Blog | How to Get Over Busting a Tournament

I can count the number of times I have felt truly disappointed after busting a tournament on one hand. The first was at EPT Malta earlier this year. Playing in my biggest ever buy-in event, the €330 Malta Cup, I spectacularly failed to win a single hand. After I bust I went outside and ended up staring out the sea for about half an hour contemplating what had just happened, running every scenario through my head.

The second time, was tonight. No, it wasn’t a €330 tournament. It wasn’t even abroad. Just 20 minutes down the road at my local casino.

I won’t bore you with hand histories. I turned two-pair. I lost to a higher straight. I flopped top set. I’m not here to talk about them. Hell, I’m not even here to talk about the hand that bust me. I want to, like every poker player does, because you hope that somehow by telling someone else, it lessens the pain of losing a 60/40 to bust a tournament.

No, I’m here to talk about what happens after you bust a tournament. Unfortunately, Reading industrial estate isn’t exactly full of much sea, and I wasn’t going to spend half an hour staring at self-storage units and car garages. I jumped back in my car, and drove home.

Here is a list of some of my attempts to forget the tournament result.

Attempt #1: Ed Sheeran

Oi Ed, someone's drawn all over your arm mate...
Oi Ed, someone’s drawn all over your arm mate…

Ok so it’s not just Ed Sheeran, but he is currently at the top of my usual playlist I listen to in the car. I never used to like him. An ex-girlfriend loved him. Another ex hated him. Surprisingly neither of these opinions were owing to Ed’s ginger hair. (Note: I have nothing against gingers).

Getting back to the point I blared out Ed along with several other bland and nameless dance tracks I’d added recently, in an attempt to drown out the thoughts in my head regarding the tournament. Did it work? Kind of. I now have a headache, but I did end up singing along to Wiggle by Jason Derulo by the end of the car journey so busting must have escaped my mind at some point.

Effectiveness: 6/10


Attempt #2: Bad Drivers

This one is tricky, because it is entirely dependent on other road users. It’s not easy to arrange for a BMW to cut you up at a roundabout and then drive at 20mph in a 40pmph zone straight after you bust a $100k Super High Roller. But if you’re driving back from Reading at midnight on a Saturday night, you’ll run into several bad drivers.

Did that lessen my feelings of tilt? Yes and no. The eejit in the BMW distracted me from poker, but ended up pissing me off more than busting the tournament did in the first place.

Effectiveness: 3/10

Attempt #3: Bad Beat Stories

I mentioned above that after you bust a tournament, most players instantly send a message to their poker buddies moaning about their latest bad beat story. And, true to my word, I am no exception. This is word-for-word what one of my poker buddies sent me after I told him that I bust in 10th.

Him: Noooooooooooo 
           What was the bubble?
Me: 5 players
Him: What can you do man? You got it in good and lost a 60/40
            You obvs played well to get that far
           So be proud of that
Little things like that mean a lot, especially when you’re feeling crappy about something.Effectiveness: 8/10

Attempt #4: Meditation

'Meditation for Beginners' advice from Evan Jarvis aka Gripsed
‘Meditation for Beginners’ advice from Evan Jarvis aka Gripsed

About six months ago, I was one of those people who scoffed at the idea of meditating. I went to EPTs and laughed when I heard that certain players were meditating before tournaments to try and get in the mental zone. However, these were players who were at the top of their game and winning millions of dollars in tournaments. So in the end I decided to meditate before a tournament, albeit before a home game with several drunken European exchange students.

It was around 38 degrees on the day we were due to play and I just couldn’t think straight in the hours leading up to it. Long story short and finished second. “But this is after a tournament Will?” I hear you cry. Congratulations reader, you have noticed this. I gave it a try. And I ended up feeling so much better that I decide to write this blog about it.

Effectiveness: 10/10


So what have we learnt? Well even the little things like a friend telling you that you “Obviously played well” or blaring Ed Sheeran through your speakers goes a long way to lessening the disappointment of busting a tournament.

You will never truly forget the disappointment of busting a tournament. It’s depressing but true. We play poker because we enjoy it and it means something to us. You just have to take the rough with the smooth sometimes. Even if that rough is idiotic BMW drivers…

Note: I take no responsibility for the usage of any of the above techniques.