In poker, skill is a major factor in how successful you can be. However, luck still plays a part in every hand. All players face the reality of bad luck, being dealt poor hands, or losing a hand that seemed like a sure thing. This last example is usually known as a bad beat. Specifically, a bad beat is when you lose in a situation that you should win the majority of the time. In most cases, this is due to having a strong hand but losing to an opponent who improved their hand on a later street by hitting an unlikely bit of luck.
Losing in poker feels bad, but there’s no doubt that suffering from a bad beat feels even worse. A lot of players take bad beats really badly, losing their cool and flipping out. It’s easy to lose control of your temper, especially when the stakes are high. Whether playing online or in-person, any top poker professional knows that cool heads always prevail over time. Getting overly emotional and losing your cool over one hand is a sure-fire way to tilt and suffer worse losses later in the game. Here are some tips on bouncing back from a bad beat.
Take a Short Break
If you’re quick to anger and you feel like a bad beat will affect you, it’s always worth taking a quick break from the table. If you’re in a cash game, you can afford to sit out for a while and take a breather. Taking breaks while playing is encouraged anyway, not just because of your emotions. By taking a break, you can refocus and relax a bit, coming back stronger and feeling refreshed. Don’t be ashamed to take a break just because you’re feeling upset over a loss. It happens to the best players. What’s important is that you stay calm and don’t let it affect your next hands.
Change Your Mindset
Having the right mindset is crucial for success at poker. You’re always going to face losses, and sometimes these losses might hurt. However, provided you follow the correct strategy, you’ll always be up in the long run. Make sure you come into the game with the right mindset and don’t let anything put you off your stride. Your mindset can help prevent a bad tilt and will keep you focused on your goals, even if you suffer a bad loss.
Meditation is an excellent tool for playing poker, even if that wasn’t the intention of the ancient monks who first practiced it. Meditation has been used for thousands of years as a way of calming your mind, focusing on your breathing, and ensuring you can endure stress and remain in control of your emotions. If you’ve never tried it before, you might be surprised at how effective it can be. However, it takes practice to learn and get good at it. You’ll need to prepare and train your mind before you can use it well. That said, even beginner meditation can be effective at calming yourself and refocusing on what matters.
Take a Longer Break
Sometimes, none of the above methods work for staying calm, and you can still feel yourself losing control. If you’re worried that your emotions are still affecting your game, there’s nothing wrong with taking a longer break. Whether it’s a few days, weeks, or months, poker will still be available anytime you feel like coming back. We sometimes need to take a break to work on ourselves, and it can be a good chance to study the game more too. This can be especially important if you find yourself getting tilted a lot or suffering from bad breaks too often.