Dealing With Tilt as it Happens

Angry-man-001Of course the number one goal is to prevent tilt before it happens, that is not always possible. Sometimes the issue can be so severe (or the circumstances leading up to it) that you cannot avoid going on full blown tilt.

Conventional poker wisdom tells you to quit at this point. Sometimes that is the only good option left, but not always.

First of all, if the games you are playing in are really good, it can be very harmful in the long term to quit them all the time. Some people think they don’t have a tilt problem because they always quit when they start to tilt, but this actually an example of a big tilt problem that is more costly in the long run than powering through it.

Secondly, if you ever want to cure a tilt problem you need to work on correcting it in moment. The more you work on the correction, the better you will be at applying it in the moment. Just like any other skill, you need to practice the solution in order for it to show up when it is needed.

The following is a simple step by step process for dealing with tilt when it happens. It is best to prepare this routine when your are not on tilt away from the tables so that it is easier to apply in the moment:

  1. Recognition
    You cannot work your way out of tilt until you take a moment to acknowledge you are on tilt. Thankfully with the Tilt Profile this will get easier and easier, and before it gets too costly. Take a moment to recognize you are on tilt, and if you can, try and call out the signs of tilt such as your hands are sweating or you are playing too many hands out of position.
  2. Deep Breath
    Next take a long deep breath. Despite what you think, this is not to relax you. The purpose of taking a deep breath is to put a little bit of space between you and tilt. Like when you walk out of the room for a moment to collect your thoughts. If this means sitting out at the table for a few hands than so be it.
  3. Inject Logic
    Here is where I want you to pre-prepare what I call a Logic Statement. Just a straightforward mantra designed to remind you of the right way to think. Look to your Tilt Profile for inspiration. It could be as detailed as ‘In order for poker to be profitable, the bad players need to suck out on me’ or as simple as ‘The only thing you can do is make the best decision you can’. Have this statement to hand, maybe put it on a note somewhere, and say it to yourself when you are on tilt.
  4. Strategic Reminder
    This is something else you are better off preparing in advance. Think about all the parts of your game that go away when you are on tilt – it could be maths, hand selection or positional awareness for example. Then write down the correct way of playing, the way you wished you played when you are on tilt. Make it simple, perhaps just addressing your biggest leaks, for example ‘Play tight out of the blinds’. Then keep this note to hand and use it to remind yourself of the biggest mistakes you make while on tilt, so you can doggedly fight to correct those mistakes in the moment.
  5. Repeat as necessary
    It make take more than once.
  6. Quit
    If you find these attempts are not working, perhaps the tilt is too severe, now is the time to quite. Don’t worry, this process will become easier the more you do it and you did valuable work attempting it today.

If you found this useful, be sure to check out the posts in this series:

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The Seven Types of Tilt

By now hopefully your Tilt Profile will have really helped you get some personal insight into your specific tilt issues,...