Poker Tilt: How It Can Ruin Your Game

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 26th, 2010

In the ever growing world of poker, being on tilt can be a poker players? biggest fear. Poker players are said to be on tilt when they are just not at their best game. They often play many hands, the majority of them being losses, place bets on bad hands, place off the wall high bets on mediocre hands, or out of desperation try wild, obvious bluffs. Players on tilt are often reckless, and make bad decisions and errors uncommon to them. Once a player goes on tilt, it is very hard to break the cycle.

More often than not, by the time a player realizes they are on tilt, it is too late to avoid it. Many players have lost their entire stack before they would admit they were on tilt and walk away. It is important to look for warning signs of possibly going on tilt, so that you can stop before it is too late. Playing when you are tired is one of the most likely causes of tilt. When you are tired, you aren?t at your best no matter what you are doing. Your ability to make good decisions is impacted, and since that is a crucial skill in poker playing, you really should not play when you are overly tired. When you start to get sleepy, and feel your fatigue level rising, it is important to stop playing and rest. You can always come back later, and will probably play better because you will be well rested and wide awake, hence, making better decisions. This is a likely cause of tilt that you have control over and can stop before it starts.

Many players let their tempers get them on tilt as well. They often let comments made by other players get under their skin, which sets them on edge and makes them more likely to make costly mistakes. Mane poker players will do this on purpose to throw their opponents off their games, so it is easier for them to win. These obnoxious players are easier to ignore when you are playing online poker, you can always close off your chat screen, or many websites now have features where you can ignore chat from a particular player. For this reason, players who play online are less likely to go on tilt due to comments from another player.

If you seem to be in a cycle of getting bad cards, making bad bets, or catching yourself making mistakes that are uncommon for you, it should be considered an early warning sign of going on tilt. The more annoyed you become at the situation, the worse your game will be. As your game gets worse, your frustration level will rise even more, which will put you on a fast path to going on tilt. This is one of those crucial moments where you should be the responsible player and realize it is better to walk away than to keep playing and hope things will get better. Chances are that even if you do get better cards, or you do make better bets, you will still lose because you are already to the point of being off your game and on tilt.

During any poker game it is important to keep your attention focused on what you are doing. When you get distracted, you are more likely to make costly mistakes. With every mistake you make, you put yourself one step closer to going on tilt. So, when you catch yourself losing your focus, walk away for a few hands and come back, or try to remove whatever it is that is causing you to lose your concentration.

As a general rule of thumb, if you are having a bad day, or you feel as though things just aren?t going well, you should not allow yourself to play. Things that happen in our day to day lives affect everything we do, and are sure to impact our focus, concentration, and decision making abilities, therefore making players more likely to go on tilt. When things seem to be going wrong for you, it is hard to take your mind completely off of them no matter what you do. It is better to work out your problems before you play, so that you will have all attention on what you are doing, and can avoid the feared being on tilt.

It is important for every poker player to be aware of what tilt means and how to avoid being impacted by it. Everyone will have a bad game now and then, but when it is more often than not, chances are there is something else going on that is causing you to be off your game. Good players learn to recognize the difference between bad luck and tilt, and they know when to walk away.

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
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