Understanding Tilt in Poker and How Combat It

It may be difficult but Understanding Tilt in Poker will win you money in the long run. Remember when you played pinball and you shook the machine too hard because you were starting to get upset and you didn’t want the ball to go down the hole and then that mean “TILT” light lit up and that got you even madder. Well poker is just like that. The game can be a roller coaster of emotions having to watch your chip stack go up and down.

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You have a rock solid hand (Ad As) and everything’s going great and you’re reeling in this fish and the board is (Ac 4s 8d Jc). When all of sudden the river comes the 2s and now if the fish has 3-5 they beat you but there is no way any player could of called all your bets and got this far with 3-5, right?. Then they raise your bet on the river and it’s exactly what they have!

All you’re thinking about is how stupid their play was and how you are going to get even with them. Two hands later it happens again and now you are off the deep end, you are on “monkey tilt”.

The next hand they are in, you call and it doesn’t matter what you have because you are going to get all of their chips! You lose that one making matters worse.

What can you do?

Tilt is a reaction to the situation and our bodies will secrete adrenaline and neurotransmitters that affect your thought process and better judgement. Tilt can only be counteracted by experience and realizing that bad beats happen and over time things will even out. The sooner you realize bad beats are a natural part of the poker game, the quicker you’ll be able to combat tilt when it takes place.

For those without experience the best remedy is to take a break. Even if you’re experienced player, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to stop playing for a bit, as no player is immune to tilt. It’s better to walk away and do something else until you have regained your composure than to play with your body in overdrive.

Once you can take a bad beat and say to yourself “Well that’s poker” and actually mean it then you are well on your way to combating tilt. You will still want to get those chips back and hopefully more from that player but at least you will have your wits about you. Other good players who see a player take a few bad beats will watch to see if that player self-destructs or not and try to take advantage of the situation.

So remember, there is a reason why the odds are not 100% every hand. Sometimes that 2 outer which has a 4% chance of winning has to hit and you have to be able to deal with it when it does happen. Don’t let tilt get to you. You want players to be making bad calls in the long run, that’s how you make money in poker!

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Author: Justin Anderson