You Have Learnt How to Hold’em, but Do You Know How to Manage Poker Tilting & Steaming?

You Have Learnt How to Hold’em, but Do You Know How to Manage Poker Tilting & Steaming?

Online poker saw a meteoric rise in 2003 onwards, in which worldwide player numbers were to multiply for the next few years. This growth in the game saw a massive increase in poker books, forums and online educational material. New players spent time learning to develop their strategies and master the game. Convinced that poker was to be their full time income, many of these players were soon to experience a brutal lesson, as they not only lost, but lost big. Flummoxed by what was occurring, these new hopefuls soon learnt about the concepts of tilting and steaming. What are these two vital poker terms? And can we control them effectively to have any chance of success?

Poker Steaming Explained

To explain the notion of steaming, let’s look at an example: Andy, playing a no limit hold’em cash game, is doing well and has developed a good sized stack. On the next hand, he flops a set against the other big stack at the table. Trying to remain calm, he makes a small bet on the flop and turn; his opponent calls both bets. Being an online game, Andy is already punching the air in delight, knowing the big stack cannot see him. The river pairs the board, giving Andy a full house. Thoughts of a new car occupy his mind after this massive pay day. Andy pushes all-in whilst praying his opponent follows suit. He shouts for joy as his opponent calls; only to be stunned into silence as the big stack turns over four-of-kind. Andy openly stares at the screen as he pounds his fists against the desk. He buys back in knowing he must win this money back. A few hands later, he chases a bad flush draw, going all-in again. He loses. Profusely sweating, Andy now realises he will not be able to pay his rent on time. He puts more money in, and so the story goes on. This endeavour to win back money lost using money you cannot afford to lose is called steaming. It is a major reason players lose large amounts of cash in poker. Experienced players pick up on a player who is steaming, and take advantage.

Poker Tilting Explained

Tilting can be described as the event of a player deviating from their normal game, and playing in a different, often more reckless manner. This usually occurs if they have just lost a big hand after a bad bit of luck and therefore become frustrated. Tilting can also occur if an opponent bluffed the player out of a hand they would have won, or during an extend period of play without any good hands. Looking back at our example, Andy showed us a classic case of a player going on tilt when he chased a bad flush draw after the frustration of losing a big hand; a play he would not normally make. This was an extreme illustration of tilt. There are however, less noticeable forms of tilting that may not be as devastating, but can still contribute to a player’s downfall. An example would be playing many hands against a certain player, just to get even after losing a previous pot. You would not usually play like this, and could be giving away money by not playing your ordinary game.

Tilt vs Steam Poker

As we have seen, poker tilt and poker steam are two distinct subjects which are often considered as being the same issue by many people. They do have a significant similarity however; in order to overcome them, you must have strong emotional control. So how can this be done?

How Stop Tilting Poker or Steaming?

Whilst it is impossible to completely stop all forms of tilting or steaming, the finest players have found methods to keep control in tough situations. The best advice for when you feel emotion setting in is to take a break. Leave the computer screen or table and walk away. Do something else to take your mind of the game and return feeling refreshed. Listening to music is also a fantastic method to help you relax and stay calm. It is also good for lowering anxiety levels. You have to expect losing runs. Poker is a difficult game; even the top pros will go through long periods of losing. Learn to accept these downswings as being part of the game. Finally, repeating a few positive phrases to yourself will aid you in overcoming a distressful state.