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Tips to Avoid Tilting in Poker

by Thomas Browne

In poker, the phrase “tilt” refers to a bad mental state that frequently results from frustration and causes a player to make costly errors. Tilt can be recognized by playing hands you shouldn’t and excessive bluffing. 

While you can leave a cash game and return the next day, in a poker tournament, you are trapped and must make the best of the circumstances. It would help if you focused on the present rather than letting yourself become concerned with the past to overcome tilt.

Remind yourself to concentrate on the game’s fundamentals if you feel yourself starting to tilt. Although tilt weakens your capacity to think clearly, the damage can be reduced if you continue to make sound core decisions.

Four-Stage Process to Avoid Tilting in Poker

1. Internalize your frustration. It enables you to relieve tension and let go of that emotional response.

2. Examine your emotional and mental state, and practice being in the present.

3. Examine your physical condition. You can go back to stage one if there is any remaining tension.

4. Choose the feelings you want to have going forward. With this, you may change your poker strategy to focus on the present rather than the past.

You can also combat tilt by analyzing your errors and drawing lessons from them. Every error is an opportunity to sharpen your skills and improve your way of playing the poker game. 

Daniel Negreanu says, “You’re going to make many mistakes. Learning nothing from those mistakes is the mistake. The mistakes are opportunities for a breakthrough.”

Use Logic to Avoid Being Emotional 

No player can be immune to tilting, no matter how seasoned they are at Texas Holdem. Another frequent cause of tilt is making decisions out of emotion.

An example of this is when a player folds a weak hand only to have it make a monster on the flop.

After that, individuals begin to use the same hand in circumstances when they know they shouldn’t.

Emotion frequently impedes sound logic, especially if you focus so much on winning.

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Analyzing your feelings during the game to determine when you feel most frustrated is the first step in avoiding tilt. Keep track of the situations or game-related occurrences that impact your performance in a notebook.

Use the “injecting logic” technique to stop yourself from getting too emotional. Remember this once you’ve reached a point in your development as a player where you can notice when your emotions influence your gameplay. 

For instance, you can tell yourself this while you have a horrible run. Acknowledging that your feelings are overcoming your game is the first step. Admitting you lose it emotionally will propel you to do something about it. 

Your mental game is influenced by elements including motivation, fear, and confidence. To start lowering tilt in your game, evaluate your relationship with each. Come up with a strategy on your own to control these emotions, and you can be a master of the game, whether it’s poker online or live. 

You Can Use Tilt to Your Advantage

Watch for players who lack good strategy. A player’s altered demeanor—accelerated breathing or signs of restlessness, for instance—can hint that they might be losing it. 

They might also alter their strategy, such as playing a disproportionate number of hands. It’s crucial to keep an eye on your rivals to recognize any tiny signs of a potential mental tilt. Then you can take advantage of this situation and win the game. 

You can also use the pain threshold to your advantage. Each person’s manifestation of tilt will be different compared to yours. You can use this knowledge to your advantage by being aware of how each of your opponents is affected. 

Photo by StockSnap from Pixabay

For instance, you must call down your opponent more frequently if you notice them bluffing. Knowing when your opponent reaches their pain threshold might help you increase your profits or avoid calling a bad bluff. 

The more unfortunate events your opponent experiences, the more frustrated they become. These events build up until they exceed their pain threshold, at which point the nature of their game will significantly change, and not for the better. 

Presenting a bluff on the river in a big pot is a move you can execute.

Seasoned poker players advise against doing this if you’re a beginner because you might provide too much information. 

However, if you’re a skilled poker player, you could attempt this move to take advantage of their tilting. 


Tilting is a natural occurrence once you start playing the game. Every player always wants to win, and that strong emotion can be one of the reasons you lose the game. Realizing that you have a problem is the first step to avoiding tilting. 

You can always come back once you feel better, but it’s best to address your emotions before playing again. 

Have you ever experienced tilting? Play poker online at GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room, and see if you can control your emotions during the game.

Sign up at GGPoker today!

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