The Dark Sides of Poker, Tilt & Demotivation! Another attempt to fix the bad_habits!

Efforts in Poker

  • At the tables for at least 30 hours a week
  • During breaks, in between two Session,  posting difficult Spots in Practise-Group-Chat/Forum/Coach
  • Posting  opinions on Situations others had to face
  • Read specific Articles to improve for another 5 to 10 hours every single week
  • Receive coaching for one Hour per week which targets specifically the weaknesses
  • spare time from active learning & playing is spend to watch relaxing poker on twitch
  • Writing a Blog-Post once a week to stay honest which takes up another 6-10 hours per Post
  • Reading the newest (or most useful)  Poker-Books before sleep
  • Dream about the bad-beats! (come on that goes to far!)
Let's say the least! "This guy" takes poker really seriously!


The Competetive Mind


This guy is also a very competetive mind! Losing is for losers!
If his elder brother would beat you him a game, even a game as casual
as "pong", he would practise day & night, until the moment they would
meet again, just to be 100% certain he will win every single match! 
Preferably without his brother getting a single point!
Half-Assing is nothing for him!

In general this is a very good attitude. He wants to be the best! 
Getting beaten will be compensated by working even harder until he 
reaches the point where he will lose less.
(Optimal: Not losing at all anymore!)


Poker is different!


In Poker everyone will lose sometimes! Even the best starting Hand 
is going to lose 11-20% of the time! So we have to learn to lose and
to take it like a man!

The worst player in the universe can beat Douglas (Doug) Polk (aka 
Dan Polk :D )in a Heads-Up Cashgames over a Small- to Mid-sized 
sample! (I used Polk for this example because alot of People consider 
him to be the best Heads-Up Player)
More to the matter here


Poker meets Competetive Mind: Trouble ahead!


A guy striving to be the best, who practises alot every single day,
loses to a 2-Outer on the River. How does he feel?
He feels horrible! He feels betrayed! He got it in for the best but
loses! How is that fair? right?! 
A competetive guy will always feel this way!

It will get better over time. Pain barriers will extend, but it will 
take time! Lots of time! 
And he will probably never get completely rid of it. 
That's a very big Problem!

He will work even harder, but than he walks in danger of burning out! 
An easy target for tilt or demotivation to spread!
What is he supposed to do?

Stopping completely at this point is a missed opportunity and a lot of 
missed money. Maybe even a missed career.

Prevention is key! Act before it happens!


How to prevent Tilt and Demotivation?


  1. Get Good!


    Now in all seriousness. The better you get at the game and its 
    strategic aspects, the better you will understand the swings and 
    the probabilities of winning and losing!
    The deeper the knowledge, the less it will impact your mindset and
    your way of thinking. In "The Mental Game of Poker" by Jared 
    Tendler there are described the 4 layers of "knowledge".
    In very short: The more automatic you can use a single aspects of 
    strategy the less it will vary when u shift away from your A-game.
  2. Gain Confidence

    1. and 2. go hand in hand!
    The better you get at the game, the more confident you will be, 
    which pays off big times in tough situations, that already would
    tilt a lesser player!
    If you can be sure you made a good play, that will be profitable in 
    the Long-Run, you will handle the situation better than a player who
    is questioning himself if he just made the right decision!
  3. Know yourself

    This is very imporant. Know what tilts you! Everyone is different! 
    Know what you are doing when you are tilted. Know how your body 
    reacts! Once u know all the sings you can instantly react before it 
    can cause damage!
  4. Set a Stop-Loss/Tilt-Stop

    A Stop-Loss will help you to prevent Tilt from rising. 
    I personally noticed, after I lost more than 4 Buy-Ins (usually 
    400bbs) in the past, I hardly could turn things arround and end up 
    above that -400bb for the Session/Day even tho I did not really 
    notice that I'm on tilt. 
    To be completely honest, things after that initial 4-Buy-Ins-Loss 
    usually went even worse. So I decided that to be my Stop-Loss for
    a Session.
    If I would lose 6 Buy-Ins at a single given day I would quit for 
    the rest of the day.
  5. Be honest to yourself

    I fell victim of deleting numerous Databases when things went not 
    as I wanned them to be..
    This is just hiding the truth and will get me nowhere! I know that 
    Don't make the same mistakes I did!
    We have to fight the cause of tilt and not give it the opportunity
    to hide!
    When you tilted you tilted. It's to late already! Just be better 
    prepared next time.
  6. Balance your live

    The better your live is balanced the further your Tilt-barrier 
    will improve! (the more "pain" you can handle!)
    Quality food! Quality time! Quality sleep! Everything equally 
    Some swear on yoga, some love to go to the gym, others believe in 
    advanced breathing techniques! (which sounds weird for someone like 
    me, who is not into the material)
    Again, everyone is different and should know what works best for 
    Balancing the live is especially important for the competetive 
    mind! Don't always be the workoholic! Have some time off to relax! 
    Take walks, throw some baskets or just watch a funny movie (no 
    poker streams you pleb)!

    Enjoy your live!

    Running can work wonders on the mind


Possible Triggers of Tilt

  • Single Bad Beat
  • Being Carddead
  • Drugs, Alcohol, RL-Problems
  • Constantly Losing small over a huge peroid of time
  • Losing Big in a Short timeframe
  • Running hardcore under EV
  • Trashtalk at the table
  • Losing Hands to a bad player
  • The feeling “Can’t win a single hand”

Different degrees of tilt

Jared Tendler, the god among Poker-Mental-Therapists, talks about 
7 Types of Tilt. I will sum them up in 2 main categories.

Hidden Tilt

Hidden Tilt is pretty much the first step of tilt. Sometimes you 
will not even notice it instantly. You just feel a little anger 
inside you and make stupid, non logical plays.
For example you Raise-First-In with hands that usually are not in 
your Range. Or worse, you call with Rags Preflop. You try to bluff 
more. You chase losses by calling down every single draw even though 
the Odds are completely wrong. 
This hurts your Winrate a lot but is nothing compared to the Second 
more obvious Type of tilt.

Obvious Tilt

Sometimes this is the follow up of the hidden Tilts if you couldn't 
turn things around. (which is the norm since our bad plays usually 
shouldnt pay off).
But sometimes something as hurtful happens that you will instantly 
start with obvious tilting!
Ever jammed Rags because u were angry? We all did right?
Ever called a 5-Bet shove with something like A3s vs a nit who has 
like 0,5% 3-Bet already? I did. 
Ever Rage-3-Bet every hand you had? Been there, done that!
Or even moved up a few limits to chase the losses? No comment on that!
It can go as crazy as putting all the Bankroll an one Single Nosebleed 

Obvious Tilts are mainreason why many Regs at the Micros are still losing players! Because they can’t hold their nerves together and tilt off Stack after Stack!

If we can fix this. We are already ahead of the majority of Players! 
Sounds simple?
It is f**n simple! Until it hits us again and we spew money like the 
worst of donks again!

When things go bad for you the next time just keep this in mind! Don’t tilt and you are very likely going to be a Winning-Player in the Long-Run!


Cure: How to stop tilt when it caught up on you!


My Only advise!  STOP PLAYING!

This is by far the most efficient way to stop tilting! It is very
unlikely that you can turn things around and stop Tilt while you 
keep on playing. Stop all your tables instantly if you can! 
Don't wait for the Big Blind to sit out! Believe me! 
Waiting on 6 tables for the Big Blind will give you plenty of more 
chances to lose a few more Stacks!

If you are a Tournament-Player at least unregister from every 
upcoming Tournament!

Get your head clear before you join the tables again. For some this 
will take hours, for others even multiple days! Just don't play when 
you are still mad/angry!

Also don't review hands, don't discuss Poker and don't learn Poker. 
Leave that for when ur state of mind is clear again. 
It might just further tilt you. Once Tilt got under your skin just 
leave Poker behind you for some time.

Only exception is if you set a good Stop-Loss and u are not angry 
and still well thinking. This is a good time to do some passive Poker


Every single Hand you don’t play while on tilt will contribute big for your Winrate by saving Money!



My personal example of tilting !

Facing the Dark Side of the Force!

Isn't it obvious. I'm writing this because it recently stroke me 
once again!
My pain barrier is far extended from where it has been a few months 
back, but I'm still struggeling every once in a while.
It all began 2 weeks ago. I peacefully played NL10 Fast Forward.
And there he was! Darth Vader! A Maniac!
I saw him jam very light 3 times in a row. 
He is a 64/50 with 37% 3bet and 17% 4bet.
I decided to take the high variance game and get it in against him 
whenever I expected to be ahead. 
All hands against Vader are within 20 minutes. I played 4 tables 
while Anakin only played 1 Table. 
Guess Mr. Skywalker gave some of my money to others since his 
Stack varies a little within the hands.
Hand1 ; Hand2 ; Hand3 ; Hand4
If you dont want to check out all the hands here is tdlr!
I pretty much single handedly boosted him from 70bbs to 700bb!

After those 4 Hands he left the table and so did I.

The next day I got a friend Request (probably because i have the 
Chat deactivated)
"Thanks for the 60 Cheeseburger Buddy!"
How mean is that? Only a true Shit-Lord can be that evil!!!!!!!11eleven


It has been 2 weeks since, and I am still running horrible. 
I did not really have many winnings days since then even tho I p
layed every day. Seems like the Dark Side of the Force is still keeping
me away from winnings!
I'm not that kind of guy who jams Rags when on tilt (thats in the past!)
But I just drift away from my A-Game, make silly Call-Downs and 
"Overbluff" my Draws vs the obvious Nuts. That stuff is expensive 
in the Long-Run!

I always try to start fresh and positive in my Sessions, but it doesn't
take to long until I got this weird feeling again. A feeling which tells
my head that I cannot win a single big Pot. 


I even feel like I can forcast the next card. It's always the worst 
card for my holdings, right?!

It got that far, that after trying to hide my terrible feelings about 
the game to the outside world, I just couldn't hold it back anymore. 
I was mad! I was angry! When I stepped away from the computer trying to 
sleep it wouldn't let me! I would get up again to beat up some 
Spinbotter in CS:GO or do some other stuff before I finally could fall 


Countermeasures taken

  • Right after that horrible day I decided to go down a limit until I get a good Winrate
  • I decided to take it as a topic for my Blog. This forces me to reasearch on a matter that really botheres me! Meanwhile it keeps me away from the tables until I am finished! I’m not playing Poker except the Daily Quest on 888 (because free money!) until this is done!
  • I enjoy the evenings in front of the TV for like the first time this year meanwhile!
  • I will finish “The Mental Game of Poker” before it’s getting dusty next to my bed
    (seems to be the perfect time for it)
  • Learn more again! Last few days was just a hardcore grind to release a Bonus! When i get back to the tables i will set the main focus on improving again.
  • Checking my basic ranges when starting again!
  • Obviously!Go to Yedi-Academy to get the Basic Light Side of the Force-Course

Final words

Tilt, Demotivation and Downswings are always going to happen! 
I see my current situation as an Opportunity to improve at this area. 
When the next mentally challenging Spot will come around I will be 
better prepared! I want to reach the point at which my mood outside of 
the game will not be effected at all anymore! (I think I can be a real 
douche when I am mad, and people around me just deserve better!)

How do you deal with tilt? What are your thoughts on my 
Countermeasures? What triggers you?  What was your thoughest time 
in poker so far? 

Let me know in the Comments-Section!

Subscribe or follow me on twitter to not miss a (bad) beat! Next up 
will be February Recap. Will be interesting if I can turn things around 
by then!

2 thoughts on “The Dark Sides of Poker, Tilt & Demotivation! Another attempt to fix the bad_habits!

  1. Nice Post Laying Poker Online Can Be Fun And Exciting, And There Are Some Pitfalls Are Come Along The Way While You Playing This Game. I Play On MyTeamPoker And I Enjoy It.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s