Everything That Professional Poker Players Should Know About Tilt (And Control)

Professional Poker Players

Professionals of all kinds use the term ‘tilt.’ What does that mean? ‘Tilt’ is a term used by golfers, poker players, video game players, and many others that denotes a streak of bad luck or some emotional distress that puts them off their game and makes them furious. When you get tilted, what can you do to control the situation?

What Is Tilt and How to Control It

Getting anxious at the table during an intense poker game is something most poker players face every other day. That is perfectly fine. Getting tilted is normal. However, do you know how to control your emotions when it happens? This is where you can easily differentiate a beginner from a professional. How you handle the tilt is what makes or breaks a poker player.

A streak of bad luck happens to everyone, and there’s nothing you can do to influence that. So what if you’re playing a game of skill? Sometimes, we all need a bit of luck to win. Also, if someone insults you at the table or something happens that breaks your focus, and you start losing your composure, so what? We are all human. But this is where you have to start ‘damage control.’ Poker isn’t a game you only play for fun. In it, you can lose a lot of money too.

How to Control It — Strategies to Save the Day

Take a look at some strategies that will help you control yourself when you go on tilt. These will save the day so that you don’t end up miserable and broke because of it when you leave the table. Don’t let one bad game turn into losing streaks, which will bottle both your record and your confidence.


This is pretty simple. Setting a stop-loss should be a prerequisite for every game of poker. Before you sit down at a poker table, set a stop-loss. That is the amount of money you are willing to say goodbye to. Of course, this means that once you lose the given amount, you need to stand up, turn around, and head for the door. Do not try to fight the tilt with more rage. Chase the door instead of chasing losses. If you do that, you will spend both the money you have and the money you don’t have.

Stop-Loss in poker

Overall, always ask yourself this — how much money can I spend today? How much money can I spend and be cool with it? Beginners should stay at around three buy-ins, while the more experienced players could probably afford to lose between seven and ten buy-ins.

Be Emotionless

Don’t think that other players don’t have emotions just because they seem ice cold during a game. It takes some skill and a lot of patience to remain calm and collected at all times. Tilt happens when bad feelings mix, and if you allow them to spill out at the poker table, oh, you are in big trouble. Instead, try to get rid of them outside of the casino. Lose control in the gym and punch the hell out of that bag, but don’t bring that to your poker games. Also, if you can’t leave your emotions at the door, you might want to consider not going through it in the first place. So what? The table will go nowhere. The cards won’t go anywhere, either. If you can’t manage your anger and negative feelings for at least one game, you will end up getting tilted. Bear that in mind.

Kill the Trigger

Certain things in our lives always find a way to trigger us and make us bleed. At the table, you can rest assured that there will be something that will easily trigger your tilt. There are memories, superstitions, and various other shenanigans that will make you want to give it all up. Okay. You need to know that there are no players in this world that win all the time. And most of all, you need to know that defeat oftentimes doesn’t come alone. Most of the time, there are more subsequent defeats that follow it. So if you’re having an awful day, why don’t you take a breather and skip poker for that day? If you allow yourself to get triggered and tilted, you are doomed. Why? Because tilted players lose their cool and think that they can win it all back. Which they, more often than not, can’t. So if you’re feeling emotional because of something, maybe don’t gamble until you heal. Avoid the trigger.

No Alcohol

Getting drunk means getting tilted. It’s that simple. And yet so many players cannot take their hands off the booze while at the table. The worst thing of all is the fact that casinos often offer free drinks when you’re winning. Know that there is a reason behind that. When we drink, our reality gets distorted, we don’t see clearly, we don’t perceive the world around us as we should. If you really love drinking, try at least to keep it in reasonable amounts. Don’t go in there and chug a bottle of whiskey during one game. Stop drinking during poker. That i, if you want to avoid getting tilted.

Breaks and Time Limits

Winning and losing depends on how well you can control your impulses. As you’ve seen above, tilt and everything that comes with it can be stopped or minimized with good self-control. But being calm all the time isn’t easy. That’s why you shouldn’t play for too long. Take it easy. Long sessions can be frustrating, tiring, and they can steer you away from poker. If you’ve played long enough to break even, that means that you’ve probably gone up once, and then down, and then back up, and so on and so forth. That’s why you need to set time limits for your gaming sessions. Don’t overdo it, and remember to take short breaks between games.


There are hundreds of factors and details that distinguish average poker players from the greats. Players that are playing good poker are the ones who realize that every detail matters and they rarely get tilted to the extent where they release full rage at the table. In the poker world, those who never get tilted get all the spoils. They are the true victors. Learn how to tame your emotions, and you too will become better!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *