Emotional Mastery Over Poker Tilt
posted in Poker Psychology, Poker Strategy on 25 July 2017 by

Here’s a fun topic I spent some time working on. It’s incomplete but this is an endless topic. Does it make sense to anyone else, or just me? (To give credit where it’s due, this is my take on Anthony Robbins – you can do a search for his books.)

Realizing Emotional Mastery, Step by Step.

This is Performance POKER, right? What does emotion have to do with it? Emotion has plenty to do with it, and you need to work this section just like you work all the others. It WILL make a difference both in how much you win, and in the way that poker affects your life.

“Tilt” is poker cancer. You catch it, you die. It is that simple. And tilt is caused by a visceral, emotional response to what’s happening. Make sense?

Online poker is a very “in your head” activity. You stare at a computer screen. Your emotions take a roller-coaster ride. It’s all the adrenaline of a wrestling match without the physical activity. You need to be able to deal with it or it can affect your health. Make sense? {D.U.C.Y.?}

What happens online doesn’t stay online. You have family and friends with whom you interact. You have other activities and responsibilities beyond poker. When bad poker experiences become bad life experiences, you’re in for serious problems that can affect both your poker and your life. You still with me?

The most common effects of poor emotional mastery over online poker are:

Sleep loss

Disruptions in relationships with your spouse or family

Losing money by going on tilt

Things getting thrown from your computer desk and broken computer mice (from being slammed down after a bad beat)

Lingering feelings of extreme frustration and/or desperation

You have to understand that some of these effects are caused by mental stimuli, some are caused by emotional stimuli, and some are caused by physical effects of mental and emotional stimuli. If you don’t have the tools to address the effects and keep them in check then you will lose money,
damage relationships,
and hurt your emotional and physical health.

Most poker players are men, and men generally don’t acknowledge emotion. In poker most men see things as mathematical, strategic, good and bad, right and wrong, smart and stupid. “I did this, which was SMART. The idiot did that, which was STUPID. The idiot won, which is WRONG!!” RIGHT?

Bad beats are the most common cause of emotional explosions. Emotional explosion doesn’t mean YOU exploded or did something violent, it means you experienced an emotional surge. Losing sessions are the most common cause of lingering emotional “grass fires” that burn low, but burn long. Not having your expectations fulfilled is the most common cause of frustration and even desperation. We’ll call these common emotional effects of poker, and anything else like them, emotional disruptions. (For Star Wars fans they are disruptions in The Force.)

I have to warn you, though, that the solution isn’t a simple thing you will read about and that will magically provide you protection from the effects of emotional disruption. You will need to pay close attention, do the exercises and remember the tools, just like you remember starting hands, betting patterns, and anything else in poker. The skill of staying emotionally even IS a vital POKER TOOL that is required to be a Performance Poker player. So, knuckle down.

Step 1 – Recognize You Are An Emotional Being

Whether you feel enraged or just a little uncomfortable, whether your head is about to explode or you just feel a ping in the pit of your stomach, your emotions do affect your play. What you need to realize is anything other than calm, assertive, positive energy can affect your play and your life negatively. It doesn’t matter if you weigh 250 pounds, bench press 250 pounds, or jump out of helicopters for a living, you are an emotional being. Ignore it and you will pay the price. Embrace it and you will learn that harnessing your emotions can be a powerful and useful poker weapon.

Here’s how it works. When you lose, your body secretes hormones that change your physical state. When you lose unexpectedly, hormones wash over your system causing an immediate and persistent physical reaction. The same happens when you win unexpectedly, from say catching a card on the river. Early in your poker career LOTS of things can cause this physical reaction because almost everything is new and unexpected. As you gain experience it will happen less often, but still more than once per playing session. If you don’t deal with the physical effects they will cost you money…

Click here to continue reading the full thread, Emotional Mastery.

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