What to Do if You Feel Yourself Going on Tilt in Poker

Man sitting at poker table while throwing chips

Avoiding tilt is incredibly important in poker because your decision making is what makes you a great player. When emotional distress or anger have taken over as fuel for your decision-making process, then you end up chasing losses. Poker is not a game that can be played by instinct alone, it is a game of intelligence and critical thinking.

Here are a few ways in which you can prevent the onset of tilt:

Prevent Tilt With the Proper State of Mind

We are all human and we all have our baggage that we drag around with us on a day-to-day basis. Whether it has been a tough day at work, or you had an argument with a loved one, these things all impact our state of mind and affect the decisions we make.

This is why it is important to check your emotional and mental state before you begin to play. If you decide that you aren’t in a good mood, or there is something bothering you, take the opportunity to deal with it and unwind a bit. One of the best ways to clear your mind and release mood-boosting endorphins is exercise.

The first step to controlling tilt is being in the right state of mind when you play. Take the time to reset and clear your mind because the tilt may always be lurking in the shadows of our mind, waiting to strike.

What Causes Tilt in Poker? Know these Common Triggers

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Tilt can be triggered differently depending on the poker player’s individual personality and style. However, the end result is almost always the same. The rational thinking part of your brain takes a backseat while your pride and emotions guide your decision-making, leading you further and further into a streak of losses. The most common culprit for triggering tilt in players is a bad beat. From the smallest fish to the biggest whales in the game, a bad beat is an inescapable part of poker. This is why a bad beat is a common trigger for tilt. Every player regardless of skill or experience runs into a bad beat and has to bounce back. Online poker moves at a faster pace than at a land-based casino, and multi-tabling is also commonplace in the world of online poker. With hands moving faster, and players participating in multiple hands at once, you will encounter an excessive number of bad beats. The ability to avoid a tilt through this will take some serious fortitude, adding the fact that your bankroll is only a few clicks away from drying up.

Another common trigger for setting off tilt in players is being “card-dead” for a long time. After going through a streak of useless starting hands, missed flops, and folds that came too soon, even seasoned pros can be prone to snapping and going on tilt. Bad cards as a trigger for tilt can be seen as a straw-that-broke-the-camel’s-back type of effect. As the frustration of having to endure each bad hand builds with each one that follows, eventually the cards come that make it too much to bear. Online poker players won’t often find themselves tilting from cold cards, as the frequency of hands is much higher. If they are multi-tabling then they will always have options for something to play. Online players tend to play a much looser game than players in real casinos. Therefore, the question isn’t if you will be getting some bad beats or cold cards, but when and how many.

Knowledge is Key

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The more you know about yourself, about the game and about the probabilities of the game, the more easily you will be able to prevent going on tilt.

Know Your Own Poker Game to Avoid Going On Tilt

When thinking about how to avoid tilt in poker, it is incredibly important that you know your triggers. When you are playing online poker, what do you personally find the most triggering? What is it that drives you to drop your strategy and throw all your knowledge of the game out of the window? You should always be searching for those triggers as they reveal themselves. The more experience you have as a poker player and the more you know about your triggers, the stronger you are at the poker table.

Know the Game

The more you know about the game and correct poker strategies, the easier it will be for you to stay on track and avoid tilt. Before you make any decisions with your online poker games, try to analyze and review each hand in detail – position, stack size, pot size, the odds, betting patterns, etc. The more you focus on each hand and look at all the possible angles, the more naturally it becomes to think like that – and the easier it becomes to maintain that way of thinking during a bad run or stressful hand.

Know the Probabilities

Poker players, whether land-based or at online casinos, tend to overestimate the chances of good hands holding up, which in turn makes a loss feel that much more unfair. Tilt can ruin a night of online poker very easily, and it is often worse when the tilt is brought on by a mistake the player should have seen coming. Good hands lead to losses very often, and often the favorite hand is favored by an incredibly small margin. Having a bit of background knowledge into common poker probabilities can definitely help to keep you from overestimating your way to tilting. If you know that your good hand is likely to lose now and again, then you will be less surprised, angry, or sad when it happens. If you are trying to improve and are thinking about your decisions, you will recognize what you did to lose that hand and learn from the mistake.

Stop and Rest to Beat the Tilt

The moment you realize that you are going on tilt, even if you detect it early on, get up and walk away from the computer for a moment. You need to regain your composure and clear your mind of negative thoughts and emotions before you can carry on playing. How you handle these moments determines the overall outcome of those online poker sessions. Stay mindful of your emotional state, do a little exercise to warm up your mind and body before paying, and know when to stop.

If you think that you have what it takes to prevent yourself from going on tilt, why not put it to the test at one of our online poker rooms at BetMGM.com?