In poker, you can’t win all the time, no matter how good you are. Even the best players will lose hands from time to time, and they sometimes get beaten even if it seems they had a clear shot of winning. This is known as a bad beat, and it’s something you’ll deal with fairly regularly if you play poker a lot.
Bad beats are inevitable, but that doesn’t stop them from being frustrating. When it feels like you have a clear chance of winning, you will usually take more risks and place bigger bets. If you then lose, it can be a lot to take. It’s easy to get upset and frustrated, but it’s important to always stay calm when you play poker. Letting your emotions get the better of you can lead to mistakes and further losses.
Why You Should Stay Calm When Playing Poker
Controlling your emotions is important in life but especially so at the poker table. Getting frustrated and upset is known as getting tilted, and it’s one of the worst things you can do while playing. If you watch any of the best players, they’re almost always calm and collected, even when they suffer from a bad beat.
Showing emotions at the poker table will give your opponents more information and a chance to exploit your weaknesses. The less information you give away, the greater your chances of success. Staying calm and not letting your emotions show is the best way to stop your opponents from reading you and gaining an advantage.
Playing while frustrated or angry is also more likely to lead to mistakes. When we get emotional, we tend to think less rationally, and we’re more likely to get distracted. This can happen to anyone, even the best players in the world. Focusing on your strategy is important, as is calculating pot odds. Playing calmly will help you stick to what works and play at the highest level.
How to Deal with a Bad Beat
Anger comes from our expectations being better than reality, and it can take time to adjust. The first thing that you should do when faced with a bad break is to take a moment to focus on your breathing and calm yourself. If you want, you can take a short break from the game and collect your thoughts. It’s important to recognize why you’re feeling upset and to understand that it’s just a part of the game.
Don’t focus too much on what went wrong, as bad luck can happen to anyone. In most cases, there’s nothing to learn from a bad beat, and you shouldn’t change your strategy in response to one. As long as your decisions were positive expected value, you don’t need to worry about anything you did wrong. Sometimes strong hands can still lose, and that’s ok.
You should recognize that even though you had bad luck with this hand, you might have good luck in the future. That doesn’t mean you should take more risks, but you should consider the fact that luck is variable. You’ll always come up against bad beats from time to time, but sometimes you might be on the other end of one.
If you’re still feeling upset or frustrated, don’t be afraid to take a longer break from the game. Whether it’s five minutes or five weeks, we can all benefit from some time off every now and again. Burnout can take effect when playing for long periods of time, and frustration is how you make mistakes.
Take a break, go outside and do something else for a while. Remember that poker is just a game, and the loss doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. If you find yourself getting too emotional, you might want to look at the root cause of that. Are you playing with stakes that are too high, or do you have trouble controlling your temper?