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Poker Dictionary (106) > Tilt

Going on Tilt - Online Poker

'Going on Tilt' in poker occurs when a player suffers a bad beat, and letting it get to him proceeds to play badly as a result of getting unlucky. The usual result is the player starts to lose even more money through this bad play. This type of situation isn't limited to poker - it happens in life.

There is an element of luck in poker so regardless of how well you play the cards, sometimes, the right result might not materialize. Sometimes you will have played the hand perfectly. Another important factor is that there are millions of idiots that play online poker. Some are so bad, it isn't worth trying to analyse why they make the plays they do. It still likely won't make sense. For some, they just don't care and others really just don't know any better. Believe me, for the small amount of pain that is felt when they get lucky and win a big hand, it doesn't overtake the earning potential in having them stick around. For every hand they win, they will lose a handful, and that's probably understating the situation.

So now that we understand that some things won't go our way, we need to understand how to deal with the emotions that come with these losses. When these emotions get the better of you and you start playing in an angry manner hoping to recoup some of your losses, a player risks going on tilt. I could say that the professional players know how to deal with losses and that's why they are where they are, and for a large percentage that is someway towards the truth. There are however are many who have what i like to call the 'tilt factor', and have it bad.

Common Triggers for Going on Tilt

There are many ways that can trigger a player to go on tilt, too many in fact to list here. You mother could phone you up and give you a hard time for something. That could be enough to put you in a bad mood which could start the ball rolling. Anything that puts you in a bad mood could make a player tilt, however there are some common things at the table that can be the catalyst.

1) Making a bad play which results in a significant dent on your stack.

2) Getting raised out of a big pot when you have the best hand, only for your opponent to show the 7-2 off.

3) Getting your chips in with the best hand and getting outdrawn by some idiot who calls with rags.

4) Trying to multi-task online and mis-clicking the call button on a massive bet (instead of folding).

5) Running bad. When you hit a streak of losing hands, especially if some of them were coin flips or the losing player was statistically the favorite.

6) Making a bad play that costs you a lot of money.

7) Getting into an argument with a player at the table.

There are many more, but these are the key ones. I read one of Gus Hanson's books recently and he talked a lot about tilt. One thing he did say that made a lot of sense, was that at the table, poker players are making decisions on snippets of information. You never have the whole picture so you have to accept you are at times, going to make the wrong play or make mistakes. That's just part of the game. Yes it's infuriating to get it wrong however for every low there are highs just round the corner. The worse thing you can do is get pissed off and blow your entire bankroll. That's not going to put you in a better mood.

Avoiding Tilt

This one is easier said than done. There are some things that can help, especially if you are the type of player who finds it difficult not to want to throw your monitor out the window - this won't help either. Here are a few important things you can do to limit the emotional impact of tilt.

1) Know when to stop. Sometimes things just don't work out. Other times we seem just to be making bad play after bad play. Understand when it's time to stand up and say, it's not my day. Losing more money by staying is only going to put you in a worse frame of mind, which will impact your ability to play your A-game.

2) Don't play when you are tired, bored or in a bad mood and these forces make it very easy to go on tilt.

3) If you like multi-tabling and are prone to going on tilt, try playing fewer tables. If you start tilting with 20 tables open, this is going to magnify your loses.

4) Limit your distractions. Turn the chat box off and turn off unwanted distractions. We play out best poker when we are in a good mood and not being interrupted every 5 minutes.

5) Don't go on marathon sessions without taking necessary breaks. Everyone needs a break.

6) Devise a strategy for dealing with bad beats. It's not if they happen, it's when. If you play poker, you'll see many a bad beat. If that means, taking a break to clear your head, that's what you do. You'll know best what works for you. When you appreciate that things could get a whole lot worse, it will focus you into dealing with what's happened.

7) Stick to your starting hand range and don't start playing any old two cards in an attempt to win back money. Similarly, don't start playing out of position. Stick to your A-game and strategy as best you can.

Finding out when you play your best game will help. Before taking to the tables, make sure you have your optimum environment set up. If it isn't, perhaps you shouldn't be playing. There are many days when i don't play poker. If I'm not in a great mood, maybe with pressures at work. If I've been in an argument or had bad news. These are all things that make me play a far inferior game and i become much more prone to tilting, so i don't play. Understanding what makes you tick will also be key to improving your game and limiting the effects of going on tilt.

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