While it may not be true for you personally, in general poker players go on tilt (a self-destructive form of play driven by extreme emotions) more with online poker than their brick-and-mortar brethren.
Let’s take a look at why and some clues on how you can avoid bankroll-sapping tilt when you’re playing at home.
The speed of online poker and the frequency of new hands plays a large role. With multi-tabling and fast-fold a lot of bad stuff in online poker can accumulate very very quickly.
It also could be that the social aspects of poker keep people contained and when they’re home their bad behavior more easily comes out.
Tilt self-assessment in key
You want to assess the kind of tilt that’s popping out when you’re home and when you’re playing online. You aren’t going to tilt for random reasons just because you’re at home and not surrounded by people.
You want to figure out which type of tilt is getting exposed and in the same regard, if it is the speed of online poker, there may be some learning effect that needs to happen where you need to get used to the pacing of your decisions.
Lack of decision time when playing online
You may be frustrated by not having as much time to think. It also could be an accumulation of lots of tilt-inducing stuff. You need to be really well prepared to try to target each type of tilt that is getting the trigger.
You have to get used to the fact that you’re not going to have as much time to make decisions as before. You may have a built-in expectation that you have – not a limitless amount of time – but certainly live poker players can be a bit more liberal in their decision-making time.
Even if it’s a minute if you’re playing multiple tables of online poker you rarely are going to have that kind of luxury to think for a minute.
Think of online poker as a different beast
You almost have to change the expectation and really embrace the nature that online poker is different. Even tough you’re still playing no-limit hold’em for example, it’s a different game. It’s as different as if you’re playing Badugi or Razz or some other form of poker.
Start asking yourself questions to understand the source of the tilt
If you’re trying to figure out what the source of your tilt is, start asking yourself some questions.
I think too often people want to solve it immediately. They realize that they’re getting angry and they want to try to stop it and the first thing they try to do is just try to suppress it. They try to tell themselves that it’s okay, it’s just variance, it’s logical.
All of that stuff may be true, but in order to really solve it you have to understand the source of it so these reflective questions are really effective.
Start testing out your theories
If it’s the speed of online poker, if it’s being better behaved in front of real people, if it’s expecting more variance or because you’re better at live poker, just start testing that stuff out.
Go play again and have that idea in mind and then the next time you tilt ask it again. Does this seem relevant? Just see how that strikes you at tilt time.
Generally, people are pretty smart on self-diagnosis and they’re pretty insightful when given the opportunity to prove that.
You may not be expecting enough variance and you might be expecting to have more control of your results in No Limit. Going on tilt over a coin-flip on a logical level doesn’t make much sense because you know that it’s a 50/50 shot.
Not confident enough in regaining your poker losses
Maybe if you’re losing a coin-flip in no-limit you may have less confidence that you’re going to be able to win that money back even though in the long term, the flips are going to even out and it’s not going to matter.
In that moment, there may be that sense that you’re frustrated that it’s going to be a lot of work to have to rebuild that loss or to recapture it. If you’re not that skilled of a player you may not be as confident that you’re going to be able to do that.
At least consider the reason you’re tilting if nothing else
Whatever the reason, self-diagnosis is going to be your best friend in solving online poker tilt. Are you simply less restrained when you’re by yourself, are you getting yourself into trouble playing too many hands, or are you just not confident in your abilities to regain losses?