In the absence of a mathematical explanation in poker, one thing is certain: if you engage in gambling long enough, these games will affect the way you see God. If you successfully win three hands with a straight draw, you consider that you won because you are blessed. But if you are the person who loses to a draw for the third time, then you will go home with the feeling that you have been cursed." If you will win for thirty days in a row, it does not make any difference if on the thirty-first you have a bad night, you fall and lose everything you have won. Emotions can be compared to a rollercoaster ride during a poker sessions, but maintaining control over them is vital to having a solid poker strategy. Professional poker players devote a great deal of time and energy to maintaining a clear mind and a stable mental state. However, that rollercoaster ride gets out of control - and emotions take over. When this happens, you are said to be in a “tilt” state. Tilt in poker occurs when you are not able to make rational decisions at the poker table because your emotional state overwhelms you. And before you start thinking that this will not happen to you, if you have ever played poker, then it is very likely that you have already met the tilt in one form or another.
It happens to just about everybody at some stage. I’m more composed now than I used to be, it would take a lot to wind me up, but I agree, if you can hold yourself together, chances are you will do well in the long run. Getting heated and shoving won’t get you far, that’s for sure. Just have to take it as it comes, one game, one tournament at a time.
Mental game is the most important thing in long term poker success. I thought that tilt wouldn’t have any affect on me as I was sure I had mastered how to handle it. Yet, about a month ago, I went on a ten day spree of not beating anything, and I mean anything. Every hand I had would get crushed no matter what I held. I even lost holding AA with a A on the flop having made large bets to a 72o that hit two more 7s and another 2. On a site where the players would have real money invested it’s unlikely that someone holding 72o would’ve continued playing after my large bets. But I digress. By the 7th or 8th day, I truly began to question my poker skills. But, I persevered and dropped down to as low as 1/2 and slowly found my groove again and now am back up to the stakes I was playing regularly. I don’t always win, but I’m back winning far more than I lose. It was a lesson to me to never think tilt won’t happen to me.