Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Frustrations of Playing Poker

The frustrations of playing poker can at times be more then a handful to deal with. The many levels of tilt that surround us, waiting to pounce on our unsuspecting soul, are always hard to avoid but we must to be successful at the game. But how do we do avoid those pitfalls? How do we get back out of the pit of tilt induced bankroll reduction after we fall into it?

One of the things I try to do is set aside time for playing poker. I have two days a week that are dedicated to time spent on the virtual felt but there are constraints within that time that I follow to insure that I am playing with a prepared mind. Wednesday night happens to be one of the nights that I play regularly, mainly because I enjoy playing the Mookie but also because it breaks up the week. I will log on sometime in the evening to register for the Mookie and then get back on around 20 minutes before the start to play the Razz event that starts at 8:45 or to catch up on my blog reading. I will plan to play the second chance and may find one other tourney to keep me busy if I am knocked out early. My time commitment is until midnight unless I’m making a run at a tourney in which case I will stay up until it is over. I will not start anything after 10:30 unless I don’t have to work the next day.

My other day is usually Friday night and I will start the same way by logging on around 20 minutes before 9:00 and signing up for a 9:00 tourney. I will look for other events that perk my interest and will start a tourney no later then 12:00 unless I’m being stupid. Then I may sign up for something like Razz if JJ or Waffles want to play. For the most part, I have my times set up in advance and know what events I’ll be playing for the night well before I start.

Having my time and event allotment set up before I start helps me to control tilt-induced buy-ins that give away money with no chance of return. When I went through my 7-week bankroll reduction plan back late last year, I would be knocked out of a tourney and just jump onto the next one without any thought of consequences. By having a plan I can control the negative affects of tilt.

Having this plan also reduces family tilt in many ways. In my case, I avoid playing before my youngest two are in bed helps a lot. They have many more needs then my oldest and can interfere with focus at any moment. In addition, by following the plan, my time has been segregated so that any request of my time have already been made and accounted for.

Now there are times when I’ll play outside of the system but they are few and usually involve the kids being out of the house. These times are my most vulnerable because they are “free time” and I have to stay focused on bankroll expectations or fear another bankroll reduction of monumental proportion. I’ve stayed within management constraints on these days but have come close to making stupid decisions because I have time to get the loses back. For this reason I’ll put a $ value on what I will play for these “free nights” regardless of wins and loses.

They key result of planning a nights gamming is that when the poker gods decide that you will lose no matter what you do, you have an escape plan that allows you to cut your loses. No more chasing the bad beats and giving away large chunks of your bankroll because you have no self-control. By not allowing tilt to continue the bad run, you make money by not losing it.

This is a conservative approach to playing the game but with it, I’ve been able to maintain a higher level of focus and my results have seen a direct impact from the planned poker night. If you are having trouble with tilt issues or your bankroll management lacks focus, try using this approach to minimize distractions and put you in a winning mind set.

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