We’ve all seen it before—a good player gone bad. Usually it’s a bad beat that puts them over the edge, but really just about anything can start tilt: hunger, exhaustion, frustration, or a big loss. If you play poker long enough, it is inevitable that one day you will experience tilt for yourself. There’s a good chance you already have and may or may not have even known it. The real problem with tilt is that your mindset makes it impossible for you to play smart. There are a small handful of players who can play through the condition, but a far better approach to tilt is one of prevention.
Acknowledge the Situation
If you’ve just taken a big loss and can’t seem to get over it, or if you feel yourself becoming distracted and your play is erratic, then there’s a good chance you are close to going on tilt. Tilt isn’t a condition you can “shake off,” so when you recognize the warning signs the best thing you can do is take action.
Reason with Yourself
For some players, a quick reality check is all they need to get their mind back on the game. Remember that even the best players don’t win every hand, and that bad beats are just the ugly part of playing a game of odds. Letting yourself dwell on the negatives will in turn let the negatives continue to affect your game.
Get Something to Eat/Drink
When you’re way up or way down, sometimes it’s hard to see anything beyond the game. It’s this mentality that gets a lot of players in trouble. You might sit hours at a table with no concept of time or the fact that your body is tired, hungry, or thirsty. If you are in a situation where you absolutely can’t leave the table, a pick-me-up can usually hold you over. Likewise, if you’re playing in an online tournament, make a quick caffeine run to the kitchen. If you’re tired or hungry, eventually it will affect your ability to concentrate on the game.
If tilt is imminent or you’re already in it, the best thing you can do for yourself and for your bankroll is to stand. Because tilt impairs your playing skills, you will continue to lose hands you know you shouldn’t have which only increases your frustration and feeds the condition. For most players, a short break and a brisk walk is all it takes to clear their mind and get them focused again.
Try not to go on tilt while playing poker online. Try your luck at cake poker.