Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Downswing Pt. II

Previously I discussed mainly what a downswing was and how to handle bad beats, only briefly touching on the concept of tilt.

Now I want to discuss tilt in-depth as it is something that has been a factor in several of my recent losses, once we know what it is i'll discuss how to overcome it.

Tilt is a tricky concept, it has nothing to do with the cards themselves and everything to do with the mindset of the person playing the cards - a robot, unless programmed to, would never be on tilt. The difference between the human and the robot is of course emotion, so our definition of tilt can be when our emotions affect our ability to make sound decisions. It's important to note that both positive and negative emotions are equally likely to induce tilt.

So how do we overcome it? The easiest method of treatment is prevention. Don't let yourself tilt in the first place, Poker is a game of incomplete information and you need to learn to be aware of your own thought processes so you can recognize when your emotions are starting to take over from logic when it comes to filling in the blanks. Once you've identified this you need to ask yourself why your emotions are playing up and address the issue so that they are put back in check before too much damage is done to your bankroll. It might be a nasty suck out or a string of games where you fail to cash, the drunk guy next to you who just won't shut up or it could even be the fact that you've had a great session and you're feeling a little bit elated so start to loosen up.

If you've failed to recognise the signs that you're beginning to tilt and now you're emotions are running your game it's time to just stop. My recent downswing took me from $100 to -$200 which is a swing of about 15 buy-ins at the $20+$2 level. Towards the end of the swing I noticed that I was playing far more hands than I normally would and bleeding chips early on leaving myself in terrible positions for later in the tournament. I was being arrogant and thinking that I could out-play everyone at the table, I was tired of playing tight against players that were playing so badly but all I really ended up doing was lowering my game to their level.

Games Played - 64
ROI - -8.36%
Winnings - -$176 USD

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