I have been going through a pretty long break-even stretch. Every time I won a buy-in or two and felt things were finally starting to go the right way, the bad beats would undoubtedly come and bring me back to square one. Through this whole stretch I never felt that I really played that badly or tilted too much. I believe that a large part of the credit for my mental stability should go the tilt prevention strategy that I have developed for myself, and that I will share in this blog post. But before we get to that part, here is:

The state of things

We’re back to winning ways! After a break-even stretch that seemed to last forever, it really feels good to be back in profitville.

As you guys can see I’m up about 12 buy-ins from my starting bankroll.  I attribute a large part of this profit to my increased aggression (both pre- and postflop) that has helped me get my redline under control. I have included the graph for my last 6k hands below.

Compare this graph to the one in my very first blog post to see the improvement. I’ve found that in 6-max, the red-line truly is a heavy tax on people who are too passive. I will try to continue to find spots where I can help my red line get even more horizontal through aggression. This is a bit difficult though, because at 5NL folding isn’t anybody’s strong suit.

Nasty_Hand’s tilt prevention technique

My way of dealing with tilt is quite simple. It requires a simple realization and a song. I’ll first talk about the idea that you really need to internalize. The song part I’ll get to at the end of this article. Here’s one of those hands that might qualify as tilt-inducing:

When all the money went in on the flop, I had 80% equity. This however meant nothing to the ****le gods of the turn and the river. What I see happen quite a lot after hands like these is that the person who lost the hand starts berating the fish in the chat for his terrible play. To illustrate how stupid this is, I’ll use the following hypothetical scenario:

Imagine if you will a game of football (soccer for Americans).  One team’s striker is through on goal and is one-on-one with the opposing goalkeeper. The striker then takes a terrible shot that sails high over the crossbar. Now imagine the goalkeeper subsequently running up to the striker and cursing at him for missing his shot.

If the scenario seems absurd to you, then you surely realize how foolish one of those angry victims of a bad beat look when they go off in the chat. The goalkeeper in the story should be glad that the striker took a bad shot. Similarly, in poker we should be glad when an opponent makes a bad play. Even in the cases when they get lucky and suck out on us.

Why would I get mad at the A2-guy from the hand posted above, for putting his whole stack in when I had 80% equity? He did exactly what I want anyone playing poker against me to do. The villain put all his money in the pot while I was the big favorite to win that pot. Making a value bet and getting called by worse is exactly what we want, so this should never make us mad and induce tilt.

The final result of the hand shouldn’t matter if your decisions were correct all the way. Once all the money is in the pot, you have done all that you can do as a poker player. You have no control over how the board runs out. However, we are still human, and sometimes we need to be reminded of the previous fact. This is where the song comes in.

Whenever I have get a string of bad beats that start to test my sanity, I get my special song ready. The song that does the trick for me is the soulful ‘Que sera sera’ by Sly & the Family Stone. If you’re a dude like me, just ignore the part about being a pretty little girl. The chorus of the song is where it’s at:

“Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be”


Singing along to this part helps quite a bit in keeping me off the tilty path, although the whole song has medicinal properties if you ask me. So that was my tried and true anti-tilt technique.

Any song suggestions for my anti-tilt playlist are more than welcome in the comments below. Also feel free to share your own tilt-combating techniques.

Good luck at the tables! (except against me)