Apr 20 2010

Tilting in Heads up Games

written by: John under Poker Strategy Comments: Comments Off

Tilt is a common problem for many poker players. It is one thing to tilt in a full ring or 6-Max game, but it can be deadly if you tilt in a heads up game. When tilting in a standard ring game, you are going to force enough folds and generally minimize risk enough that you are not going to get punished.

The exact opposite is true when it comes to tilting in heads up games. This holds true for both cash games and sit n gos. When you are facing just one opponent, it is incredibly easy for the other player to exploit your anger. They know that you are frustrated and want to take advantage of you whenever they can. Since you are playing heads up, the odds are increased that you have the best hand in play.

This is true for your opponent as well. Because of this, your opponent might stack off pre flop with ace high if they know that you are tilting. In a ring game, this won’t happen too often. Normally when someone is tilting in a 6-Max or full ring game, you still need a decent hand in order to make a call. The odds are just too great that someone else at the table could have you beat. This variable is completely removed in heads up play, because you only need to beat one hand.

Beyond this, you might call and be behind in a heads up game. This will still leave you with a decent shot at winning, because there is only one hand that you have to catch up to. If you are facing two players in a ring game, however, the odds are stacked against you. As you can see, tilting in a heads up game is much worse than tilting anywhere else.

Stopping Yourself

Stopping yourself from tilting is much easier said than done. In an ideal world, players wouldn’t ever tilt. The reality is, however, that profits are generally derived from another player’s tilt. There is always money to be made by having a defined edge over your opponents, but the edge is much greater when someone is tilting. If you are tilting in heads up games, the odds are that heads up poker just isn’t for you. Emotional control is an absolute necessity in heads up games, much more so than in any other type of poker. If you find that you are open shoving, learn to step away from the table.

If you need motivation to quit heads up games, just think about how frustrated you are when someone calls your open shove with 4 7 off suit with ace high. Nothing feels worse than tilting and being punished as a result. It might feel great to get lucky when tilting, but in the end it is a major losing proposition. The idea behind tilting is that it is a way to release frustration and hopefully recoup losses in a short time frame. No one wants to lose, but some can handle losses better than others. Even the best heads up players lose money a fair amount of the time, so you can’t expect to win each time you sit down at a table, it’s just not realistic.

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