Fishing guide

Dealing With Poker Tilt – A Lifestyle Guide


Being a victim of tilt poker can cause you to lose money, friends, and weight. Here is a guide on how to combat tilt by making some lifestyle changes.

We’ve all been there – on the losing side of the bad beat. But it’s the way you handle this situation that makes you ___.

Jared Tender, author of The Mental Game of Poker (which I highly recommend to all players, tilt prone or not), says:

“Solving your tilt problem means both successfully managing the table tilt while working away from the table to resolve the cause. “

This is the sort of thing that I will be looking at in this article. Over the years, I’ve worked hard to get my tilt under control, especially when I’m away from the table.

Why you should aim to avoid tilt

When it comes to tilting, I’ve heard a lot of players say “so what?” – but, this is really something that you should try to master.

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We all know that when you bow, you are not making decisions with a clear head. This makes it easier to make mistakes that will cost you money. So, learn to avoid tilting protect your bankroll.

It will also be make you more enjoyable when you play. One of the best things about playing live poker is a joke, and a player who leans hard definitely ruins the mood.

So, this is something you don’t want to get used to.

Switch from online to in-person play

When you play at home, you might not even realize that you are tilting. If you are primarily an online gamer making the transition to poker in live environments, you should definitely master your tendency to tip-over before venturing into a place of brick and mortar.

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Ask around you

I’ve known players who bow incredibly hard and don’t even know it. In these cases, I imagine it’s something like “let off steam” where they completely lose control and can’t remember how bad a reaction they had.

So if you are not sure whether or not you have a big tilt problem, you should ask your relatives or other players with whom you have been at tables. You might get a glimpse of how you handle bad beats, which may be different from how you see your reactions.

The Basics – Let Go

Whenever you are looking for advice on how to deal with the conquering tilt, most people will tell you to just step back and take a break. It’s a lot easier said than done, and it’s only when you’ve managed to get your emotions under control on a larger scale that you can actually do it.

It’s still the easiest thing to do when you find that you have started to tilt. This is the quickest solution and if you can manage to show some courage to do it, it will save you money and others will hurt some feelings.

Practice mindfulness

There has been a big push in mental wellness lately, and it’s something poker players should really take seriously. Whether or not you are prone to a bad incline, take care of your mental health by pay attention and learn to meditate will go a long way in improving your game.

Being prone to raging about a game (no matter how much money is at stake) comes from a deeper problem with controlling your anger and anxiety. To manage them, I found that practice meditation and mindfulness really helps.

Mindfulness is about being present in the moment. You can notice your bad behavior right away so you can correct it before it can really affect you negatively – which is important when it comes to dealing with bad beats in poker.

You don’t have to be cross-legged and sing for an hour. You can do it 10 minutes a day while you wait for a table, or you can apologize for a game for a quick session. Apps like Headspace are great, but there are a lot of free options on Youtube. For example:

It’s a great breathing exercise that you can use to calm yourself down. It only takes 5 minutes, so you can walk away from the poker table if things start to get a little too tough:

Even Daniel Negreanu recommends it. He says the the best way to deal with a bad beat is to breathe deeply, and it really works.

Play other games online

One of the best tips I have ever heard for dealing with tilt is to try to play other competitive games. At first I thought it was a joke recommendation, but it actually helps you learn to be a good sport.

There seems to be a good reason why several DOTA and Counterstrike players have made the transition to poker. These types of games put you in high pressure situations and force you to stay calm in order to make smart decisions.

Don’t hit it until you’ve tried it.

There’s no money involved, so you can take your time learning how to keep a cool head when the going gets tough. In fact, I found that playing Mario Kart on a regular basis has helped me familiarize myself with an incredibly stressful and often luck-based game (damn those blue seashells!).

Some also recommend giving play poker with money. All of the top sites like 888 and America’s Cardroom offer play money games where you can compete in a low pressure environment.

Don’t go overboard with caffeine

Caffeine plays a big role in poker. You can pick up Red Bulls to end a late night session or order coffee after coffee if you’re sitting in a tournament for more than 12 hours.

Although it helps you stay awake, caffeine can make the incline worse. If you have a tendency to tilt, you should try to avoid drinking a ton of caffeine during a heavy session. Just try to get enough rest the night before or have a snack when you feel your energy starting to wane.

It sounds like a big compromise, but it’s worth it when you think about the consequences the switch could have.

Get in shape

Often times, poker is a game of endurance. Many players are more inclined to bow when they are too tired – so if you want to play longer sessions then you should get into the shape you need to maintain your energy levels.

There is also the problem of stress, which being active can certainly alleviate. If you work on your aggressiveness in the gym, there will be no underlying when you are at the poker table.

Worst tilt stories

If you needed some motivation to control your tilt, here are some stories of the worst cases of tilt I’ve encountered. In the vast majority of cases, a losing player will only waste money by making bad decisions. These are just a few extreme examples:

Doxxing during the WSOP

One of the worst tilts I’ve seen happened at the WSOP online last year, and could have escalated into something much more serious than a little tantrum. After being slowed down by another player, Mike Matusow, who was broadcasting at the time, threat of violence against the player and even asked his followers to find out the identity of the player.

You wouldn’t think someone would actually try to dox someone for a slow roll, but some Internet sleuths answered Matusow’s call. The player in question turned out to be a woman named Megan – which compounded his threats of sexual violence.

Fortunately, the doxing didn’t work, and Megan took the situation lightly.

A player stabbed himself

This one is an internet legend: an online gamer stabbed himself in the ankle during a $ 14,000 drop. Many people doubt the legitimacy of the story, but it is still talked about in online poker circles and has gone down in history.

You will have to read it for yourself, because you wouldn’t believe me if I told you:

Poker tilt dagger
A screenshot of the story in question. Decide for yourself whether you think it’s true or not.

If there has edifying tale that motivates you to master your tilt tendencies before something bad happens, that’s it.

Most things Phil Hellmuth related

We all know Phil Hellmuth as The Poker Brat – but he’s made his tirades and temper tantrums part of his brand. He definitely does play sometimes and even so you wouldn’t want to be that guy, starting a $ 1 / $ 2 game.

This compilation gives you a good overview of what you can expect from a Phil Hellmuth Tilt Session:

Have you conquered Tilt?

Have you ever had a problem with too much tilt? Leave us a comment and tell us what strategies worked to help you master it!