One of the most important elements in making successful short-term gambles is the ability to control one’s emotions when...

Posted Jan 04, 2013


Bart Hanson BW2

Bart Hanson

Owner and Lead Pro

One of the most important elements in making successful short-term gambles is the ability to control one’s emotions when something does not go your way. The above tweet, which I took from a Barry Greenstein quote regarding tilting, cannot be more accurate.

It is amazing to me how emotional most recreational poker players are especially when they receive a bad beat. These are the same type of people that would easily put down loads of money on a good investment and understand that risks that go into making short term gambles. They may back a business that they think will be successfully and shrug it off when they do not get good returns. However, if they get into an 82-18 situation all-in preflop and do not win they lose all emotional control.

These types of players get incredibly angry and let this anger creep into their future decision-making. The simple fact of the matter is that if you want to be a successful poker player you must keep your emotions in check. Who would not want to take a gamble where you are taking far the best of it? If I flipped a coin and told you that if you win you would get paid four times as much as you would have to pay out if you lost you would take that bet all day right? How can anyone possibly get angry at that proposition? The funny thing is that it is usually people that are big favorites in a hand that when they lose, start to badly tilt.

We as observant, good poker players, really have to pay attention to the short-term results that are constantly happening around us. People’s “tilt factor” can hugely influence they way that they play future hands. Usually if someone tilts badly, their bluffing frequency goes up and they tend to play more like a calling station. Hence we should call them down lighter and value bet against them thinner. If you are playing on a table of average to decent players sometimes the quality of the game has to do entirely with who is winning or losing. A good player that has a mean tilt streak can turn a below average game into a great game. I have seen some of the most skilled players in the world not be able to make it as professional gamblers because they play so awfully when they are on tilt. Obviously we want to be the recipients of this tilting money so it is very important to pay attention to what is going on at the table.

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