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Being on tilt means letting your emotions disrupt your ability to play. All poker players go on tilt at least once during their career, but limiting these episodes is essential to winning at poker. Poker is a game that requires reason. If you have [[cards Qs Js]], and the flop comes [[cards Ah Qh 10h]], and there is a lot of betting action, you need to know to fold. If you were on tilt, you would let your emotions take control and make you do whatever it took to take down the pot. You would keep chasing, hoping to catch a king and hoping that no one had a flush.

In general, people who get upset and don't stay focused and reasonable will lose all the money they brought to the table. Poker is almost anti-human in the way it triggers emotions but rewards people who are made of stone. I don't mean to scare you or act as if all poker players are unemotional rocks, but it is imperative to stay focused and rational while at the poker table.

Generally, most players tilt due to a bad beat or if they just can't seem to win a hand. Some players have a slight tilt after they win a big hand or two, but those episodes generally are much shorter than tilts caused by losing.

For example, take this hand I played recently.


I bet at the flop and was called. [[cards 10h]] came on the turn. I bet, he called. River was [[cards 7h]]. I bet, and he raised. I decided to just call, thinking he may have actually had KJ. No, he had [[cards 7s 7c]]. The idiot had called me to the river with little hope but won on a very lucky river catch. Needless to say, I was not playing well the next couple of hands.

While going on tilt is natural, you need to limit it. Generally, the best way is to sit out a couple of hands and go for a walk.

Another good way to handle a bad beat is to just think about all the bad beats you have laid in the past. After the bad beat I mentioned above, I sat back and thought about the time I stupidly went all-in during a Pot-Limit Omaha with bottom set.


My opponent had the best hand when all the money went into the pot. I was lucky enough to catch a backdoor flush on the turn and river and took down a huge pot. That day, I went on to win the most money that I have ever won. If I had lost that hand, I probably would have called it quits and never would have won all of that money. Thinking about the time I pulled off this bad beat and went on to win such a huge sum helps me get through the times that some idiot rivers me.

Listening to music is another way to avoid tilt. The positive vibes you get from a song you enjoy will help counteract the negative emotions from a bad beat. I would also suggest changing songs or CDs after you have suffered a bad beat. This way you distract yourself from getting too emotionally caught up in the poker game.

Many people, myself included, tend to curse at the computer if they get bad beat. However, for myself at least, cursing is not nearly as therapeutic as thinking about that huge bad beat I laid at the Omaha table. Cursing tends to make you more mad and will cause you to develop some bad habits. When you are about to go on tilt, sit out and think happy thoughts (as cheesy as it sounds, it's true), and hopefully you can resume playing your best.

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