“You’re acting like a little entitled bitch right now.”
People ask me how to be mentally tough. People ask me how to keep sane while paying your bills from a gambling game.
But no one wants to hear the line I started this article with.
That is legitimately how I talk to myself when I’m getting heated. It’s so jarring to hear those words it usually snaps me into focus.
Most tilt comes from entitlement and insecurity.
Why people lose their mind
When you see someone losing their mind, it is likely because they feel entitled to winning a pot. They do not understand that winning a pot a majority of the time does not equal all the time.
The other reason people lose their mind is because they’re insecure about how they’re playing. They are worried they are losing because they’re doing something wrong that they can’t identify. It drives them crazy.
To get rid of tilt, you need to prepare before you get to the felt. You need to trust the materials you’re studying. You need to trust your comprehension of the game. It’s important to know what you’re doing and why. You need to know what plays turn a profit on databases and what loses you money. You need to study how to interpret data. That will help you know what plays to add to your game.
Before you play, you need to have realistic expectations. Tell yourself before your session:
“I will have bad beats today.”
“I will lose a ton of chips at some point today.”
“Someone will play erratically and cause me to lose chips today.”
Expect it. It happens every time you play. You know this. You don’t need anyone to tell you this.
When you start feeling entitled
If you start flipping out at the table, talk to yourself. “What did you tell yourself this morning? You knew this was going to happen. You’re acting like an entitled bitch right now. Stop with this. Look at this from a top down perspective, like it’s a hand review. The session starts now.”
Bankroll management will also help you with tilt. Play limits you can afford and play a lot. This will help you feel that everything is one data point on a large graph. Keeping track of your sessions and playing a ton will help you put everything in perspective.
Don’t let the game get away from you. Talk to yourself. You’re in control. Don’t focus on what can’t be altered. Ask yourself what you’re going to do now. What needs to be done on this next hand? That’s all that matters now. Focus on that.
Alex Fitzgerald is a professional poker player and author. Contact him for private coaching.