Tilted Journey

It would be more than fair to say that I have had issues with tilt in the past.

Some of my biggest lows in Poker have come after a night of madness in which I’d blow the vast majority (if not all) of my roll.

The worrying thing is that the night would start like any other.  Tilt wasn’t normally due to my mood before I started playing for the evening, it’d only creep up on me mid game after maybe a couple of bad beats or a couple of big hands I played poorly didn’t go my way.

Usually I’m quite a level headed person.  I never lose my cool in the ‘real’ world, but a few years ago, online, I was an angry man.

Those that know me will be aware that I have very high expectations of myself in Poker.  Unrealistically high some would say.  However those self expectations a couple of years back were higher – to the point where I was not only expecting to end up in profit every night, but would have the arrogance of thinking I could or should be able to outplay any opponent at any given time.

So obviously when this didn’t happen I’d find myself frustrated as to why.

“How can he call there?”

That sentence is one I’ve said many times.  It’s also one I’ve seen said by many other players.  It often signaled the beginning of a losing session where I’d find myself in a hole early doors on Online Cash Poker and would spend the rest of the night trying to get myself out of it, worried about having a losing day.

One night was particularly bad as I found myself frustrated busting out of a couple of tournaments early.  Instead of calling it a night, I registered for some cash games.  After the first level wasn’t going well, I moved up stakes and opened more tables. 3 hours later I had my entire roll sat on one cash table playing stakes that were way too high for me at the time.  Stakes I had never played before.  After moving all in on a Open Ender Straight Draw with two overs and being called by 2nd pair (and missing my outs) I hit my laptop and cracked the screen.

That night hit me like a tonne of bricks.

I had only been playing online for about a year at that point so I was still new to the game, but I had started well giving me unrealistic expectations of what to expect going forward.  I had lost all my hard work over the months (minus a couple of withdrawals) in about 3 hours, and at the cost of a new laptop also.

I had just considered in that moment to quit the game for good and never play again.  However a couple of weeks later I had some Rakeback put into my account and through my TV screen I played a couple of tournaments on Sky.  As fate would have it I ended up winning the Main Event and finishing as a runner up in the Mini Event on the same night (this has its own significance but it’s not really relevant).

That was about 4 years ago now.  I’d like to say since then I’ve completely cured the tilt, but in truth, I haven’t.  I am however very very close.  I still have high expectations of myself to do well, however I find myself not making nearly as many rash or unnecessary decisions during games and I haven’t gone on a crazy cash game rampage in years.

I guess part of it is a level of maturity I’ve developed but I believe it’s also the realization that there’s no time limit in Poker.  Poker is a never ending game.  What’s the rush?

Everything these days seems to be immediate.  Everyone wants everything quickly.  Everyone wants everything now.  If not, why not?

It wasn’t until I started working for a Gaming Company that I realized that I had had that same mentality in Poker.  It was at that point that I really realized how stupid that was.

I also had to consider the reason why I was playing Poker.  Was I playing it for fun?  Was I playing it for money?  Winning money is great, but as I have a full time job, the primary reason I am playing should be for enjoyment.

Taking a step back and reducing the amount of games I’m playing over the last couple of years has paid dividends – particularly this year as I am only playing games when I really want to and not just out of routine.  Not only that, when I’m playing I’m well aware that I am not capable of winning everything, so I don’t try to.  I just play my normal game and see where it gets me.

This coupled with the fact that I’m going to more Live Events these days means I can get my Poker fix in other ways, whilst incorporating travel and meeting people face to face.  As I said before,  I don’t lose my cool in the ‘Real’ World, so that really is one way to cure tilt – reminding yourself that there are other real people playing against you in these games.

There is still the odd moment of disbelief at some of the plays I see at the tables but in general I’m a lot more positive at the online tables – something which is definitely a choice we can all make.

Good vibes only


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