Q&A: Tilt Control, Acting Too Fast and a Weekly Game Plan | Episode 193

I answer 3 questions about how to work on tilt control, how to not act too fast and I give you a weekly game plan for study and play.

In episode 192, I played for you a chapter from my latest audiobook, ‘Preflop Online Poker’.  The chapter is called “Blind Versus Blind Situations”.

Q1: Tilt Control (2:30)

From: Richard

Q: To stop going on tilt. For example, in an online SnG, I was all in with AKo, my opponent was also in with AKo. Villain made a Royal.


I’ve had an issue with tilt all through my poker career, and I consider my tilt issues as an ever-going work in progress.

Here are some mental game podcasts and read some books I recommend:

‘Poker on the Mind Podcast’ with Dr. Tricia Cardner and Gareth James

‘Peak Poker Performance’ by Dr. Tricia Cardner

‘The Mental Game Podcast’

‘The Mental Game of Poker’ by Jared Tendler

It sounds like you suffer from Injustice Tilt and/or Entitlement Tilt. You’ll learn a lot about these two from ‘The Mental Game of Poker’. In this book, Tendler gives many logic statements that help to inject logic during a tilting experience to help you keep your cool. Here’s one that I created and I’ve been using lately:

“Don’t have any expectations; accept what happens, tag the hand for later review and move on.”

Tag and Review

You have to try and just accept the beats. Tag and review every hand that tilts you and see if there are patterns to your tilt. Maybe it’s every time you lose after 3betting for value, or when your bluffs fail, or when you get it in and lose with the best hand.

With that AK v AK hand the bright side is that you got it in with a 50/50 shot and he just sucked out. Try to remember this when you gii preflop with AA vs TT and lose, or when you flop your straight and they river a flush. You got it in good, variance just wasn’t on your side. Do you react the opposite way when you suck out on somebody? Do you have an equal wave of euphoria when you crack somebody’s AA with 65s? Probably not, so try not to allow yourself to feel that anger when it happens to you.

Variance can be a pain in the rear, but you know what helps?  Having a proper outlook on variance and playing with a healthy bankroll.

Q2: Acting Too Fast (7:45)

From: Robert

Q: I react to fast without thinking the situation 100% through.


1. Figure out if you have any mental leaks that lead to acting too fast.

Maybe you look down at AA and all you can think about is the money you’re about to make, so you make bets, raises and calls without considering why your opponent is doing what they’re doing.  Or every time you’re dealt AK you just auto-get it in with re-raises. Maybe you can never fold a TP hand on the flop. Maybe you can never fold oesd’s or nut fd’s. Once you figure out any mental game issues surrounding this, put a focus on getting beyond them in your next sessions. Evaluate your progress.

2. Focus on having a reason for every button click.

For bets and raises preflop, you need to be making them for value, as a bluff or for isolating an opponent. For bets and raises post-flop, it’s for value and you can list the hands your opponent can give you value with; or it’s a bluff and you think your opponent can fold better hands like Ace high, weak TP hands and 2nd pair hands. Verbally list the hands you’re getting value from or getting to fold.

3. Play just one or two tables when online with the above focus.

More tables = less time to think about your actions. So cut the number you play so you act with more focus and intent.

4. Utilize a tick-sheet for bets and raises as you play.

If you’re betting for value, put a tick mark under the word “Value”. Bluffing, put a tick mark under “Bluffing” and if you’re iso raising preflop, put a tick mark under “Iso”.

5. Start doing hand reading exercises off the felt.

These get you thinking more about your opponent’s ranges and actions, and doing more of this off the felt will translate into you doing it more on the felt. Check out my 66 Days of Hand Reading videos on YouTube: https://www.smartpokerstudy.com/66daysofhandreading.

6. Start recording game tape of your sessions and reviewing them the next day.

When you catch yourself making non-thinking, too quick decisions, figure out why. Are you distracted, too focused on your hand and the board, or just committing too early with specific hands?

Q3: Weekly Game Plan (14:05)

From: Jason

Q: I’ve got a lot of time for poker study and play but I’m very disorganized and distracted. I’m having a hard time creating a good routine. I waste a lot of time. Do you have any recommendations on a basic routine that I can do every day for beginner learning?


Here’s my 1-2-3-4-5 Weekly Game Plan:

1. Choose 1 topic or skill to base all of your play and study around this week.

It can be general like “3betting Preflop” but it’s better to get granular and choose “3betting with suited connectors” or “3betting from the SB” or “3betting against LAG’s”.

2. Utilize Google and find 2 articles to study and take notes from.

Do a Google search, then go through the results and skim the resulting articles. Look for reputable sites like Red Chip or Upswing or other ones you trust. Copy and paste the URL’s into a Word document so you can study them later.

3. Utilize YouTube search and find 3 videos relating to the topic you’ve chosen.

Once again, find good videos from reputable video makers. Copy and past the URL’s so you can study them later.

4. Select at least 4 statistics to track over the coming week.

For a theme of 3betting, you might want to record your 3bet as a total and by position, your win rate when 3betting and your cbet when 3betting. Maybe also record your fold to 4bet stat and anything else you think can help you gauge your progress. Record these stats for the 10,000+ hands you played prior to this week, then record them again at the end of your week.

5. Commit to one hour of study, 5 days per week and one hour of play, 5 days per week.

Each day, go in this order:

Start each day with a warm-up or a study session prior to your play session.

Your warm-up should include reviewing any notes you’ve taken on the topic at hand. Also, do a full hand reading practice on a hand related to your topic of study. If you do a full study session instead, read one of the articles or watch one of the videos and take good notes on it. Then, review your database in relation to the topic at hand in the article or video.

Play your session with focusing on 1-2 tables for the first 30 minutes. Force yourself to use the strategies you’re studying and to find opportunities to use them. Tag any related hands to study in your sessions.

Record at least 1 game tape this week to review in one of your sessions.

Click here for a simple weekly study plan.

Challenge (17:15)

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:   My guess is that everyone listening to this episode suffers from at least one of the questions I answered today. Here’s the deal: pick the one that’s most relevant to you and implement what I recommend. Let me know how it goes: sky@smartpokerstudy.com. I guarantee I’ll respond and I just may share your story with the audience.

Now it’s your turn to take action and do something positive for your poker game.

Support the Show

John Tahoe purchased a copy of my webinar Expert Hand Reading.  And Ken Nielson purchased Getting the Most from PokerTracker 4.  Follow their lead and get your study on!  Click either link for $5 off.

Sky Matsuhashi