Got an interesting question from a member via email:
I find that my biggest problem with online poker is tilt. I think I am a decent player. I am after reading alot of e-books and articles over the past 3-4 years. I play live but mostly online. I use to win $300-$400 a week mostly playing sit & gos and tourneys, it seemed I never went broke, but when i started playing cash games I saw my profits disappear. Not in live cash games but online. I would say I am in the red about $26000 in the past 6-8 months. I win at the $0.50-$1.0 nl games then move up to higher stakes and lose everything usually on a bad beat. I am after reading over and over again your bankroll management and tilt information but still fall into the same traps. I know I can win because I done it consistently in the past. Now I will not lie to you, I do drink when I play at times which can affect my game. I love the game and I am not ready to give up but I need a big re-awakening. My big question for you is how do you let the bad beats roll off so easily? Any advise?
Here are my thoughts:
It’s clear that you need some discipline in your game. You need to realize that you are simply gambling if you move up to stakes higher than $0.50/1 and that you are probably a losing player at those stakes. Play at stakes you are comfortable with and are skilled for. If you seek the gambling thrill, then go play blackjack or something because you’ll probably lose less money (although you will still lose). To win consistently at poker you must be very disciplined and play at games that you are skilled for and bankrolled for.
Another step you really need to improve on is emotional control. You need to really tone down your tilt problem. You need to realize that bad beats happen and that it’s all part of the probability of the game. AA cannot win every hand. And yes, you will hit bad streaks where you constantly get it in with the best hand and lose. But that is also guaranteed to happen from a probability perspective every so often. Once you realize this and accept that continued bad beats are part of the game then you will be able to handle them better. Bad beats are what keep the fish in the game and enable winning players to make their money. If they didn’t exist then the games would dry up immediately. Focus on what you can control – your emotions and your decisions at hand. Don’t worry about what cards fall after you’ve made your decision. If you used all the information at hand to the best of your ability and are making winning plays, then in the long run you’ll be a winning player (though obviously in the short run it can swing either way, sometimes substantially).
When you find yourself starting to tilt you should leave the tables immediately. Do not chase losses – you will only let your emotions get to you and force you into making bad plays that add up to more losses. Take a break and come back the next night if you start getting emotional. Don’t get frustrated – it is very tough to overcome emotions, sometimes I still tilt myself. But when you realize it’s happening, the worst thing you can do is keep playing. Come back another day with a fresh mind and attitude.
And lastly I know you don’t want to hear it but it’s probably not the best idea to drink while you play. If you’re looking to just have fun then by all means do it, but realize that it’s costing you money in the long run, as it messes with your poker judgments and emotional stability (which is hugely important) while playing. Save the beers for after you record a solid winning session.
I hope this helps!