Emotional Aspect of the Game

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bw07507

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So I have been playing poker regularly for the past couple months and I feel that my play is improving every day and I feel progress made every tournament I play. There is one thing that I can not get over though, its the emotional aspect of the game. I finally learned that when I am pissed after a bad beat not to tilt and start throwing away money at cash games, but I still get fairly upset, even if I only lose a small amount of money. I guess that I value money too much, because even losing a small amount kind of pisses me off, and I just dont know why. When looking at my bankroll I seem to only be happy if it is going up all the time, and I mean all the time. If I get up 30 dollars on the day, then it drops 10 I will get pissed. I know I should start looking at things in the longer run, but I just cant seem to.

I have always been very competitive and always want to win at everything I do, I am finally learning that this is impossible when playing poker, there will be some times when I take bad swings and lose some money. Anyone have any advice for overcoming the emotional aspect of the game or is it just my type of personality and I will probably never get over it?
 
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broncos53

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well i am the same way and have to step away from the computer or else i will lose a whole bunch of money i guess if you figure it out and have any good advice let me know lol
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

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Some people are just more emotional than others (or rather can't hold their emotions in as well as others can). I don't think there's much you can do other than keep playing; with experience will come the ability to suppress those emotions. I myself am terrible with tilting, and still after about 2 or 3 years of playing I look at daily profits which affect my emotions directly. For example if I was down $X yesterday, if I lost again today another $Y, I would really start getting stressed out. It doesn't affect my play much anymore, but it sure does affect how much I want to play.

I don't think I could ever deal with the stress of playing full-time. Just too many ups and downs.
 
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FamilyGuyW00

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I really doubt that I could deal with the full time playing, and doing it for money that I deposit in. I get all my money from freerolls (Not that much so far) and I get angry whenever I lose that, or lose a freeroll in general. I'm in the same boat as you pretty much, very competitive and I hate to lose. If I'm appalled at someone's hand on FTP, or they get really lucky, let's just say I've been known to make Hellmuth look like a junior when it comes to blowing up. I had a time, a couple of weeks ago, when I could shrug off the loss, but that evaporated quickly. If I lose to a better hand then I'll concede and click out quietly, but if they catch on the flop or the river, or call with trash and get lucky...Get the kids out of the room.
 
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TurnipHead

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A guy goes to a racetrack with $10, puts it on a horse to win the first race - it wins. He puts all the winnings on a horse in the second race - it wins. He puts all the winnings on a horse in the 3rd race - it wins. He does this with success up till the last race. He puts all $50000 of his winnings on a horse in the last race. It is clear ahead up to the final bend but then tires and is pipped at the post and loses by a nose.
As the guy leaves the racetrack he sees his friend who asks him, "How did you get on today?" The bloke says, "Oh, not too good. I lost $10!"
If you are playing a poker session and you are up $30 but then lose $10; you are still ahead (winning) by $20! If you are fuming about the bad beat then take the advice of every decent poker player out there - get up, leave the table. Have a shower, take a bath, take a walk, go for a drive, do the dishes; anything to bring yourself back round to having that clear-headedness that made you play your "A" game in the first place. You can do this safe in the knowledge that you have skillfully won $20!
So my advice? Just think about that guy at the race track. If you're up on your original bankroll deposit (and it seems from your post that you are) then your ego and competitive nature can rest easy - you're a winning player!
 
titans4ever

titans4ever

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This is how I started to look at the game and hands to stop me from getting so upset. Every hand you play is a coin flip or close to it. Most hands preflop are right around 50/50 to 60/40 heads up. There are multi-player pots where nobody is expected to win the hand 50% of the time. How often do you expect to win? If you can't accept those odds then poker is not for you. You can't win all the time with those odds.

Lets play this simple game. We have 20 blank cards. On 12 of them I write "I pay you $1" and I write on 8 of them "you pay me $1." That gives you a 60/40 advantage if we flipped all 20 every time. Now lets play every day but instead of flipping all 20 we only play until I say stop. If it was up to you we would play all 20 every day because you will be ahead every time. Since I get to chose, there will be those days that I will draw 3 or 4 of my cards before you get one and I stop the game. There will be more days when you draw 3, 4, or 5 cards more than me. In the long run you will be ahead 3/2. This is poker. You can play hands that have better than 50% to win all the time but when do you stop? You don't always have to time to sit and play until the odds catch up for you and you start winning.

Turning it to a real poker example.
I give you A10 and me KQ and we run out 5 sets of community cards. This is about a 60/40 for you to win. I will will win 2 and you 3 in the long run. Doesn't seem much of difference does it. The problem is can you sit long enough to let the odds play out. You have to wait for the good hands to get these odds. You may not get into enough of these situation in the hour or two you can play for the day to see a profit. But if you keep at it the odds will eventually slide towards you and you will make money. That is why you have to look at the month or even the year to see if you truely are a good player.

If you can't broaden you view or take these odds, then poker is not for you.
 
dj11

dj11

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One of the reasons, amongst several, for chips is to help you seperate the idea of money from the game. When the game was played before chips, I imagine the emotions ran much higher. It was real hard currency that was played.

Here is where PlayChips come in real handy. I have always taken PlayChips seriously. Granted Play Money games are not to a calibur of play that real money games are. However it is a cheap way to learn an awful lot about the game. One of the things I learned, finally, was to seperate the idea of money from chips.

No one loves getting bad beat. Even with play chips. However, I don't mind getting beat in a hand with 2 or more great hands. It's the cheap suckouts that drive us all a bit tilty.

The important thing is to seperate the notion of chips=money out of your current thinking. As so many here will tell you, DO NOT BE RESULTS ORIENTED!. Rather concentrate on making good decisions, and finding the self control to act on those good decisions. Remember it can easily be a fold that is the best decision.
 
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ken8400

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i have been playing for 3 or so years on line poker. i like turnups post. i always try to play my best. when i first started playing BB's use to really piss me off. now after 3 years i just shug it off. it's just something you can't get away from. in freerolls pp just don't care what they bet on. look at the Full Tilt wsop FR , have 6 pp or more on the first hand allin. most got notta and get lucky , crazy. the best way i find is playing alittle higher stakes SNG , usally better players. hopefully in time you will just shug it off and go on.
 
Demosthenes

Demosthenes

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I have been playing poker for 3 years now, mostly live with some online, and I have found that I get pissed the same amount no matter the stakes or how much I lose. What I really feel bad about is either(or both) bad play and bad cards. Oddly enough, bad beats don't get me too upset(because I know that I make money off of that type of behavior in the long run.) All I say about bad beats after they happen is "good hand", and if someone else comments I say "eh, happens". I have found this very practial approach helps me stay focused on the hands to come.
All the best,
Demosthenes.
 
edge-t

edge-t

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FWIW, I'm emotional when it comes to losing even a tiny amount of money too. Most of the time, I'm pissed about my own bad play.

It puts me on tilt, I lost a chunk of my BR to bad play last few nights. all I can say is: Nothing loses you money faster than getting emotional.

I'm still learning the emotional aspect of poker, and how to control it further.
 
Schatzdog

Schatzdog

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Jun 29, 2005
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I think this is a very complex part of the game.

I'd say that for most players the pain of losing $100 doesn't equal the joy of winning $100. In that sense then poker is a minus sum game emotionally. This can be pretty hard. On another forum I was reading about some big time players whose equity swings are measured in $1000's per day and that alot of them find this hard to reconcile, because they become emotionally cold in the real world.

One way of dealing with the pain of loss is to completely and utterly accept the risk of loss. At a psychological level, once you are resolved about the risk of loss then you will stop riding your equity curve. You will concentrate on proper play and truly understand what it means to play a probability based game.

I might also add that personality types prone to perfectionism will often find it very difficult to integrate this at an operational level of thinking.
 
titans4ever

titans4ever

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One way of dealing with the pain of loss is to completely and utterly accept the risk of loss. At a psychological level, once you are resolved about the risk of loss then you will stop riding your equity curve. You will concentrate on proper play and truly understand what it means to play a probability based game.

If you are not ready to lose your whole buy-in in the first hand when you sit down then you are playing above your comfort level. The money that you set down in front of you is no longer yours. You have to earn it back and fight just to keep it. You stop focusing on the money infront of you and the start focusing on the cards and players around you.
 
Stefanicov

Stefanicov

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:) The way i have found to help me to stop tilting is to put humour into the game. If my ak gets beat by aq aipf i laugh because if i didnt i would get slighty annoyed and once u start on that slippery slope you have had it as you will start noticing every bad thing that happens to you and your play will suffer accordingly.
I know i have tilting pretty much under control as in a recent tourny i was down to the last 50 with an average chip stack. I got disconnected and when i got reconnected i look at the table and there i am in the bb 2 players all in and aces in my hand. They auto folded 2 players in show kk jj the board hit neither i woulda been chip leader by a long way. In the past i woulda tilted the tourny but i was amazed to find didnt affect my play at all and managed to ft. Now i cant guarentee i will eact this way always but it is a good start
 
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