For me, my biggest leak is playing while tilted. I could say it is simply being tilted, but that is not actually the case. I can be tilted and not playing and I won’t lose any more than I just lost.
I’m going to get tilted when I play — most of us do. I guess there may be some Zen masters out there who could lose set under set, get someone all in on the turn drawing to 4 outs and lose, and lose to another 2-outter on the river all the space of 15 minutes and it has absolutely no effect on them, but that is not me.
Stop losses were created for this situation: when a bad run of cards followed by tilt threatens to reduce a bankroll to 0. I’ve always thought stop-losses were silly. The only reason to stop playing are if the games are no good or if I am not playing my A game, or maybe my B game. If I’m playing my C game, I should quit, always, no matter how good the game is.
But how? The simple fact that I am playing my C game in the first place means that my head is not thinking logically.
I think practice is the key. I think it is important to start a session with the sole purpose of quitting when I start tilting. I might even give myself a carrot — something like a video game to play — when that happens, so I will have some positive reinforcement for following my rule.
Everything about the brain and body gets better with practice — including making decisions at the right time. Practice quitting when you feel tilt approaching and later when tilt hits you hard suddenly and you need to stop, you will have a better chance of actually doing it.