Chapter 9: Controlling your emotions.
For many of us controlling our emotions at the table is very hard. It’s crucial to master these emotions to become a highly profitable poker player. Otherwise in live poker, you’ll give away tells and online you’ll tilt and steam off chips.I’m going to try and teach you some thought processes and drills which helped me control my emotions.

The reason you mostly start tilting and steaming is either by a huge bad beat or losing various pots in a row. Basically your brain is telling you that you are losing more than you should.

Let us take AA all-in preflop as an example. When you get it in with AA, our brains already add the money to our stack. Because we know we’ll win it around 80 percent of the time. This makes every time we win seem standard. Our subconscious mind does not keep track of the amount of times we win. What they do keep track of is the amount of times we lose. Here surfaces the issue, we forgot about the wins and remember the losses. This could get you tilty as it really genuine feels like you lose at least 50 percent of the times.

Here is a thought many of you will know, but you might not pay much attention to it. Bad beats are the best player’s best friends. The more bad beats you get, the better you are. The more bad beats you give, the worse you are. Take yourself a sheet of paper and keep track of the amount of bad beats you give and get. Over a sustainable amount of hands you’ll have a fun statistic that will help your subconscious mind to know you play good. (As long as you get more bad beats.)

How to train yourself to stay emotionless at the tables? This is actually rather easy. First you need to accept the realities above. You have to understand and realize that poker is a game full of bad beats and variance. If you do not accept this, you will have an insane time controlling your emotions.

This is the drill I use to control my emotions. And understand the sentence… Controlling your emotions, doesn’t mean neglecting them!
The rule is that you have a poker face. You have all your muscles in your face relaxed. There is absolutely no emotion to be spotted on your face. If someone would see you as you look like that. They should think you aren’t interested slightly and don’t give a damn about anything happening. If it is your girl or a person with whom you are talking, they’ll feel as if you are scary.  Scary, now isn’t that a good thing at the table?

Try it out, read on from here and force your face to show not the slightest emotion until you finish. It is harder than you think. That is why you have to start this drill in small moments where you are focused on it. Start with 2-3minutes first and gradually built it up till you can control it at any time you desire. When you catch yourself expressing an emotion, promptly stop it and focus again on the drill.

Try it as well when you have a conversation with some body; make sure this person likes you, so there will be no harm in your social life. See how he/she reacts - in my experience, they never like it.

Combined with the drill above is an exercise which works really well. This exercise is to make you smile. From this point on, try to force yourself to smile every time you have your money in above 50%. Whether you lose or win, always and always smile. Say to yourself “Well done!”. In the start this will be forced and unusual, but when you keep doing it you’ll start feeling really satisfied with your plays. You’ll remember the good plays from that point on. (And yes smiling overwrites the drill above, but only smiling when you get your money in good!)

Challenge 13: Apply the drill at least 5 minutes every poker session together with the smiling.

A fun thing to know: When you are unhappy or not in the mood to be happy. Smile.. Just smile! Act as if you are happy and other people will perceive you are happy. And unconsciously you’ll become happy in no time. That is the power of ‘outside in’ and it is applied in the exercise.

These two exercises will help you to control your emotions at the table and get you a step further towards your goals.