I think there are two distinct sides to this thread emerging:
- psychological reasons you lose a hand
- mathematical reasons you lose a hand
Initially, I was thinking about strictly mathematical situations where I tend to lose most of my chips. But as I go on, I think that more of my chips are lost for psychological reasons.
My top two are:
- “I need to win a hand soon”
The second really translates into an urgency, or impatience, that comes up, usually when I’m short stacked, and have put pressure on myself to double up or bust because I’ve already lost enough chips to put myself in such a position where that becomes my best strategy.
And usually the reasons I’ve lost that many chips in the first place goes back to mathematical reasons: raising high cards and then missing the board with them, getting called on a bluff because I’ve put up a lot of chips on those high cards and didn’t want to lose the hand, or chasing a draw that didn’t fill.
As for tilt, for me it usually happens when I had a strong hand, but it was beat by a better hand, particularly if it’s a come-from-behind win where I gave poor odds to call, and the player called anyway and sucked out. Sometimes it’ll happen when I have a hand that initially was quite strong, but then as the board runs out, it’s looking increasingly mediocre.
A good example: flopping top two pair, but the ranks of the cards on the flop are close enough in rank that they compliment another player’s hole cards to make a straight. Like, I’ll have QJ, flop QJ9, and sure enough someone else has KT, and I won’t see another Q or J to improve me to a full house. Or the flop will be great: QJ3, rainbow, but then the board will run out 9-T, and someone will have, say, K3, and called a 1/2-pot size bet on the flop because, after all, they had a pair of 3s. I’ll see the straight (or flush, or whatever) coming, and try to bet the other player off of it too late, which works if they never had the draw to begin with, but if they do, I’m just bloating the pot to give it to them, which is pretty bad strategy.
So, I’m working on not doing that. Avoiding tilt has proven more difficult than I thought – I keep thinking I’ve overcome it, only to find myself back in it again when I get triggered.