Combatting Tilt in Poker

It is really difficult in online poker to ward off the effects of tilt. There are just so many individual factors that combine to make you tilt that it is difficult to know where to start. The mere act of playing online poker means that you are playing in seclusion. The natural follow on process of this is that there are no other people around you to see or hear you lose your cool…..this then makes it easier to do.

Also many people are being seduced into playing multiple tables trying to increase their action and also their bottom line. But the chances of your bottom line increasing have to be coupled with the increased difficulties that multi-tabling bring. Firstly it does take a certain type of personality to handle playing many tables at once and this all assumes that you can even handle the extra speed of play. For example it is often touted how great it is to be able to get into the long term far faster and I myself have even written articles about it. All this is true of course but for many people then getting into the long term really quickly can be a double edged sword if you happen to suffer from tilt.

For example let us say that the poker gods decree that you will encounter a 20 buy in downswing and you play say 3000 hands per day. If this downswing happens in the space of say 20,000 hands or one buy-in per 1000 hands then it will be condensed down into one week of actual play. Now the fact of the matter is that many poker players are not psychologically suited to taking that kind of punishment within such a short space of time without it seriously affecting their play.

So any negative swing is then made much worse and so we have a horrible catch 22 type situation. If you are playing poor poker because of taking losses very quickly then you need to stop playing poker. This is easier to do if you have only used one buy in and do not plan to buy back in should you lose that money. In this instance then you are almost using your buy in like a tournament poker player does and when you lose that buy in then you are no longer playing poker.

The fact that you are playing so many tables does reduce your edge but the strategic goal is to offset that with volume. I have tried both methods and both do have their pros and con’s. Playing only a single table does allow you to play higher levels but only if you have a strong game! It all comes down to knowing yourself because only you will know what level your skills are at. If you unsure about the level of your play then simply play a certain level for a month and see how it goes.

At the end of the day, your results even over the short term are a very good barometer of whether or not you are beating the game. If you are ahead by as much as one buy-in over 1000 hands then this could be variance. But every hand that you play where you don’t lose money and you are making money increases the chances that you do in fact have an edge over the game. Likewise if you are losing 5 buy-ins over 2000 hands then it could be variance but it is more likely that there is something either wrong with your game or you are playing at a level that is too tough for you.


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