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T is for Tilt.

Most professional poker players I know, especially online pros, take many bad beats every single day.  This is because of the large volume of hands they're playing of course. The more you play the more variance, the more your big hands are gonna get cracked.  So they develop thicker skins when it comes to tilt, or so you might think. The online pros I talk to tell me that tilt is always a factor and that for the most part its not a problem. Its when the bad beats come at them in such a large volume or when they have day after day of bad sessions that it tends to wear on them. It can be like torture.

T is for Torture.

The torture that is felt as a result of tilt is one that I believe is manifested in ones self. What I mean is when you feel yourself starting to tilt, for whatever reason, do you have an outlet? Do you take a break, a walk, a smoke? Do you take a deep breath and try to understand what just happened. Why it happened. Was there something you could have done to prevent it from happening? if so, have you learned from it? If there was nothing that you could have done to prevent the tilt inducing event and you played the hand the best way you could have... then embrace that.  Sure he sucked out. HE RIVERED YOU!  You had him! Don't torture yourself. Embrace your good play and find satisfaction in it.

"Why me? why do they always suck out on me?"   Every time I go to a local casino with a close friend of mine, this is his mantra for 30 minutes as we drive home after he gets knocked out.  We've been close friends for many years and I've tried so many times to have him look at the positive. But no, he just wants to wallow in his misery and just won't learn from whatever just happened.  he is a good player but because of this tilt issue he just won't evolve as a player and in my opinion will always be stuck in a mode of self pity.

"Why me?"  - why not you?

T is for Temperance. 

Temperance is a virtue that has a lot of  historical, religious, and philosophical implications. I don't want to get into any of these. What I'd like to focus on is the psychological aspect of temperance and how it applies to poker. In my opinion the four subclasses of Temperance: Forgiveness, Humility, Prudence and Self-regulation can help me improve my game. Each can be a tool for tilt control and hopefully improve my game overall.

Forgiveness - Learn to forgive yourself. Yeah, you made a mistake.  You realize and recognize it. Learn and move on. Forgive and let it go. Otherwise it has the potential to creep up later in your game and affect you again and again."What about that fish that called me with the A-7 off-suit and beat my A-K?" So what? If you knew you had him dominated, wouldn't you want him to call? Really?  don't dwell about the variance in poker you simply CAN'T control. Forgive and forget.

Humility - There is strength in modesty. So many poker player have something to prove.Your results are what's going matter. I believe staying humble helps me focus. Its not weak and its not passive.  Aggression is important in key spots but humility will help you recognize your own mistake, keep an open mind to new ideas and help you be a better poker player overall.

Prudence - I read this definition  “being careful about one’s choices, not taking undue risks, and not saying or doing things that might later be regretted.” If I could work on being more prudent at the poker tables I expect my game to improve overall.

Self-regulation - this one almost seems self-explanatory, but it's definitely one of the things I need to work on the most. Self control, discipline and evaluating what i've done is going to be the key for me to move up and become a stronger poker player every single time I get dealt in.

Obviously theres pages upon pages that can be written about these subclasses. These have helped me, though. 

T is for Tilt and for me it will become Temperance. What does T stand for you?
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