Beginner’s Poker Strategy: Avoiding Tilt

What is “tilt?”

Many poker players talk about tilt, but it’s a term I’ve rarely seen defined properly, which may lead newcomers to believe that tilt is what occurs when you receive a run of bad hands when, in fact, tilt involves the human side of things much more than what’s going on with the deck. A person who is “on tilt” is someone that has let their emotions take control of their game, and not for the better. Tilt frequently begins when a player loses what they view as a big hand and they try to compensate for the loss. With emotions making the decisions, any intellectual aspect to poker gets drowned out and players find themselves losing.

Can You Control Tilting?

The best thing any player can do to avoid tilting in their poker game is to nip it in the bud. If a hand has you upset or frustrated after everything’s said and done, you’re more likely to make mistakes and in poker, mistakes are money that’s going into other people’s bankrolls. Learning discipline and control at the table is one of the things that can make an average poker player into a good one and a good poker player into a great one.

If you feel the situation is untenable and that you can’t just blow it off and move on to the next hand, step away from the table for a bit to clear your head. If you’re playing in an online poker tournament, sit out the next hand and walk away for a few minutes. If you’re playing a cash game, don’t be afraid to quit playing entirely and cool down a bit.

Taking Advantage Of Tilt

If you find yourself playing online poker against a player that’s obviously in tilt, use it to your advantage. They’re going to be giving away their money anyway, so it might as well go to you. If they’re unable to take the basic steps needed to play poker better, find out how you can push them and extract as much value as possible. I’ve found that playing a more tight-aggressive strategy works perfectly against these players, as they’re frequently loose and chasing the long odds. The more hands they lose, the more likely it is that they’ll try to win back their money and you can collect big rewards.

It’s important to note that you shouldn’t ever aggravate the other player or poke fun at them, for two reasons. Firstly, you want them to continue giving you money for as long as they can and secondly, think about how you’d feel if a player did that to you. Poker should be as fun as possible for all the players, even if one f them is losing.