Eliminate Poker Tilt

1 Introduction

In this article we will look at eliminating poker tilt which comes in a variety of forms.

Most players will agree that the majority of the losses arise from poker tilt for them.

If they cut out poker tilt from their poker career their graph will turn upside down.

For all you struggling poker players who want to make a killing in the game read this book several times, maintain a poker journal, figure out each scenario and see ways how your poker tilt relates to the various scenarios that are listed.

2 Poker Tilt Is More Complex Than You Think

So you are having a good day, you are making money and you are beating your opponents one day and the next day you know that you are losing and losing and you have bust your roll.

You tilt and you start playing bad and it is all gone. It is a cycle.

And this keeps on happening to players again and again.

In their poker lifetime they will reenact this scenario over a 100 times and if they don’t get to it sooner, it will devour their bankroll and their life.

The reptilian brain in you can’t get enough of those damages. In this manual we are going to explore all these reasons and understand the core of your poker tilt issues.

Yes I mean your tilt issues. I will present you several case studies that will help you to understand the crux of your issues and we are going to solve this problem once and for all.

Not one solution fits everybody, and one garment size doesn’t fit everybody so the goal in this book is for me to provide you every single detail on how you will be able to get that piece of cloth, measure it, cut it, sew it to your size and I can only show you the door and you will need to enter.


No matter how much I belabor about do this, do that it is not going to work, unless you take charge of the problem and work on them.

Exercise

  1. If you remember what is your biggest losing session can you write down how it came about, what you did wrong. Also write down your 3 biggest monetary losses and what decisions you took that led to those.
  2. Now write down what you can do to prevent such big losses.
  3. Now write down your 3 biggest monetary gains and write down what went right.

3 Poker Tilt Type 1

You come home and announce to your lady, oh my do you know I made 200,000 dollars today.

I just could not lose and all the Bobby’s room guys gave me a standing ovation. I am the best poker player in the world and you know what I crushed the best poker players in the world.

And the next day you know you go after having a party and you just can’t win anything.

You keep on losing and losing and you have busted your roll and fortunes and now you can’t help it but sing “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away and now they are going to stay” just like you hear from Mike the Mouth.

So what is going on here?

Does this type of tilt repeat again and again in your poker career?

Well if it does then let us understand what is going on

  1. The first thing is that you are doing is you are accounting the profits.
  2. You are accounting how much you have after the increase in profits.
  3. You have set a mental benchmark for today’s profits.
  4. You also then go and tell your lady about the results.
  5. You go next day and expect similar results.
  6. You try to recover losses.

Okay so the above are the points that form a tilt session and we also know what are the points or activities that are happening.

So the first thing you need to do is stop accounting the profits. Stop counting your stacks, you should not count the exact money you have in the stack, it is plus you should just know that. You don’t need to know the exact profits you made.

You don’t exactly need to figure out the exact poker bankroll you have till the last 100 dollar.

The next thing you need to understand is stop setting a mental benchmark.

You win x amount of dollars in a session, don’t put a mental benchmark, what is happening is that you then later subconsciously try to win it back and this causes you to tilt.

The expectations don’t match, there is a gap between your inner reality and the outer reality.

The gap widens and you start playing bad.

Your losses increase and you now start chasing losses, you figure out the point that you were on and you want to win it all back.

A love develops to how much you had and it is your nemesis.

So by not figuring initially how much you had, you put a full stop to this unnecessary process.

You also next day don’t have the baggage for last sessions and can play your best and optimal and not worry about the results.

So we have the first rule

“NEVER COUNT YOUR WINS AND NEVER PLAY TO REACH A LEVEL”

If you do this you need to stop, you are tilting.

Exercise

  1. Write down what is your expectation out of each poker session.
  2. Also write down what is your expectation in your poker career.
  3. Do you particularly keep counting your stack in a session or are you passive about the chips that you have. (Try if not counting the exact poker chips in a session helps you in eliminating tilt, try to always focus on best +EV decisions).
  • If your AA got cracked by an opponent in a live session would you be likely to donate the rest of your chips, or how would you play?
  • Do you discuss your poker results with your family or near and dear ones and do you think that telling your poker results to your family causes you to develop attachment to money.
  • In what way can you be most detached and unconcerned about your poker bankroll and what steps can you take to achieve that?

4 Poker Tilt Type 2

So you visit the casino in afternoon and you are playing a friendly session and after a couple of hours you know you are down a couple of hundred  dollars.

You are pissed. Your ego is hurt and you go to the cage and take several thousand dollars.

Now you are up in the night and before say about 1AM you lost it all. You put a deep stack on the table and you were a bit loose, your Kings got crushed by someone’s pocket seven’s and this scenario kept on repeating until it was down to 0.


So you again go to the cage and cash out everything and you are in the casino and plan to be in the casino until you recover everything back.

You stay till late morning and everyone has said goodbye to you and you are left with half of what you had bought.

You have suffered your first crazy night.

So let us understand what is the process that has happened

  1. You started in a fun session.
  2. You suffered a bearable loss of couple hundred.
  3. You extend playing session.
  4. You now go to higher limit.
  5. You lose and again extend session.
  6. You now go to even higher limit and try to recover your losses and you lose.

So what is happening here is you have some expectations, expectations that you will win.

You have ego attached to it. When you lost in the fun session your ego got bruised.

You wanted to show yourself as a great poker player but you ended up losing.

Now you want revenge and you want it all back.

You also have extended the playing session and you are not used to playing optimally that long.

So now you are not playing you’re a Game and it falls to level B.

However this time you get unlucky and cards are not coming your way. You still have a deep desire to win and playing nearly every other hand in order to catch something and get back even.

However the more you play the faster your stack is depleting. You are playing trash hands.

So now you lose it all and again go to the cage and hope that you are going to get it all back.

You now stop caring about money and the only one thing that is in your mind is go

back where you started from.

It is in inbuilt process in the human body.


It is just like you are fighting a physical war.

So now after extending your session and playing for over 10 hours you are tired, however you don’t want to accept that and you keep on playing your C game and you lose badly.

So a simple fun session has turned into a high loss day.

So let me formulate the rule

“DON’T PLAY WITH REAL MONEY WHEN YOU ARE NOT SERIOUS ABOUT THE GAME, YOU NEED TO CONCENTRATE DEEPLY IN THE GAME THAT YOU ARE PLAYING SO THAT YOU CAN WIN MONEY “

Exercise

  1. Do you have any time duration after which you start playing bad? For example a player I know in live session will play the first 3 hours very tight, then when he does not get any cards and he loses with a hand like AK, he would be likely to push all in on a hand like QQ. After I provided him training he would always sit with a deep stack and not 5Bet all-in with a hand like QQ pre-flop.
  • When you sit in a poker session do you always compute if you are ahead or behind? By letting go of this strategy and just focusing on decisions and not computing profit and loss at the table do you think it will eliminate some poker tilt from your game?
  • Do you think you can compute your poker losses monthly, why or why not? Do you think adopting such a strategy will help you to improve your results? What steps can you take to achieve this?

5 Poker Tilt Type 3

So you have been working at your office and it has been a stressful day and you have taken off to the poker room to have some fun.

You arrive in the poker room clear headed and are sitting with a big stack, however there is an obnoxious player who has been rattling you off.

You have spent the last hour fighting chip with chip battles on the poker felt and he has been commenting at how bad you play to the whole table.

From the outside you are tough nut but from the inside you are feeling anxious, your heart beat has risen.

You end up playing your worst game and putting your money at insane spots just to get even with the guy and to tilt him but you go home broke.

So let’s identify the processes here

  1. You took some flak from other players.
  2. Your ego gets hurt.
  3. You want to fight with this opponent.
  4. You have high heart beat, racing pulse.
  5. You are anxious and nervous.
  6. The blood supply has been cut off from the brain.
  7. You make bad decisions.
  8. You keep on playing bad and losing.

So we have figured what happens in this type of tilt. Poker is a game that is best played when you are calm, peaceful and happy, with a clear head.

If you are anxious, nervous, angry, have a high heart beat or racing pulse the brain does not get the nutrients to function properly.

It shuts down kind of and the fight of flight mode is activated.

When in this mode well thought out decisions cannot be made. Forget ranges you won’t even play by pot odds, you will play very loose and will go on a deep losing streak.

To prevent this kind of loss you need to get up from the table when you feel anxious or nervous.

There could be several factors like you are not liking the behavior of other players, or your ego is hurt.

In poker there are some players who intentionally try to put you off.

The rule that needs to be followed is

“PLAY POKER WITH A CLEAR HEAD, IF YOU ARE ANXIOUS, NERVOUS, ANGRY OR IN FIGHT MODE THEN YOU MUST GET UP FROM THE TABLE AND RETURN WHEN YOU FEEL NORMAL”

Exercise

  1. Are you a person who is not emotionally strong? What would it take for another person to offend you? Do you react on such occasions? What would make you a thick skinned person?
  2. Do you tend to play bad or suffer losses when you are having emotional unease, anxiety, nervousness or anger?
  • If you become an emotionally stronger person do you think your poker results would have been much different?

6 Poker Tilt Type 4

In this chapter I am going to define another type of tilt that some regular poker grinders will experience at some part of their poker careers.

So this player let me call him Jack plays 5-10 USD blinds game and he always sits with at least 500 dollars. He has a good job but later due to some circumstances he quits his job.

Now he does not earn that much however he is accustomed to playing with 500 dollars and at least 5-10 blinds.

He however can spare only 200 dollars for his game now.

He sits at 1-2 USD blinds game and somehow he can’t win.

He is a winner at 5-10 blinds game but his raises and bets are out of sync in this game.

He does not have value for small raises and ends up calling too much and he limps more often.

The end result is has become too lose and he keeps on losing at this stake for a couple of months.

So let us identify the processes here

  1. A player has been playing at x stakes for a long period of time.
  2. He can’t adjust at lower stakes than x and loses.
  3. He tries again and again to beat this stake but fails.

Now this is an example that most players may not agree. However I need to tell you this as it is important.

Many times when people drop down the stakes too much they will not have value of money at that stake.

If a player is accustomed to winning 700 dollar pots then he won’t have much value of 100 dollar pot and he may not get that much excitement from this play.

Assume that you play NLHE online with buy-ins ranging from 20 dollars to 50 dollars then you won’t get as much excitement with just 1 dollar buy-in at the lowest stake.

Over 90 percent poker players get excitement from the game, it is like a drug. There are chemicals that are released in the brain just like those when you take drugs. When a player is used to a high excitement level in the game, it becomes like a drug, he needs to play higher so that the same level of excitement he can get.

At lower stakes he does not get the same level of excitement and he gets bored.

So players who are in it to make money need to cut out the excitement from the game by devising a set of rules and always following the rules.

The rules can be defined like

  1. You must have x buy-ins for the game, I personally prefer at least 20 buy-ins for the stake that I am playing, however you are free to put down such a rule and enforce it.
  2. You will always limp or call with any pair less than AA and not re-raise.
  3. You will not shove against one player on a flush draw.
  4. To call a bet you must have 20 times that amount if it is a speculative call.
  5. You will call a raise with a small pocket pair if you have at least 12 times the raise amount.
  6. You will never slow play.
  7. You will never bluff against several opponents.
  8. You will never go all in on a bluff.
  9. You will always be on the lookout for tells in a live game like timing tells, mannerism tell, bet patterns.

Now these rules need to be formed by you and need to put down in your poker black book.

You need to have your own poker black book or journal and needs to be thick or you can get an online one and every session you need to record starting today.

The rules will also get amended as your strategy improves or you recognize your mistakes.


It should contain the odds, and you can keep adding the odds, it should contain lesions from the sessions you played and much more.

So the rule that needs to be followed is

“NEVER PLAY AT STAKES WHERE THE MONEY MEANS MUCH TO YOU” If that is the case you are gambling and you are developing wrong poker habits. You need to drop down the stakes or quit playing poker altogether until the stakes that are being played are meaningless and the money won or lost in a session does not mean much to you.

The combined results of a month should be meaningful and not of a day or a week. You need to think long term and not of the short term.

Slowly, slowly build winnings and do not gamble. When you start playing games that you are not rolled for you end up making bad decisions.

Exercises

  1. Be truthful and write down your total poker losses till date.
  • Are you the type of player that chases losses meaning if you have 5000 dollars in your account, and you initially planned to put only 500 dollars for poker this month, and if you would lose it, would you put more money in? On all the occasions that you tried to recover losses about how much percentage of times were you successful?
  • Are you a tight player consistently ? Do you know that tight players will win money and loose players will lose their stacks chasing cards?  What does it take for you to become loose or adopt a maniac poker style.  


7 Poker Tilt Type 5

Most new players of the game who are not grinders can skip this chapter as they might not relate to the concept in this chapter.

There is a poker grinder who plays live and he had a solid poker bankroll of 100 buy-ins however due to some personal reasons he went on a losing streak and in chasing losses he managed to completely bust his bankroll.

Now he does some odd jobs and manages to scrape together a bankroll that is just 10 percent of his previous bankroll or less.

In this scenario he tries to play bigger games and loses constantly.

He is not properly rolled for the games he is playing but there is no dearth of strategy in his games.


He knows the game inside out, however in the heat of the moment and turn profits quickly he ends up making bad decisions.

Let us put down the processes that are happening

  1. He has set a mental standard for a bankroll.
  2. He had a particular level of bankroll however he now does not have that.
  3. He wants to quickly get back to the past level.
  4. He is playing too fast to get fast money.
  5. He is making bad decisions.

So in this scenario we know that this player is not playing the game to make bests decisions but is chasing his past losses. Now this is not chasing losses of a single session but some imaginary goal that he has in mind that he should have that much bankroll..

This is a bigger form of tilt one in which the person has closed his eyes to the current reality and his current situation but is living in his previous world and assuming he has that bankroll.

He is playing too high and that is making him play scared.

He ends up making bad decisions due to playing scared money and trying to win money fast.

The rule we derive from this is

“PLAY ACCORDING TO YOUR BANKROLL, FORGET THE PAST LEVEL OR THE BANKROLL THAT YOU EARLIER HAD”

From this we can also devise the concept that bankroll will be formed if you have the edge in the game, let me extrapolate there is a small boy who loves to fly kites in the sky. On this particular day no wind is blowing and his repeated attempts are failing and he has been trying hard in the sun and now he is getting very tired but he is trying relentlessly.

The meaning is there is no edge in the game for the player and he is trying relentlessly to win. He is not skilled enough for the game, he may have been skilled before but his competition has risen faster and now he actually has a negative win rate factoring the rake.

So in this scenario no amount of bankroll can sustain him.

Winning players are quickly able to make a poker bankroll from 200 big blinds. They can keep taking out buy-ins and sit in the game and keep winning and slowly they have build themselves a decent bankroll.

A loser will keep on playing and donating in the vain hope that he might win. So keep on the lookout I will be putting in some strategy books too. So that the players who aren’t that skilled enough can become more skilled.

The bigger the skill the bigger the win rate.

This game is a lot like chess, there are some players who can play brilliantly and win, then there are some above average players, then some average players and then there are losing players.

However savvy players who will keep learning will have improved winning rates.

Exercise

  1. If you stopped accounting your poker bankroll continuously and your stack in a session do you think your poker results will be different and you will not chase losses.

(Of course you need to account your poker stack for pot odds calculation but do you think a rough guess will suffice the need?)

  • If you are a loser at poker since long time can you write down the top 5 reasons of this, do you account tilt as the number 1 reason. If no why not?


8 Poker Tilt Type 6

In this chapter I am going to deal with online poker tilt.

It is very important to discuss it here and consider these points very strongly.

Of course a lot of poker players have learn this lesson the hard way. Mike the mouth says that had internet poker not been there he would have twenty million dollars in his bank account.

Guy Laliberte says that he was doubtful that anyone would put that much amount online and was he even put up against real money.

Gus Hansen after losing over 14 million dollars online accused a player of cheating and using a program.

A famous player Douglas Polk complained that he couldn’t win a hand against a couple of players and he asked PokerStars to evaluate he told them that he was out of country and some unknown player won all the money in his account. The money was returned to his account.

TwoPlusTwo users unearthed a massive PLO bot-ring scam on PokerStars and the damage to the players was in millions. It was alleged that the bots were using advanced technology to share hole cards.

Tens of thousands of people over the internet have put claims that online poker is rigged, with threads on PokerScout shouting about the alleged scam.

There are thousands of videos alleging that online poker is rigged and the cards do not fall that way in real life.

A director of PokerStars on YouTube says that mouse movements and similar random events will dictate the outcome of which cards will fall.

FBI director claimed that PokerStars, FTP were stacking the deck in their favor after millions were siphoned off by the directors.

There have been allegations by famed players that online poker runs like a gang and most big winners at online poker are using staking houses like CrushTheDonks who share in the profits of the big wins to as much as 50 percent.

There are players like BigBluffzinc and the bosses of this staking house won the million dollar prize in the Spin And Go.

Most famed live players do not play online and are not seen online. In various networks there are bots playing with their figures being above ten thousand.

So there have been claims and countries of some governments have brought out their own poker sites which are government controlled.

No let us move on to the poker tilt scenario.

There is a player who plays both online and live.

The bankroll is shared between the online and live and his poker bankroll is separate from his living expenses. This shows that he has positioned himself well.

He is a winning regular player, and while he is playing live he thinks that he should play online too as the game is very slow live.

So he deposits two thousand dollars and goes on to sit at the highest game on the poker site.

While he is playing his online game he gets AA and like always he loses it big time.

He is steaming and he has in front of himself ten thousand dollars.

Due to the reason that online play has affected him mentally, he has deep seated anger, and this races his heartbeat. He pulse races and the blood supply is cut off from his brain and slowly he starts making poorer decisions and slowly he starts loses.

He sees his stack to be devoured by all the other players.

He goes home dejected and uses the rest of his bankroll online to get back to the same level that he was on before and before the sun has risen his account is empty.

On the contrary the live table is running and the lucky guy who was sitting to his left has made ten times his buy-in and walks out with stacks of cash.

So let us see the processes

  1. A player plays both online and live.
  2. He is a winner at live.
  3. He is playing online and loses continuously, most of the live wins go to online losses.
  4. On a bad online loss day, he gets steamed and goes on to donate his deep stack to the table.
  5. He suffers tilt and goes on to bust his account online.

So this is a familiar process to some degenerate poker players. And this is a very real scenario that everyone must guard himself.

It goes on to show that you should test the waters before you enter. You all must have read the story of the pond in which all steps would show as going in and none coming out.

The online poker scenario is also a similar Do kind of thing, and don’t get me wrong, I am not whining about poker, these are comments of the players who have spent decades and have millions of dollars playing live. Many of these players have been playing before you were even born.

The rule of thumb that comes out here is “DO NOT PLAY ONLINE POKER IF YOU ARE A LOSER ONLINE”

Now just think about it why would the governments come out with their own poker sites, countries like Sweden, Canada and several other governments of countries have come out with government controlled poker sites, because poker has historically been a game of conmen.

With technology the conmen have become smart and if you just search in Google for poker bots you would see the amazing technology that goes into making one.


Very similar to the poker bots are stock trading bots, many famous stock day traders went broke and now drive taxis in London. Such are the risks of online poker where conmen can use technology to deceive common people.

With Luke Schwartz calling PokerStars as completely rigged shit, WCGRider or Douglas Polk’s poker training site Upswing Poker as total scam there should be no doubt in your mind to avoid online poker like a plague unless you are in the moolah.

Apart from that if you see Upswing Poker it has all the reverse poker strategies listed so that people are going to donate the money quickly at online poker. Example in PLO a player is advised to be aggressive with AAxx hand and such…

Exercises

  1. Put down your online profits/losses in part and in 2nd part your live profits/losses.
  2. Do you think online poker is rigged, yes or no. Any reasons?
  • Have your online poker results ever affected your live poker?

9 pOKER tILT tYPE 7

There is a poker player and he is married.

He has a wife that he loves and he is a professional poker player.

He comes home and he tells his wife that he has won 500 dollars.

Now I have discuss this before but I want to discuss it again.

It is important for you not to develop attachment to money.

If you develop attachment to money than it will give rise to fear and greed.

And emotions like these are the worst for any poker player.

As a poker player you need to be cold, emotionless, like a bot.

That is the best way to play poker, because you can keep correcting the strategy mistakes and you can play optimally against players who are playing with emotions.

Once you develop a habit of being detached to the results, you can focus your energies into making the most +EV decisions.

If you keep making +EV decisions that are not emotional and you play for volume then your actual win rate will come out.

If you are not breaking even then from your journal you should assess your mistakes and not repeat the same mistakes again.

So in a nutshell the rule that we evolve is

“YOU SHOULD NOT DEVELOP ATTACHMENT TO MONEY, YOU NEED TO PLAY COLD, EMOTIONALESS, +EV GAME”

Exercise

  1. Do you share your poker results with your family and do you think that when you share the results do you play better or worse? Do you share your losses or just your wins?
  • If you play worse when you inform your family about your poker results what steps you can take so that you do not need to discuss your results with your family?
  • Are you attached to money? Has it ever happened that winning or losing meant life or death for you?
  • Do you think you would play better poker if you were completely detached to what would happen and you only focused on best +EV decisions?
  • Write down some occasions on which you played some real money poker hands differently than if it were play money poker? Did you take good or bad decisions on such occasions?


10 Understanding And Curing Generic Poker Tilt

In the past lessons we have seen various scenarios that show you the various types of tilt.

Now in this lesson I am going to write down all the types of tilt and from that a picture of generic tilt you will see.

Of course everyone is going to understand and relate to tilt in the way they see it. You should first write down what tilt is to you and some examples of when you got tilted and what were your actions. Now you should write down another scenario which shows how you managed to keep the tilt under control, and did not let your losses go out of control.

The first rule that we put down was

“NEVER COUNT YOUR WINS AND NEVER PLAY TO REACH A LEVEL”

The second rule is

“DON’T PLAY WITH REAL MONEY WHEN YOU ARE NOT SERIOUS ABOUT THE GAME, YOU NEED TO CONCENTRATE DEEPLY IN THE GAME THAT YOU ARE PLAYING SO THAT YOU CAN WIN MONEY”

The third rule is

“PLAY POKER WITH A CLEAR HEAD, IF YOU ARE ANXIOUS, NERVOUS, ANGRY OR IN FIGHT MODE THEN YOU MUST GET UP FROM THE TABLE AND RETURN WHEN YOU FEEL NORMAL”

The fourth rule is

“NEVER PLAY AT STAKES WHERE THE MONEY MEANS MUCH TO YOU”

“PLAY ACCORDING TO YOUR BANKROLL, FORGET THE PAST LEVEL OR THE BANKROLL THAT YOU EARLIER HAD”

The sixth rule that we have derived is

“DO NOT PLAY ONLINE POKER IF YOU ARE A LOSER ONLINE”

The seventh rule is

“YOU SHOULD NOT DEVELOP ATTACHMENT TO MONEY, YOU NEED TO PLAY COLD, EMOTIONALESS, +EV GAME”

So now you have the above tilt forms clear in your mind and you will notice that most of the points are very straight and there is nothing rocket science about these. Most new players who join this game are winners because they are not doing anything too crazy. However over time when they start playing too fancy they realize that the casual players are taking away their money sometimes by getting lucky and sometimes by playing straight.

Now this is the most important exercise, you can do this only after you have completed all prior exercises.

Exercise

  1. Write down on a piece of paper your poker tilt and everything you have learnt about your own personal poker tilt.
  • Now write down and visualize yourself as becoming a better person and no longer having the past poker tilt issues, visualize all the occasions when you tilted and visualize the changes that you will do in your personality so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes.
  • Everyday write down a short summary as to why you have dropped poker tilt from your game and how your game has changed. (This is a positive affirmation exercise which is going to impact on your sub-conscious mind, this is the only exercise in this work book in which you can lie and you can show yourself as Ivey or Patrick Antonius. Visualize yourself as the grandest poker player and see yourself becoming one as time passes in reality. The subconscious is always trying to bridge the gap between the real and the sub-conscious world)

“Poker is like a jungle, to stay alive you need to hunt from the sides and not go too deep in the jungle.” – Daniel Nguyen