July 28, 2011

mental A+ game

This is a clearer version of what to do when you are on tilt and how to prevent it as well as play better while on tilt. Anyway, with regards to mental state....

A good thing to do is to write out the triggers you notice; do you get hot headed, does your heart beat faster, do you start to click aimlessly on the HUD to find some stat or other to search for clues as what to do, do you sweat, do you get short of breath, do you check the balance, the winnings losses for the session, do you fold a weak hand like Q3 preflop only to see the board come Q33 and then two fish get all in only to get pissed off and wish you'd have just played that shit this one time?

These are all different examples of things I feel are my triggers. If I notice a couple of these triggers then its a good sign I am on the way to full blown tilt and its time to stop and sit out for a while. Recognising your triggers is a skill, as is learning to be able to pull yourself away to get recomposed. If you can get to the point where you recognise the trigger and then mentally reset yourself at the table and carry on grinding, while not affecting your performance, that is the main goal. 

However it will take training to do this, you cant train to run a marathon by sprinting 100 meters every few days, you get used to sitting out and mentally resetting yourself, then work on making your re-composure more efficient, as well as noticing your triggers sooner and recomposing quicker so that your mentality is correct to play the hand in front of you in the most +EV manner.

With regards to your play, Jared Tendler points out that the mistakes we make when we are on tilt are opportunities to learn our fundamental thoughts. Emotions do not play the hands for you, what they do instead is cut off the rational part of your brain from making logical 'in the moment' decisions. What happens as a result of this is that you then revert back to what you would consider to be the 'standard' play and your procedural memory kicks in and plays the hand for you.

So if you are on Tilt but have been playing poker seriously for a while, it is very unlikely you would start to tilt and then opening 72o. Its become so ingrained in your procedural memory that you just fold 72o in any situation that it will not be a problem. However, while you are on tilt other problems will become apparent. Say you are in an emotional mindset and then you flat a 3 bet OOP with 56s and check call down on an A624T board. This is an opportunity to correct your procedural memory, you were not thinking straight, and you called down second pair in a 3 bet pot. A huge error. Yet you didnt call 72o preflop, a small error in comparison. The difference is that this 3bet pot spot is not ingrained in your procedural memory.

The more you recognise spots like this which come up and give you problems 'while you were on tilt' - its an opportunity to learn something about the leaks you have in your game and to combat them head on using the 5 step process Jared Tendler lays out in his book and videos.

The five steps to fixing your leaks are:

1. Write out the mistake and be as specific as possible. 

2. Write out the rationale behind your play and why you currently make this play consistently.

3. Write out why the rationale behind #2 is flawed. 

4. Write out a correction that directly challenges step #1.

5. Write out why your correction is correct. Directly challenges step #2.


reason I think this:
reason this thinking is flawed:
reason why the correction is the most logical:

So, heres one of mine - 3 bet pots

leak: In 3 bet pots I call down v light post flop because I think people are bluffing a lot.

reason I play this way: People 3 bet light a lot in my games and I do not want to get exploited.

highlighting the flawed logic: People 3 bet for value or as a bluff. People tend to give up on hopeless bluffs post flop, so calling down lightly post flop is costing you lots of money. When you are facing a strong range, bluff catching is a -EV play.

correction: I do not call down light in 3bet pots just because people 3bet bluff a lot preflop. I call because it is +Ev and I fold if it is -EV.

reason the correction is logical: Players at small stakes rarely bluff 3 streets in 3 bet pots because attacking strong ranges is a bad idea, balance is not as big of a factor at small stakes and regs are not bluffing as often as you would like to imagine.


If you can first of all learn to recognise the triggers you have which set you on the road towards tilt, list them and get good at spotting them as soon as they come up during playing and take a step back to reset your mind before you are over the deep end. Second of all list the plays you make while you are 'on tilt' and your procedural memory is making your decisions for you. Attack them with the 5 step protocol and then keep an eye out for improvement.

Posted By Acombfosho at 01:24 AM


Tags: mental A game 100%


doc.lemon posted on July 28, 2011 at 03:45 AM

Lemon (automobile)

The word triggers was used in Saibots vid right?
I think it's missleading/wrongly used.
Tilt triggers hart beating faster, not the other way around. I think the word trigger should be replaced by a 'sign' or 'symptom' that are triggered by tilt, or a suck out etc.

doc.lemon posted on July 28, 2011 at 03:46 AM

Lemon (automobile)

yup, I found one of Jared's articles on Pokerstartegy extract:

Spotting the early signs of tilt may be obvious to some of you, but to many others it’s not. That’s why I mentioned the need to complete a tilt profile in my last article. By studying your pattern of tilt, you can identify the subtle signs that show your anger is rising.
The good thing about tilt is that it happens in predictable patterns in each person. The more you pay attention to your pattern, the stronger your ability to take action. Actually study and take notes about your tilt. It’s really the only way that you’ll be able to control it and in the long-run understand it well enough to resolve the causes of your anger.
Here are a few examples of signs to look out for:
• Starting to open up more hands and play more aggressively
• Acting faster
• Head becomes hot, hands clench and/or holding your breath more
• Swearing to yourself or at your opponents
• Forcing the action and making basic mistakes
This is just a general sample of signs of tilt. Make sure in your tilt profile that you also write down what triggers or sets off your anger, for example a bad beat, losing, mistakes, aggressive action etc. Ultimately, knowing what sets you off becomes another way to recognise that tilt may be rising. If you tilt because of bad beats and you get a bad beat, it’s safe to assume that you need to take, or be ready to take, aggressive action to control your anger.

corkeye posted on July 28, 2011 at 21:20 PM


I find tilt for me, cognitive.

Ie, something pisses me off, i then call a little wider in the next hand/game, which leads me to lose, then i get more stressed, my game gets worse, i chase all draws and pick goofier spots to bluff etc. Luckily for me i havent got like this in a while (in the past i have spazzed off HUGE chunks of my roll), so i think you are correct OP that you have to spot the triggers then log off asap


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