Tips on How To Manage Tilt In Poker

It’s a common predicament that stretches beyond just poker into everyday life, but poker players over the years have given it a certain name. “Tilt”.

It’s when a streak of bad luck, an irritation, or an insult or jibe from another player, for example, throws you off your game, and, from then on, you struggle to get back into stride. In poker, this means you have allowed yourself to become “tilted”.

This will obviously vary between individuals, but it’s an important factor in poker to be aware of. Here are a few basic tips and methods that can help you to manage tilt and its potentially negative effects on your bankroll.

Know Thyself

This may seem very simplistic, but tilt is, after all, very much an individual-based issue. The greatest thing you can do is simply to know yourself, e.g. your own strengths, flaws, and “triggers”.

To learn, for instance, what “sets you off” when in confrontational and/or stressful moments, and be able to anticipate and bypass these triggers, can be an immensely powerful tool in controlling your emotions, and therefore tilt.

Set Limits and Take Breaks

Avoiding stress is another simple (though not always easy) way to avoid getting tilted, and losing a  lot of money is obviously a major stress inducer. Having some structure and discipline in one’s poker routine and betting habits can give a player that extra bit of confidence and sense of ease during play, knowing that their bankroll is protected.

Setting loss limits, time limits to sessions, and taking regular breaks, are all standard methods used by gamblers to protect their bankrolls, both from the house edge, and from themselves.

If You’re In A Bad Mood, Just Don’t Play

This one may also seem very basic, but it is often simply the most sensible thing to do. General mood and state of well-being are obviously major deciding factors in the likeliness of becoming tilted. Our general decision-making, and a whole host of other things are affected. So, taking some time off to recover your mojo, rather than just jumping into games while feeling under the weather, is highly recommended.

Learn To Recognize Being Tilted And To Hit The Eject Button

Sometimes, just knowing that you are currently tilted isn’t immediately obvious. Learn to recognise it, and the moment you feel yourself being affected, consider stopping at the next available opportunity. Take a break and come back when you’re feeling better, or perhaps even call it quits for the day.

Know Your Game

Knowing the ins and outs of poker, the bets, the odds, the strategies, etc., will inevitably bring a certain level of confidence, and therefore a potential reduction of stress to your game.

One should also always be aware that other players will often strategically attempt to induce tilt to better their own chances. So be ready for it.

Practice Makes Perfect

Nothing beats good old practice and experience and giving this common and very “human” matter a certain name just for poker is a useful way to help keep focus and awareness of it.  

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Signe Jakobsen

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