Control Your Emotion and Your Money
By Jim Feist
In sports, poker and gaming, everyone is anxious to know the end result: How much did I win? But what you do along the way determines how much your take is, or even whether you turn a profit or go bust. Whether you’re playing the stock market, day trading, sports wagering or cards, how you handle your money along the way is of paramount importance.
Day traders and sports bettors who go belly-up almost always have three key variables against them. They are the “3D’s”: Desperation, Dwindling revenue and a lack of Discipline. They are playing with a sense of desperation, hoping to make a big score, but hindered by a limited amount of money and short on self-discipline. The same things apply at the poker tables and two of them (desperation, discipline) will prevent success. Those are two things you can work on—and must work on—if you are determined to grind out a profit.
Many poker players, either at a table or online, can be prone to torching their bankroll as if it were a free charge card at Macy’s. This is foolish if your goal is to use our skills and cunning at the table to try and turn a profit of any size. The challenge of the chase can be as exhilarating as the payoff, but in order or maximize the financial end game it’s essential to put as much thought into how you play those chips as you do in playing each hand.
You can’t ignore emotions or halt them, but a good gambler knows how to exhibit discipline and place a cap on emotions. Emotion can hinder money management. A player can get frustrated when the cards are going bad, or one bad beat can shake them up, ruining hours of careful planning and patience. How you handle things after that bad beat is essential. The undisciplined player can let emotion take over and make the mistake of loading up on the next few hands out of frustration. This is no way to get ahead and once you’re out of chips, you’re out of the game.
This is where the term “tilt” comes from in poker. Mental confusion or panic where a player adopts a weak strategy because of emotion, becoming too aggressive, for instance, not based on the current hand but by what previously happened, such as a bad beat. It happens often in sports wagering and at the tables. And if you want to see the “tilt” look on that person’s face, look fast—because they are usually out quickly.
Just as important it can negatively impact the next time you play as your bankroll is less—all because of a bad short stretch made worse by blowing your cool. This is where patience and discipline come in. Don’t get thrown off your focus and don’t start wagering more than you normally do.
This is even more important in online poker because the action is faster. When it comes to your bankroll in live poker, you’re going up against a handful of players you can see eye to eye. You can see their chips, too. Online poker is a much larger jungle, as it’s you against the world. The guy or gal you’re playing against could be easy pickings, or could be an experienced pro with a bankroll that would dwarf a Saudi Arabian sheik. For all you know it could be that sheik himself… or his accountant!
You might be thinking, “Doesn’t a limited bankroll put me behind the eight-ball even before I’ve been dealt my first hand?” Not so. Not if you understand the dynamics of money management. Wager within your limits. In sports wagering a small play on a game would be roughly two-percent of your bankroll, while bigger plays would be up to five-percent. Whether you’re talking about a million-dollar bankroll or $500, the mathematics of what you wager on each game or each hand remains the same within your total bankroll. This way you gain the time to ride hot streaks and survive losing skids all the while, over the long haul, being able to utilize your skills and knowledge to grind out a profit.
This is what survival is all about, at the card tables, on Wall Street or at the wagering window.
Approach each hand with a well thought out plan, don’t get too high and don’t let the inevitable bad beats throw off your concentration; and always be in tight control of your emotions and your bankroll. Don’t let the 3D’s (Desperation, Dwindling funds, no Discipline) throw you off your game. We aren’t born with discipline. It’s something successful people around the globe understand the importance of and work at every day. If you want to improve your skills, poker and otherwise, it’s no secret that working on the “3D’s” will lead to S&P: Success and Profit!