!@#? TILT !@#?
By Steve Ruddock
Tilt is the dirtiest 4 letter word for a poker player. A poker player on tilt is like driving a car while you're sleeping, disaster waiting to happen. Tilt is when your emotions get the better of you and start making your decisions for you, instead of rational thought. People do not kill their spouses for no reason when they are calm and thinking clearly, people kill their spouses for no reason when their emotions get the better of them.
This column will teach you to recognize the warning signs of oncoming tilt and how to deal with tilt once it has arrived.
Warning sign #1 - BAD BEAT!
Did someone just hit an inside straight to beat your flopped 3 of a kind? If you are thinking about a hand that is over you are approaching tilt. If you find yourself saying things like, "how could he call with that" or "are you kidding me" you are approaching tilt, your emotions have taken control and are causing your mind to not fully concentrate.
After taking a bad beat make sure you are concentrating on the current hand! If you are not concentrating on the current hand try remembering the following poker mantras,
Good players take more bad beats. Since you are ahead when you get your money in the only way for your opponents to beat you is through luck.
Poker is a long term game. If bad players never get lucky there would be no game, at least not 1 you would want to play in. Remember for every 12 to 1 shot they hit they will miss 11 times.
Warning sign #2 - YOU"RE LOSING!
Not getting cards? Missing every draw? Are other people beating your set with flushes and straights? There is nothing you can really do about these circumstances but suck it up and take your medicine. What you do not want to do is let it affect you emotionally, stay calm this unfortunate runs are part of the game.
If you are having a losing session through no fault of your own or other players just shrug it off, it happens. If you are having trouble maintaining control try the following,
Take a walk. Sometimes all you need is a change of atmosphere to clear your head.
Go get something to eat. Not only is this generally a good idea but if you are gone for 30 minutes your return to the table should feel like a whole new session for you, leaving that last session as a memory.
Simply leave. Sometimes if you know you are not going to be playing your best it is a good idea to cut your losses and head home for the day, and start fresh tomorrow.
Warning sign #3 - SOMEONE IS IRRITATING YOU!
The whiner, the complainer, the drunk, whoever it is. If someone else is bothering you for whatever reason you should either call the floor if they are out of line, or ignore them. Your only other recourse is to switch seats/games.
Don't just sit their and stew about it, don't have an emotional outburst or a war of words with the person this will only increase your stress and anger, you need to deal with this situation in a way where you maintain your emotional stability.
These are 3 possible ways you could be put on tilt and some remedies you could try, to not only avoid tilt, but to counteract it after it has taken place. To play poker properly you need all your wits and senses, do not let your emotions get in the way.
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