Avoiding Tilt at The Poker Table
Tilt is a word used in poker that describes how a player will act after taking a number of bad beats, or from just playing poorly in general and losing money. For example, if you were dealt a series of bad cards and continuously lost after being dealt premium hands, you may well ‘go on tilt’ and play wildly in an attempt to recoup some of your losses. The general perception that “if my opponents can play badly and win, then so can I” is what leads many players to go on tilt, and will often cost players a significant amount of money in the long run.
This means that it is key to try and keep a cool head at all times so that we can prevent further losses from poor play by playing on tilt. Especially so in the game of No Limit Texas Holdem, a lot of money can be lost in short periods of time if you are frustrated, so we should try and control our emotions as best as we can. This is always far easier said than done however, so here is what I would suggest to anyone that feels that they are playing on tilt…
Get up from the table and take a break from the game.
No matter how hard you try to control your emotions, the frustration of bad beats and losing will often be overwhelming. Therefore the best way to avoid tilt is to not allow yourself to go on tilt in the first place by not playing poker. But once again, this is easier said than done, but it is a lot easier to get up and stop playing than it is to try and play you’re ‘A game’ whilst frustrated. So just walk away from the table or log off, and give yourself time to cool down before playing your next hand.
There is always going to be a poker game available at some place at some time, so don’t feel as though you are going to be missing out on any action by leaving the table and taking a break. Sometimes you may need to take a short break to get focused again, but then on other occasions you may need to take a few days off so that you can become completely comfortable with your game and not allow any bad beats from the past affect your judgement. Just take as long as you need to get back into shape; It’s going to be more profitable to not play and not win anything, rather than play on tilt and lose money.
You may feel that having a stress ball or something similar at your desk will help you to control your emotions, but a lot of the time this will not suffice, and it will just mask over the fact that you will still be playing poorly. You should always enter a hand completely focused on the cards and players around you, and you should not let any external factors affect your decision-making. So the next time you enter hand thinking “I’m going to win this one no matter what” or “I’m going to outplay this guy on this hand”, you know its time to get up and leave.