How to Avoid Poker "Tilt"

One of the biggest threats to your stack at the poker table is getting steamed and going on tilt. Losing your focus can cost you several buy-ins, and is almost always brought about by another player bad-beating you, or by making a bad play and losing a lot of money. Everyone is going to lose hands, it just happens, but it's how you react that will determine if you can salvage the session or not. This article will look at ways to avoid tilt, and how to keep your head clear even after a big loss.

Losing to a Bad Beat

Avoiding Poker TiltThe most common cause of tilt is when you lose a big pot to a bad beat. We all know the feeling: you get it in with the best hand, and the miracle card hits on the river to whisk the pot away from you. It's gut wrenching, and can really screw with your head, especially if you experience a few bad beats in the same session. The thing you have to understand is that it happens to everyone, and you've surely laid out your own share of bad beats during your poker career.

After taking a bad beat, I recommend leaving the table for a round or two. If you're playing online, sit out and go watch some TV or something - just don't continue playing. Right after the beat is when you're most susceptible to tilt so it's crucial to get off the computer ASAP. While you're taking a break, reassure yourself that you played the hand right, and that it was just bad luck.

Remember that luck goes both ways, and you'll get it back later, and focus on how you're going to continue playing well when you return to the computer. Once you have cleared your mind and are focused again, you can head back, but make sure you're really ready to play.

If you feel like you're still steamed after taking the break, take some time off and do something else. The tables will always be there, so you're not missing out on anything by taking a day or two off to relax.

Making a Poor Play

Another thing that can really get a player steamed is if they make a heroic bluff attempt, or try to make a great call, and are completely wrong. This can definitely lead to some severe tilt, and the cure is very similar to what I recommended above. Just take a break and let your anger fade away.

While you're on your break make sure to think about why you made the bad play, and if it was sensible or if you were just tilting. If you realize that the play was way too aggressive, or just wasn't a smart move, you should take the rest of the day off because you're definitely not thinking clearly at the moment.

"Getting Even"

One reason players keep playing while they're tilting is that they feel the need to get even. When you're down a buy-in or two, all you can think of is getting back to even so you won't have a losing session. This concept leads to even more lost money because you're in a bad mind set, and are likely to take huge risks to win chips back.

If you even find yourself thinking of "getting even", I recommend you leave the table and wait until tomorrow to play again. It's just not a good situation to be in, and you're better off having a losing session than having a horrible session that will leave you tilted for days if not weeks. Make sure to read all of our poker strategy articles and watch our poker videos so you won't have a losing session in the first place.

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