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Learning To Control Tilt At The Poker Table

Tilt spells are very difficult to deal with once they have begun as it is the nature of the tilt to cause a loss of control. Tilts, like aggression, are part of homo sapiens make-up and cannot be eliminated altogether. But fits of aggression and fits of tilt cause us to run amok for a reason. They are always triggered by an event, bad news, bad bruise, a gross insult, or any other fardle as Hamlet would call it, toying with his bare bodkin. Discomfort is the main catalyst to bring on an instant fit of aggression – discomforts such as pain or a really, really empty stomach.

We do not live every day making a list of what caused our aggressive behavior and forever etch the list in our memory. No, when aggression hits, we pound the floor with our fists. Poker demands that we do become aware of our hot buttons. In order to be that cool, self-confident professional, you must be acutely aware of the events leading to your reactions. You should be able to draw up a list of things that push your buttons and sort the list from minor cause to major cause as all this only helps the casas de apuestas deportivas while you make impulse bets and lose your money.

If you can do this as a matter of course, you can catch yourself and say to yourself, even out loud: “Okay already, this is the type of serious good luck on the part of my moronic opponent, which pushes my tilt button – beware. Should that idiot do it again, I will not tilt, I will understand and calm down. I will not lose my cool and I will play the best poker I know how.”

You will be able to admit even as you maintain control that in poker you do not have full control and that you, a good poker player, play poker not because you expect to win no matter what – precisely the kind of blind ideals which lead to disillusionment and despair when they collapse in any field of human endeavor – but because you enjoy the challenge of doing your best against the specific odds of the game: a combination of chance and your opponents’ skill.

By behaving as in the above example, your energy will be spent in a positive manner and you will have less to expend in the negative behavior of building up uncontrollable aggression. You will have more energy to put toward the task of maintaining your equilibrium so even if you feel a tilt coming on, you can keep your cool and be in control of yourself and your game.

Some likely triggers can be:

General discomfort, like plain hunger or insufficient sleep: since we are probably not talking about any exceptional circumstances – like poker under torture – even sleepiness and hunger can be curbed if the person is introspective enough about the problem and his immediate purpose in relation to it;

Bad mistakes: poker is a highly competitive sport, which perhaps makes it hard for players to forgive themselves; artists, most of the time, it seems, are somehow less hard on themselves, perhaps because to any practicing artist rough drafts and revisions are an obvious and necessary part of the otherwise more or less satisfactory creative process; any good artist will proudly admit that before they managed that amazing line they had to erase and rewrite pages’-wroth of limp, turgid verbiage or that before they had finally written that one true masterpiece of their career they had to write a series of “serious” well-meaning flops. You should not numb yourself to self-criticism, but you should be sufficiently immune to it to learn and improve from your own mistakes without plunging into despair.

Of course, there are numerous triggers, too numerous to mention here. But if you are aware of your own hot buttons and what pushes them, your stupid mistake will become just a little bad one, your speed up in play will become a recognized trigger to the high anxiety that will surely follow, and that loss to a mere novice will not bother you so much when you realize he will just go somewhere else and lose the farm. Keep it all in perspective and you will be able to, if not conquer, control your tilt.