Dealing with bad beats and bad runs in poker
By Bob Garcia
Every poker player faces ups and downs in poker and has to learn how to avoid tilting
Poker might be a game of skill, but there is always a component of luck that cannot be ignored, especially when that luck turns bad and players experience bad beats and bad runs. It can happen at any time, and not being able to manage the emotions nor deal with them properly can end up risking success during a game of poker. There are people who prefer walking away from a table when they face consecutive sessions where the good luck is nowhere to be found; however, for many, being able to shake off those bad beats is what can change the situation for the better.
Basically, if you are playing well, then you must know that the outcome of each hand is not going to define your entire game; you always need to look at things with a long-term approach. Poker is a mental game, so if you are certain that you are giving your best and yet luck is not on your side, you need to be able to overcome that. It would be an entirely different thing if the case were that you are losing at a table because you are playing badly. In that case, you really need to work on improving your game.
One piece of advice for when a situation like this arises is not to get obsessed with it and walk away for a while. It is okay to get mad – that’s normal behavior; however, continuing to play while you are mad might be the worst thing you can do. Pick up your chips and go home so you can come back the next day when you have cooled off. It is never, ever a good idea to play on tilt because your focus will be somewhere else, and your game won’t be as solid as it should be. You can train your brain to accept bad beats knowing that it only represents a small loss and it will not harm you in the long run, but until you do, it is better to cool off when you feel anger feelings are taking over.