Tilt in Poker – Recognizing it, and How to Deal with it

The main focus of this article will be about recognizing when you are on tilt and how to deal with it. Have you ever been happily playing poker, winning every few hands with one or two of them being a nice big pot, and then suddenly lost everything in 2 or 3 quick hands?

That is called “Going on tilt”!!!

It is every single poker player’s single biggest worry. When it comes to poker that is.

Why do you go on tilt?

You have to work that out for yourself. There are so many reasons that it actually hurts me to think about them.

Here are some reasons:

  • You have just had one or more bad beats.
  • You are tired.
  • You have been drinking and may be a little drunk.
  • Someone at the table may have pissed you off and you now want to beat him.

If you need some more, you can just think some up. I’m sure there are thousands more.

The important thing to know is that everyone goes on tilt. Yes, even the pros. We are all human, and like all other people, we can all be affected by outside forces.

What you need to do is keep yourself on the lookout for signs that you are on tilt. That isn’t as easy as you would think. I don’t mean that you need to constantly be wondering if you are on tilt, but I do mean that you have to watch out for anything that you may be feeling or thinking while you play poker.

Some things to look out for are:

  • You just started to lose hands that you shouldn’t have been playing in the first place.
  • You start to react instead of thinking about the reasons your opponent did what he/she did.
  • You are calling with hands that you would normally raise or re-raise.
  • You are doing anything differently to your normal way of doing things. This can include betting recklessly or calling instead of folding.

What should you do when you go on tilt?

That depends on you again. You could be the type of person who, once on tilt, doesn’t sort yourself out without a break. You could be the kind of person who can notice you are on tilt, and then simply carry on and fix things while playing. No one can tell you what kind of person you are better than yourself. You may need someone to watch you for a while to help, but you know yourself better than anyone else.

The best thing for most people to do when they notice they have gone on tilt is to take a break, and do something not at all related to playing poker.

For most people, it is a little too late when they have noticed that they have gone on tilt. If in a tournament, they have probably lost all their chips and busted out anyway.

One of the many problems with online poker is that if you have a nice bankroll and you go on tilt, there is a pretty good chance that you will throw it away on games that are above your bankroll limits, unless you get up and take some time off. If in a cash game, they may have lost all their money by the time they have noticed their condition.

No limit Hold’em is one of the most popular formats of poker these days, and as a result, a lot of people who go on tilt, will lose everything they have very quickly if they don’t keep a look out for the condition.

Personally I know when I am on tilt when I have an empty feeling in my stomach and I have the urge to win my losses back straight away. Sometimes I carry on playing getting more and more desperate to win, and sometimes I stop playing and come back fresh the next time. Usually the next day.

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