Taking A Beat

by snoopy
Submitted by: snoopy on Wed, 22/08/2007 - 2:07am
Taking a beat is quite possibly the most difficult skill to master in poker. You may be a top class player with every move in the book, but if you can’t take a knock without going on tilt, then sooner or later, you’re going to go bust. Not even the greatest player in the world can avoid the occasional bad beat.

Now, when I use the term ‘beat’, I don’t just mean a bad beat or an outdraw, players can just as easily go off the rails from misplaying a hand or misclicking at a crucial point. If it’s costing you money, then somewhere, deep down perhaps, there’s a part of you that’s fierce with rage, and it is this fire that you need to learn to control.

A year or two back, I would have slipped into that dreaded pitfall that so many of us tend to succumb to. You’re tired, hot and bothered, sick of losing, then suddenly, you actually find a hand, a flopped straight perhaps. All the money goes in, but your donkey of an opponent somehow manages to fluke a runner runner flush. ARGH!!! Tilt Time!

But wait, before you start playing hands that earlier wouldn’t have been given a second glance, calling when you know you’re beat, and throwing away chips aimlessly in a desperate attempt to retrieve your losses, stand back for a moment and gather your thoughts.

Take a deep breath and ask yourself the following questions. Does it feel like the end of the world and, if you continue in this vain, are you likely to win your money back? If you find yourself answering either of those in the affirmative, then leave the room, immediately!

Barry Greenstein will splash water over his face, others will head out for some fresh air, many will simply sign off and take a break. Whatever your release, do whatever you need to do to avoid a nasty and ultimately unnecessary encounter with the Tilt Wolf.

It sounds easy, but it’s not. We often know we should stop, but something inside makes us play on. We want to win our money back, and quick, especially if we were unlucky to have lost it in the first place.

My advice would be to keep reassessing yourself and be honest. Too often we kid ourselves, thinking we’re fine, that we can continue playing a good game and remain focused. Poppycock! If you’re steaming, then admit it. If you’re playing badly, then tell yourself that you are.

If you can keep your feet on the ground and be consistently honest with yourself, then ending that unprofitable session before the tilt in you completely takes over becomes a hell of a lot easier.

Of course, if you’re numb to beats and you can continue playing with scant disregard for the financial losses previously encountered, then, by all means, play on, but those who possess this level of discipline are few and far between. Only a select few have the ability to adopt a robotic state of mind void of any unhealthy emotional response. In fact, they’ll be those 5% of winners that poker statisticians often speak of.

So, if you’re dealt a beat, be prepared to stand back momentarily, gather your composure, reassess the situation, and come to a realistic decision to whether continuing with the session is likely to result in a +ve session. Be honest, remain focused and take your beats like a man! We know most of your opponents won’t.