “poker” is just one aspect of “understanding”.
In poker, there is usually NO ONE TO BLAME! You played the hand correctly, your opponent played the hand correctly, and he or she got luckier than you even though you had the upper hand.
To understand poker, we need to learn as much about it as we can. Great athletes, great musicians, great thinkers never stop learning! They practice endlessly! In order to understand poker, you need to play hundreds—in fact, thousands—of hands. And there will still be unlosable hands that you lose!
Believe us when we say that rage is not “all the rage”!
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