Sunday, June 01, 2008

Dealing With Your Poker Nemesis.

Some more poker psychology on a sunny Sunday.... hope this post provokes some thought about dealing with a perceived enemy at the table - your poker nemesis!

We have all been there right?

Someone re-raises us every time we enter a pot (or flats - ugh!), they raise those scare cards or show their bluffs, they get there with a set on the river to beat our overpairs... when we get beaten a 'lol' will appear in the chat box (or worse)... yep. whichever game you play it is easy to find yourself thinking of a player at the table as the biggest enemy you ever had - your personal nemesis!

It gets worse from here....

You'll groan when he enters the pot behind you again and again.

You'll Bet to try and push him out - only to find someone else at the table wakes up with a monster and takes your chips.

You'll plan a great check-raise - only to find your nemesis refuses to bet for the first time ever, and then catches his miracle card.

What happens next is person dependant of course. For the purposes of this post we will work with the generic feelings of intense irritation, frustration and the desire to show the damn punk not to mess with us (that'll be revenge!).

When that feeling of revenge or anger directed at one individual comes it is easy for us to stop playing solid and profitable poker. In fact the act of chasing to try and outdraw your nemesis, raising junk to isolate and launching those crazy over-bet bluffs is so far from good poker that you'd hardly recognise yourself at the table...

Lets be clear about what is happening here.

It has a well known label.

The form is slightly different from the 'seeing red' rage which we usually associate with this.

But the effect is the same.

You are now on Tilt.

And the effects of this tilt most often manifest themselves in losing money. Money that has taken many hours of focus and good poker decisions to accumulate. Money that was going to allow you to take a shot at the next level. Money that could have been withdrawn to pay for a holiday or gadget....

Well, dealing with tilt could fill a whole chapter of a book - let alone a blog post.

Being aware that tilt takes many forms, and frustration focused on one indivudual at the table is a dangerous one. Next time you are aware of this do something about it... play only premiums when they are in the pot, leave and find a new table, or even take a break.

GL at those tables, Mark

PS: Friendly reminder about my 'social bookmarking' widget in the top of the right hand menu bar of Plan3t Gong - this allows you to bookmark me (or any other sites you enjoy) to loads of these new-fangled bookmark places such as Digg, Stumble-upon and etc... if you could take the time to give Plan3t Gong a plug I'd be very grateful - thanks, Mark!


steviep said...

good post!!!
so true , happens me all the time :(

svarog99 said...

Great post. The worst is when your nemesis is behind you in a MTT and obviously you can't take a break or change tables. You have AQ, he has AK. You have TT, he has JJ... on a rag board, etc. Then he's entering every pot behind you and you wonder if he's specifically trying to outplay you. One possible positive outcome is "faking tilt" when you have a good hand --overbetting and playing trying to look frustrated-- and getting paid off huge when he tries to look you up with a mediocre hand.