In my experience, tilt, or playing wildly and emotionally, is the most common reason players lose their bankrolls.
To become a good player, you must find out how to avoid tilting. This may seem like common sense, but many people fail to realize the simple reasons for tilting - cold cards, personal issues, listening to opponents and bad beats.
Reasons Players Tilt
1. Cold cards: How people play when they're having a streak of cold cards is what sets apart the real players from the rest of the pack. Remember that any player can play good cards, but only winning players can play rock solid even when they're running cold.
The key to not letting cold cards get the best of you is to set a goal to play your best every time. It also helps to avoid actions that will discourage you such as constantly looking at your bankroll. Your bankroll will always go up if you're a good player and you manage it correctly.
2. Personal issues: You must clear up all personal issues before you set foot in a poker room. If you have other things on your mind, your opponents will have an edge over you. Resolve your issues and only sit when you're at your best and most alert.
3. Listening to opponents: You can't trust information other players are giving you. When someone tells you their hand without you asking, they're almost always trying to give you false information to throw you off. Play your game and block out what other players say, or you'll be less focused at the tables.
4. Bad beats: Bad beats are the No. 1 reason for tilting. The key to understanding bad beats is realizing how often they happen. I would say that poker skill makes up 60% of poker play and luck makes up the remaining 40%. That's an awful lot of luck, and people need to understand how lucky other players can be if they want to win at poker. Bad beats are just bound to happen because players get lucky.
5. Game type: The game type may also cause some players to run extremely hot. For example, heads-up can be lost over and over if you're catching cold cards. This requires a bit more luck than most types of game play. Also, multi-table tournaments are notorious for the amount of luck involved. You'll want to make sure you have the bankroll for these types of games.
Importance of Bankroll
The reason I preach about bankroll over and over to new players is because it's the root of all tilt. Losing a $30 buy-in tournament if you had a million-dollar bankroll isn't nearly as upsetting as losing the same $30 buy-in with only a $60 bankroll.
Inevitably, bankroll management separates the good players from the bad ones.
See you at the tables.