Don’t Tilt. Ever
The “tilt” is when you play below your abilities because of some inner emotional turmoil. If you are still not sure what that means, go watch the scene from the biographical drama film Molly’s Game in which Harlan Eustace lost to Bad Brad, and it wrecked his world. Harian, the far more superior player, lost the game to a guy who was so terrible his nickname was “bad” Brad. Unable to deal with the shame, he started to play with his emotions leading instead of his mind. While emotions are great for a lot of things, they are not very good at deciding when to hold and when to fold. Harlan lost all his money and eventually his family because he let his feelings get the better of him.
While there will always be debate about the historical accuracy of characters in a movie, you can undoubtedly think back to a time you have done or said something stupid in the heat of the moment. Now, imagine yourself pushing in a stack of chips representing a few hundred or a few thousand dollars. Do you really want to make that decision while you are angry, tired, or upset? Of course not.
That is why when you feel yourself getting ready to tilt, just stop.
Finish the hand you are playing and get up from the table. You don’t have to quit the table permanently, just remove yourself from the situation until your head clears. In fact, if you find yourself heading down the tilt road often, find a ritual that calms you. That can be standing up and stretching, looking at a picture of your kids, singing a song, whatever. You cannot win if you are emotional and you can’t win if you don’t play. So, restore your balance and get back in the game.
Clearly, a lot goes into poker psychology and while you might be tempted to tackle all these things at once, fight that temptation. Start with learning about yourself. Then develop your focus and work on never tilting. The rest will come with play time and practice.