Spotting a player on tilt is a glorious moment for a seasoned poker pro, but being that player is a newbie's worst nightmare. To avoid paying out like a faulty slot machine next time you hit the poker table, follow this simple guide.
The term is thought to originate from pinball, where angry players try to tip the table when the ball isn’t going their way. This trips a small switch, the machine shuts down and the screen displays the 'TILT' message – game over.
The poker equivalent is when a player gets frustrated and fails to make rational strategic decisions, allowing clear-minded players to take advantage. Although caricatures often depict angry players turning into the Hulk, the beginnings of tilt aren't always so obvious.
Professionals suggest learning the signs of tilt so that you can control it. Start by assessing your mindset prior to a game. You may be setting yourself up for a loss if:
Once a game begins, any player can suffer from creeping tilt; where their emotions take control without them realising. Knowing these common tilt triggers will help you to question your decisions before they go awry:
Everyone joins a poker table prepared to assess their opponents. It’s more difficult, though, to accurately assess yourself.
Focusing on your opponent can help identify flaws in your own game. Look out for tell-tale signs that you're doing something different; a quirked eyebrow, a small smile, even a disapproving look can reveal that you're getting emotionally invested.
Don't obsess over micro-expressions, though – you’ll lose focus on your game. It's usually more important to beware the enemy within. There are certain physical signs that warn of stress you can watch out for, like sweaty hands and a dry mouth – combat these patterns of behaviour early and remember the red flags for next time.
As well as being vigilant against tilt, there are some strategic safeguards you can practise. It pays to have a safety net (or two, or three):
To practise your tilt avoidance strategies, visit Winner Poker today.