Tilt is a poker player’s worst enemy, especially if you’re playing online poker. Many break-even players would become winners if they could keep their cool and avoid dumping money after bad beats or poor reads. This article will discuss the main causes of tilt, and also provide a few tips on how to overcome tilt and remain level-headed.
What Causes Tilt?
Tilt can be caused by several factors. Some of the most common factors include a bad beat, a poor play, or arguing with other players. You should never get into verbal arguments at the table because all you will accomplish is losing your head and your stack.
It’s impossible to avoid bad beats or the occasional poor play, so when that happens and you feel steamed, follow the tips below to deal with tilt and regain your cool.
Dealing with Tilt
If you do happen to find yourself steamed, you need to act quickly to prevent further loss of chips. If someone laid a bad beat on you, say “nice hand” and leave the table. We suggest going for a walk to clear your mind. Think about the hand and analyze if your play was correct or incorrect.
If the play was correct, remind yourself that you did everything right, and sometimes the cards just fall the wrong way. If you realize that you made the right call and got unlucky, you can head back to the table because you’re in a solid state of mind. If the play was wrong, however, you need to decide if you’re playing poorly or just made one mistake.
Often players blame bad beats when it is just their poor play. For example, imagine you are having a rough session and finally get pocket Aces. You raise it preflop and get a few callers. The flop comes down JJ4. You bet out and another player calls, and then another one raises. You are almost certain that someone has the Jack, but you don’t want it to be true so you re-raise all in with your Aces. Sure enough, the other player calls and flips over the J4 offsuit.
Most likely, you’re going to yell at the other player and demand to know why he called your preflop raise. In all actuality though, you knew you should have folded on the flop, so the loss is on you. In this situation you should leave the table because you’re playing poor poker – it wasn’t just a bad beat. You made the wrong decision and paid the price.
We recommend taking a break in almost every tilt situation. The only time you should rush back to the table is if you are positive that you’re level-headed, and your table has a ton of fish that might leave at any second. In that situation, I’d recommend getting back in the game, but in every other situation, you should take at least a five-minute breather to clear your head and regain your focus.
Tilt can be especially devastating in an online poker room because of multi-tabling. At a live casino at least you only have one stack on one table, but at an online poker room, you might have a dozen tables open with your entire bankroll in play. That is an extremely bad situation to be in when you’re not focused and calm. Even if you’re playing online we recommend taking a quick walk and see if you can regain your focus.