The Biggest Hurdle: The Mental Game & Tilt

The Biggest Hurdle: The Mental Game & Tilt

By Alton Hardin | Published July 20, 2015

If there is one thing in common that I see most micro stakes poker player struggle with, it is their mental game. I have only been coaching poker one-on-one for a few months and the one commonality I have seen between almost all of my students, whether they are a good, okay, or so-so poker player is that they all seems to struggle with tilt. In fact, it is one of the things I struggled with myself for a very long time.

Why is Tilt a Problem?

I think that many beginning and recreational micro stakes poker players looking to get into poker struggle with tilt for several reasons. First of all, they don’t have a strategy for combating it. Secondly, they greatly underestimate the effect of downswings and negative variance in poker. They are ill-prepared for the inevitable 3-5 buy-in session downswing, coolers, and bad beats and so the tilt and spew off more chips and call online poker rigged.

This is not only a problem for beginning and recreational players. I have even seen experienced online poker players that have logged hundreds of thousands of hands online. There is an internal trigger that sets them off at the table if they get coolered too many times or take a really bad beat.

How Do We Solve It?

Understand variance and downswings. Understand that bad players are going to suck out on your from time to time. And understand you cannot control this. Set strategies in place for combating tilt and improving your mental game. Read the Mental Game of Poker or hire a poker coach to help you work through your mental game issues. Really…just be proactive about your mental game. It is amazing that with a few fixes and tweaks in my students’ mental game strategies that I have helped them quickly plug mental game leaks. It takes time, but having someone, whether it be a friend or poker coach, help you identify your tilt triggers and develop sound strategies for combating it does wonders for most people’s mental poker game.

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