How to handle a bad beat in poker

February 20, 2013

As poker is a game that will always include an element of chance, it’s impossible for players to determine the outcome of every hand. Usually, a good player can determine whether to fold or call with good precision, and usually, if a player makes a good call, he will be rewarded for it. But sometimes things just don’t go the way we plan, and bad fortune strikes.

The bad beat. We’ve all been there. You’re sitting with a strong hand on the flop, and you making you’re bet. Your opponent immediately goes over the top of your bet, shoving all his money into the pot. You stop to think, and you have a feel that he’s bluffing and after pondering your decision for a while, you decide to call. As you opponent flips over his cards you are delighted to see that you have caught holding absolutely nothing, and you just wait for the turn and river to be flipped over so you can collect your winnings. Then, by coincidence, the turn and the river ends up giving your opponent a very, very low percentage straight. As he realizes he’s won the pot, he looks up at you with a sly smile, as you feel the rage bubbling up inside you, fists clenched and teeth grinding…

At this point it is very easy to lose your judgment and your logic, and just start playing recklessly to recover your losses. In the poker world this is called going “on tilt”. Now, this is something you really want to avoid, as your success in poker is based on making the right decisions, and the right decisions are really tough to make when you’re in that state of mind.

So how do we stop ourselves from going on tilt? Well, the explanation is quite simple, and with a little will power and discipline you can stop yourself from doing it. First of all, if you are a serious poker player you have to think of poker as a long time investment. It is not about making a quick buck, but rather to play for long term profits by making the right decisions based on the odds of winning a pot. If you come from this frame it’s much easier to separate your emotions from the game, and just see poker that something that has both ups and downs, but thanks to your strategy there will always be more ups than downs! There’s another great website for spanish speaking texas holdem poker players called

Another thing which might seem very fundamental and obvious, but we want to bring up anyway, is trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Poker demands a lot of concentration, and if you’re playing on several tables for hours and hours, your mind is going to get wired. Try to eat healthy food and drink a lot of water to try and stay on top of things. It’s when we are tired and weary we are likely to be a bit edgy, making it much more likely for us to go on tilt when we’re having bad luck!

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