TILT CONTROL – For beginners

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In poker, tilt control refers to the ability to maintain logical thinking and therefore proper play analysis, despite an apparent string of bad luck.  In other words, playing with logic instead of emotion.

This is a part of the game that beginners can struggle with. Poker can be an extremely emotional game and if you can’t maintain a “poker face” you will just be helping your opponents beat you.

When you’re playing the smaller stakes games, with other beginners or just plain crazy players, logical play can be seen to go right out the window.  It’s at this time where tilt control will suit you best.

The best way to prevent tilt is to never allow yourself to get close to it.


Learn to identify what triggers tilt for you. Develop strategies to avoid those triggers.

Set a stop loss – This is giving yourself a limit as to the number of buy-ins you will allow yourself. If you know you will be on tilt if you have to buy-in for the 4th time, make sure you get up from the table if you’ve gone through 3 buy-ins.

Learn to quit early when things are not going your way. It will happen, so  be able to take a break and come back another time. Nobody wins all the time anyway.

Play at your best. Try to always play when you’re feeling most confident and mentally alert.

Play shorter sessions and include breaks – As a beginner it’s probably good to limit your playing sessions to 30 or 40 minutes at a time.  After that, at least get up and take a break, give your mind and body a chance to reset. Remember, you want to always be playing at your peak mental alertness.

Don’t get emotional – You have to be clear headed to make the proper decisions. Showing emotions usually results in bad play. The saying of having a “poker face” or showing no emotion is a part of good poker play.

Learn to expect the downswings –  If you realize that bad swings are going to happen, you should be able to let those times roll of your back with no emotional explosion.  If it starts to bother you, take a break.

Final Thoughts

The mental side of poker is a huge part of the game.  Learning to play within the boundaries of whatever triggers your tilt will be of tremendous value to you.  You will improve your game play much faster if you can control your tilt, because you will always be playing at your best. Tilt will hurt your game and help your opponents beat you.  Keep it under control.

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