If there is one thing in common that I see most micro stakes poker players struggle with, it’s their mental game. Coaching students one-on-one and teaching them in my classes, I often see one commonality: most tend to struggle with tilt. In fact, it is one of the things I struggled with myself when I began playing.
Why is Tilt a Problem?
Many beginning and recreational micro stakes poker players looking to get into the game struggle with tilt for several reasons. First and foremost, they don’t have a strategy for combating it. Secondly, they greatly underestimate the effect of downswings and negative variance on their mental game. They’re ill-prepared for the inevitable 3-5 buy-in session downswing, coolers, and bad beats, so they end up tilting and spewing off chips as they play.
This isn’t only a problem for beginning and recreational players. I’ve even seen experienced online poker players that have logged hundreds of thousands of hands online also struggle with tilt. An internal trigger sets them off at the table if they get coolered too many times or take a really bad beat.
How Do We Solve It?
Understanding variance and downswings help. Also, understanding that bad players are going to suck out on you from time to time helps – if they didn’t, they wouldn’t continue to come back to the poker table where they end up donating chips to good players like you and me. Additionally, understanding that variance, bad beats, and sucks outs are out of your control.
It will help if you devise your strategies for combating tilt and improving your mental game. You might want to consider reading the Mental Game of Poker or hiring a poker coach to help you work through your mental game issues. All in all, it comes down to being proactive about your mental game. By implementing a few fixes and tweaks in my students’ mental game strategies, I have helped them plug their mental game leaks. It takes time, but having someone, whether it be a friend or poker coach, can help you identify your tilt triggers and develop sound strategies for combating tilt.