If you play poker long enough, you are going to find yourself in a position where you go on a bad run. It can be during a tournament or a stretch of a cash game. When this happens, you start talking to yourself, doubting every move and then of course you start to make bad plays that continue the bad luck run that you are having. When this happens, you have to be able to avoid going on full tilt or you will end up completely broke and hate the game of poker.
It is common knowledge that everyone forgets the bad beats that they lay out and always remember the ones that you receive. The first step in being able to deal with bad beats is to remember the ones that you are on the good side of. This will enable you to handle them as you can more or less consider them to be payback for the times that you did not deserve to win a hand. You know, that inside straight that chased down on the river because you ‘felt’ that it was going to hit and then found out you beat someone who flopped a set. File that one away because you will need it later.
One other thing that you will need to get straight in your head is that if there is a chance that the card can hit, then you are still at risk. While there are percentages to every hand, they are not true in odds in the respect that if 100 hands were dealt out that the side that is favored 70-30 would win 70% of the hands. While it is unlikely that it would happen, the favorite could actually lose every time.
The fact of the matter is that regardless of the percentages, the weaker hand HAS to hit sometimes. Unfortunately, you may feel that it always happens against you, but this again goes back to you remembering all of the bad beats that you have put on people yourself.
Another way to deal with bad beats is to simply take a break. If you are in tournament or a cash game, just get up and take a quick walk to clear your head and let it go. If you sit at the table and stew on it, you are not going to be concentrating on your cards and you can end up losing everything. If you are on a run of a few days where this is happening, take a longer break from poker. Give yourself a couple of days off and do anything but play poker until you can do so without thinking that you are going to take a bad beat.
Tilt is something that every great poker player has fallen victim to at one point or another. Hopefully, after it happens to you, you can learn the lesson of how disastrous it can be. Relax, get your focus back and start playing cards again. Remember, start filing all of those lucky hits you have to keep the bad beats that you take in perspective.