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A Poker Player in Therapy

In the previous essays tilt has been defined as any unfavorable cause of emotion on one's play. The ideas presented should help many players who apply them seriously to avoid or neutralize the emotional reactions that we call "going on tilt." This can mean a tremendous improvement in their long term profits from poker. For some reason, my advice, or that of anyone else, will be inadequate to remedy their problems with tilt. As one trained in clinical psychology I will mention that in some cases the only solution I am aware of would come from mentioning the tilt problem in psychotherapy.

The reason other factors fail (if tilt problem is serious or persistent enough) is that emotional reactions we call "tilt" often involve elements concealed from consciousness. Without putting sometime into one or another of a few different kinds of therapy, it is unlikely to develop real insight into or achieve any resolution of these unconscious factors. Though such a remedy to a tilt problem may sound strange, it is actually cost effective when you consider the likely savings (from decreasing tilt), particularly for a serious middle or higher limit player.

Also the little serious, "many variety" tilt of tough players involves emotional factors which tend to remain conceal in today's life outside the walls of the therapist's office. Therefore, putting briefly on a psychologist's hat, I would mention that humans are the creature of emotion. Emotion induces a great deal of behavior to your life. Problems arise, when we are unaware of the true cause of an emotional reaction. For example, you can become frustrate about something without really knowing why.

Likewise, psychotherapists often see patients who are frustrated, but don't know why. (Of course there is the poker experience versus chemistry" debate, but I'll keep this simple.) Their job is to help these patients come to a deep understanding and appreciation of the experience that finally led to a frustrated reaction.

When a player experiences a full downswing or maybe a very "bad beat" which can be combined by his rival enraging him afterward, it is not surprising that this poker players might react with feelings of anger, a desire to seek avenge, even various obvious bodily feelings and an observing interference by emotions with analogous.

If you experience this, the question would be, "Why are you really upset?" To answer this question you almost have to have spent two more years or so in one of a few kinds of psychotherapy. You have to have often experienced the process of looking under the surface emotion to determine what other (deeper, if you will) emotions and similarities are contributing the feelings of which you are aware (for example the anger and desire for avenge). Once you have achieved an understanding of what's going on under the surface, the difficult emotion tends to be thrown away. You should recover your objectively.

Though it is not necessary for large numbers of players to enter therapy to deal with their tilt problems, I thought it might be some value to try to exemplify something of the sorts of unconscious emotional elements that may underlie tilt by giving only a glance at how they might emerge in therapy. Such factors are present even for very "normal" players. It is only that they lack intensity or maybe the precise quality which bother more seriously tilt-based player.


Precisely, you cannot avoid acting during the play poker . This does not mean avoiding all kinds of feelings. An emotional well adjusted player with a healthy self-esteem and a deep understanding of the nature of the chance element and fluctuations involved in poker will just not react with the kinds of emotions that cause tilt. He will however respond productively with healthy emotions to his awareness of the quality of his play. However, the inevitable swings in poker can wear on anyone, and most players need to expend a little effort to stop sometimes acting on the incorrect feelings. Perhaps these suggestions well help in that respect.

Remember that it is not enough to have read and understood the essays. It also involves a continuous, conscious intent to establish the idea presented. Though, after some time they will become automatic enough that you need not keep them consistently in the mind of your thoughts. Hence, do not avoid them if you do not look forward to a return visit from the tilt monster. Whether from an easy tilt or a tough one, subtle losses of judgment, the adverse effect of emotion on poker decision is best preferably avoided.

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