Poker is a psychological game, and remaining emotionally neutral to potential chip swings is critical to success.
Lets go over the 7 things I use to prevent tilt in poker.
1) Avoid Over-Celebrating Wins
With the highs come the lows. If every time you win big, you pop bottles or buy a car, it may make the lows hit harder for you.
I will refrain from telling anyone to stop celebrating wins, but you should at least be aware of the potentiality of it causing the lows to seem worse.
Stay even keeled as much as possible, in your victories and defeats at the table. Both before and after the game. This can help you absorb any potential losses more easily.
If you want to celebrate, go for it, just be aware that overdoing it can lead to the lows hitting harder. Awareness is key.
2) Think Long Term
When you're looking at your poker graph, on a daily or weekly basis you may notice huge swings, but if you look at it on a yearly scale, it will hopefully look pretty smooth.
The example graph I keep going back to is Cumicon's poker graph. While he had a few losing sessions, his graph is nearly a strait line up.
Look at it from a long enough time frame and that'll help you detached from the daily result.
The Memory Transmutation Protocol™ is a method I developed for myself to help overcome bad or negative memories after studying under multiple masters including a yogic master for 5+ years.
Using some methods that they taught me, while adding in some of my own methods, I designed this method as a simple way to change bad memories into good ones.
The way it works is, you imagine yourself being in the bad memory, and then you re-imagine it in a positive light. You know how 3 people can look at a glass half full and interpret the same reality in 3 different ways.
- The optimist - The glass is half full
- The pessimist - The glass if half empty
- The engineer - The glass is twice too big
So again, you close your eyes, you think of the memory you are trying to change. You then re-imagine the negative memory, and while saying, "I bring in love, light and happiness." And you repeat this until the emotional impact of the memory goes away.
This is the gist of the protocol, and will get the job done. If you're looking for more, I teach an advanced version in my 8 Week Poker Mind Cleanse Course.
If you're looking to stay relaxed, massages are a great way to keep your mindset strong. I recommend every poker player get a massage at least once a month. What I mean by a massage is a full body massage, not just a back rub. Once a month is good, but once a week is better.
And if you have something else that helps you relax, such as meditation do that as well. Fill in the blank for anything that helps you relax here, and try to do it at least weekly.
5) Walk Away
If you're feeling a tilt feeling coming on, one of the best things you can do is cash out and walk away, if you're playing in a cash game. This doesn't mean, you have to leave for the night, but at least a 10-15 minute walk can help. Or anything to get you away from the table.
Now if you're playing in a tournament or playing a cash game that's hard to get into, walking away may not be allowed or socially acceptable. In this case there are a couple other things you can do.
If it's in the earlier stages of a tournament, you can take a short break 5-15 min, and got to the bathroom or whatever. Another option, which is what I use quite a bit, is just to fold every hand, unless it's AA, KK or AK. That way you can sit at the table and allow things to cool off for a while before you begin your regular game play again. I use this same technique if it's towards the end of a session and I want to lock in profits.
One final option is to massage pressure points or meridian points in your hand.
Find what works best for you and use it.
6) Accept It and Move On
If you make a mistake, accept it and move on. Or if you lose 1/2 your chip stack, accept it and move on.
The past and the future and just memories or future projections and don't exist, except in your head. What's in the past is just memories. Let these memories go, and this will allow you to live in the present moment.
In the Law of Attraction, what you think about expands. If you keep thinking about a past memory, you are more likely to make it happen again, because it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.
Learn to control your thoughts, and that will change your results accordingly.
7) Work On Yourself
The last part and most important one is to work on yourself. What I've seen in the poker community and in life in general is that many people are living with the "not good enough" mentality. Meaning, no amount of money is ever enough, no amount of poker bracelets is ever enough, no amount of "whatever" is never enough. This never enough mentality leads to people over reacting when they don't get their way, because of a feeling of lacking from within.
Work on yourself to overcome this lacking from within, and the meaningfulness of each poker pot will become less and less. This doesn't mean you can't enjoy poker, but what it can do is take away a lot of the emotional attachment you get while playing.
How can you work on yourself? Read old books on meditation, listen to the Kybalion, higher a 1 on 1 mental game coach, listen to audio books on self development and improvement, join meditation groups, the list goes on...
The work you put into evolving your mental strength, will pay off in many ways.
That's it for the 7 methods I use for preventing tilt.