Stress and tilt are two of the biggest factors affecting the winrate of the humble online poker player.
One of the best ways to tackle stress is to take a break but that’s not always possible. Work commitments will often prevent you from having some much needed time off.
If you’re at home it’s easy to log in to your favourite site and log a quick session even if you’re not feeling at your best. When the urge to play is just too much to resist you need to find some ways of preventing yourself from getting stressed and going on tilt.
Jared Tendler’s recent book, The Mental Game of Poker, is a fantastic resource when you are running badly. One of the key ideas contained within this breakthrough piece of poker literature is the idea of stress tracking. By breaking your session down into a series of categories you can better understand the source of your frustration and subsequently tackle it much better.
Some examples of how you can track your stress levels are:
Date/ Session/ Avg. Stake/ Performance/ Stress During/ Stress After/ Ran Good/ Run Bad/ Notes.
Once you’ve noted down these categories you should use them during and after every session to record information using a scoring system from 1 to 10. After you’ve filled this in you need to comment on how you are feeling, how stressed you are getting due to a certain hand, any anger or tilt issues: basically any emotions you can describe.
By writing down how you feel you can use the information to spot your stress patterns and, thus, prevent yourself from tilting. Additionally, it’s a great idea to continue with this tracking strategy when you are running well so that you maintain an even temperament.
Tackling stress and tilt is a matter of organisation. Once you can mark the things that make you annoyed at the poker table, you’ll be much more able to treat them and take your winrate to new heights.