But we're not here to talk about Tom Cruise.
Some pros will tell you that the biggest obstacle to poker success is tilt. Of course we've all experienced tilt, especially when our K-8 of diamonds - the Epileptic Chihuahua - gets sucked out on by some ridiculous face-face holding like K-J or QQ.
Or we get smacked hard by the flop and then get absolutely no action. Take this 2NL example:
Three callers to Yakshi on the button, who holds the Chihuahua. We opt for an advanced move called the invisi-raise - a call with the intent of raising on a later street. SB calls, BB checks, and we head six-handed to a flop of K♠ 8♠ 7♠.
Bang. We have the 13th nuts. Even better, hands like QQ and K-J have failed for once to catch up.
Then the nightmare. Everyone checks, we bet 12 cents, and everyone folds.
Makes you want to punch a moderately sized animal. But we restrain ourselves because (1) we're grown-ups and (2) punching animals is difficult and, likely, illegal. So (3) we punch ourselves instead.
Some poker players prefer to smash things - keyboard, monitor, mouse. In my opinion, that's irrational and destructive. A good sock to the temple, especially if you are able to catch yourself by surprise, does the trick far better. Plus, it's cheaper.
Once the dizziness subsides, you will naturally want to avoid tilt in the future. You will have associated tilt with pain. And no one likes to feel pain. Unless you're one of those special ladies who does.
Also, you will have developed a healthy fear of your own strength. You will continually peek around corners, checking to see if you are lying in wait craftily determined to deal yourself another blow.
Some people believe in silly things. I like to laugh at these people.
However, if you give it a little thought, you will see that my face-punching strategy is a sound approach to addressing what could be the biggest leak in your game.
Give it a try. I promise that one of two things will happen: you will either stop tilting so much or else you will discover that you really like punching yourself in the head.
Good luck at the tables.
Yakshi is the actual name of, um, Yakshi. No last name. Like Cher or Madonna, but without the talent. After consuming nothing but strawberry-flavored Pop Tarts, chicken-flavored Top Ramen and Fat Tire beer for 18 months straight, Yakshi began to hallucinate random cards, numbers, dice, stars and coins - a vision that he struggled to formulate into an "advanced Hold'em strategy," which he now uses almost exclusively at full-ring 1¢/2¢ No-Limit tables at PokerStars.
When he is not five-bet shoving 3-2 of hearts, he may occasionally be found folding the two red aces - correctly - pre-flop. His hobbies include spelunking, cheese and nitrous oxide. He lives in Erie, Colo.
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