The best way to beat tilt is to avoid it completely. Try to recognise it early and clear your head before it costs you your hard-earned chips. Keep these strategies in mind and you’ll have another trick in your arsenal that leaves your opponents trailing behind.
What is Tilt?
Tilt is a bad state of mind that can lead you to make a lot of mistakes, usually brought about through frustration. In poker, this commonly shows up as a desperate play style aimed at scrabbling to retrieve chips after a big loss, or simply throwing chips away to vent anger.
Recognise the causes
Poker is a unique game that takes a mix of luck and skill, blending them into a competitive environment where you’ll need a bit of both if you want to come out on top. When these two things don’t line up, it can be easy to lose your cool.
One of the most common causes of tilt is a “bad beat”. This is a situation in which your high ranking hand loses out to someone with an even better hand, usually, after you’ve confidently invested plenty in the pot.
Worse than this is the sting of losing out to a worse hand which your opponent really had no right playing. If you’ve ever raised the pot with pocket aces, just to lose to someone across the table who was bluffing an unsuited 2 7 and somehow hit a full house, you’ve probably felt the vicious bite of bad luck.
Another major cause of bad luck related tilt is being consistently card-dead. A continuous stream of bad starting hands, bad flops and draws that just won’t come in, could cause even the most patient player to throw in the towel. This is tilt water torture, drip, drip, dripping until you start bluffing hands just out of a want to actually play the game.
Manage Your Tilt
Tilt is an unavoidable part of poker and even the calmest among us experience it from time to time, so the most important thing is knowing how to deal with it.
The number one solution is to slow down, take a break and maybe even sit out of a few hands or grab yourself a drink. Settle your emotions, collect your cool. Observe the game for a few hands with a new perspective while you collect your cool.
If you come back to the table and you still feel like you’re in a bad state of mind, consider moving to another table, or play a different type of Hold’em to reset your focus.
Sometimes leaving isn’t an option. In these situations, you need to address the mindset at the table. Sit back and relax for a second, put on a video or some music that you like in the background and think about how you are going to play going forward. Always avoid thinking about what’s happened up to this point.
If you’re all about the numbers, another great option is to check out a poker odds calculator, to see how bad a “bad beat” actually was. Knowing that your hand would only have won one in every three times can be a great pallet cleanser and help to get you back on track.