How to avoid getting "emotional" and betting recklessly...
Online poker players know about (and fear) going on tilt, that sudden state of reckless betting, so let's examine the danger.
The best possible way to avoid tilt when playing online poker is to stay aware of signs that indicate that you are starting to slide. Usually by the time you realize you're on tilt, it's too late, and you've lost most of your stack. Some of these signs are obvious and some are more subtle. If you fail to recognize these signs, you will never be able to get out of those losing streaks. You're Tired. Avoiding fatigue is the best physical way to stay off tilt. Any indication that you are tired is a sign that it's just a matter of time before you make a mistake. Decision making is impaired when players are tired. If you are constantly yawning, have heavy and tired eyes, and have fallen asleep for a few moments at the computer, then it's time for you to end your session immediately. Set a time for you to end your nightly session and stick to that. If you are experiencing sleepiness before that deadline, have enough sense to walk away.
Catch That Wave. If you are experiencing a wave of frustration from catching cold cards, experiencing brutal bad beats, or missing your big draws more so than normal, that's another early warning sign that you are headed on tilt and you may even be there already. You have to calm yourself down or walk away because frustrated players tend to press more. They'll play more hands out of position and chase draws when they do not have the correct odds to call.
It only takes a few moments to waver from your game plan. You can play perfect poker for several hours then misplay one hand, which can set you on tilt for the remainder of the session. To avoid that trap, stay focused. You also need to figure out holes in your game, identify those mistakes and plug the leaks. The fewer mistakes you make, the better the chances that you will avoid tilt.
Stifle It. Don't allow other players to get you on tilt with their taunting comments in the chat. In the real world, there is more of a professional decorum among the players in a poker room or casino. Online, you have the advantage of hiding behind a computer screen. That anonymity allows people to get away with poor behavior which wouldn't be tolerated in real life. There are players who will let loose a heavy flow of racial insults, curse words, and harassing statements. The best way to handle those players is to ignore them. Better yet, most online sites have a function that allows you to turn off the other players' chat. Utilize that function and ignore the chat.
Pay attention to the status of your normal life. Usually when bad things are happening to you, that negativity spills over to your play on the tables. The best way to sidestep tilt is to avoid playing cards when you are having a terrible day. Sometimes the thought of poker for medicinal purposes sounds soothing. However, the serious player sits down at the table to win, not to escape from his problems. If you run away from your problems, they will eventually track you down, even at the poker table.
Sometimes you can go on tilt for a few hands during a session. Good players will be aware when something sets them off their optimal game and they quickly get back on track.
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Sometimes you can play by the book, get great cards, and still find yourself on the losing end of pot after pot. That's the formula for the most common occurrence of tilt. You begin to question how you've been playing, when there have been no flaws in your game. Simply put, other players are making mistakes and getting lucky. There's nothing you can do about that except move on and keep on playing a solid game.
The worst part about going on tilt is allowing your darker emotions to get involved. That stems from frustration combined with a struggling session. After an inferior player sucks you out on the river, your first instinct may be to "get him back." Your agenda has shifted from playing your natural game towards carrying out a personal vendetta against another player. Remember that in the long run, the best players are rewarded for solid play. Instead of trying to get that money back instantly, focus on the bigger picture. That money will eventually come back to you.
Accept the outcome of every hand and then forget about it and move onto the next hand. The beauty of online poker is that you play quite a few more hands than you do in a casino. That gives you more opportunities to forget about bad beats. Also accept that there is a decent amount of luck involved with poker and sometimes you come out on the bad end of that luck.
The best way to avoid tilt when playing online is to turn off the computer. It's not like you are in Las Vegas and have to board a plane to fly home. You do not have to drive home to leave your local card game at your buddy's house, because ou are already home. Log off and save yourself from seriously damaging your bankroll.
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