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Full Tilt Poker

Poker Strategy


How To Deal With Poker Tilt

poker tilt

Many poker players, including myself, have struggled with poker tilt. The main reason for this is that we get too emotionally involved in a game that has lots of wild swings which we let alter our decision making process during our play.

In order to eliminate tilt in our game play, we must first define what it is and then make the necessary adjustments to counter it. Here is my definition: Tilt is the result of emotional stress causing an individual to play a hand differently than how they would otherwise play a hand during the peak of there ability.

Unfortunately, we can’t stop tilting just by telling ourselves to stop it. If only it was that simple. It requires some hard work and persistence. First of all, we need to figure out what the causes of tilt are. For every player the precise causes are different.  For example, for me the cause is not losing a big pot or even loosing a 150bb flip.   Yeah that sucks, but that doesn’t cause me to tilt. What really get in my head and makes me emotional is playing bad. So whenever I make a play that is not optimal, I start to feel sick, agitated, and uneasy and I begin to tilt hard.

So how did I stop this? Well to be truthful, I haven’t completely conquered this. I am a man with several weaknesses and tilt seems to be one of mine, although, it is less of a problem then it was in the past.  The following are some things I have done that have help me:

1) Play early in the day. I have discovered that my brain is at its climax a few hours after I have woken up.

2) Play less hours overall. I find that when I am playing long hours my brain becomes exhausted and I am more prone to make mistakes. Regular breaks help this, but humans are not built to sit in front of a computer for twelve hours a day, engaged at a maximum level of play at multiple tables. This is a recipe for burnout, spew and tilt for most people.  

3) Play only when you want to. I have grown up believing that if you work hard, you can get anything you want. With poker, this isn’t necessarily the case. Yes it’s important to put effort into your game but play smart, don’t push yourself to exhaustion. If your body and mind doesn’t want to be playing poker then don’t play. You will start getting bored, restless and annoyed, which we all know will lead to tilt.

4) Be aware of your emotions. Great players are in harmony with their emotions and understand what things impact their mental stability. When you feel yourself start to get agitated, give yourself a chance to recognize those emotions and correct them. If you feel yourself incapable of adjusting your mental state/emotions back to a level where you can act objectively, then quit play for the moment

5) Avoid caffeine and sugar. Caffeine and sugar supply a spike and crash to your blood sugar level and central nervous system. These substances take your mind and body from a state of being over energized (which may make you more aggressive and tilt) to being under energized, which may make you agitated and irritable.

6) Exercise. I’m not really sure why this works but I always feel more contented after my workouts. I think exercise releases endorphins, which are the happy hormone.  It is common sense that if you are in a good mood, you are less likely to become irritated as a result of the swings you face on a daily basis.

7) Live a balanced life. I have talked to a lot of pros and most will tell you that their best months are not when they are grinding through insane volumes of hands but its when other things in life excite them.


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