Tilt Prevention Techniques

What is “Tilt” and why to people talk about it so much? My personal definition of tilt is a psychological state of mind that incurs the best of players to fall to their doom. In this article I will answer the following questions, Why does tilt occur, what can you do to avoid tilt and if tilt is inevitable what should you do?

Tilt is that driving force that “makes” you act irrationally at the table. Tilt is what every player around you wishes you would undertake for their benefit. If you are trying to be a successful, professional player, tilt is the devil!

Tilt happens, mainly, because you have taken a hit and lost a couple of chips. This may be because you misplayed a hand, thought you were good when you were not or simply suffered a bad beat. Have you ever been beaten by a higher full house? Your hear starts beating faster, your face turns red, you will do anything to get your chips back as quick as possible. This is tilt. Your actual emotional/psychological state has changed. If you are suffering from tilt, there are chemicals in your brain that have engaged this feeling; your mind state has changed you rational out the door. Subsequently I will tell you how to deal with tilt, but first I will tell you how to avoid this terrible danger.


This suggestion will definitely be easier said than done, but if you have ever watched professionals play, the one thing I will give them credit for, other than having large bankrolls and doing nothing with their lives, is avoiding tilt. If you watch a pro such as Ivey, Howard L, Chan, these players can play one hand to the next as if the last one did not happen – this is the key.

To avoid tilt you simply, and I say simply hesitantly, must play every hand like the last one did not exist. Now do not take this in the sense that you should not be monitoring players’ moves, actions, patterns and how the table is playing. When I say play every hand like the last one did not happen I mean forget about the chips you lost, or even gained in the previous hands. You must treat every hand like it is a fresh one, do not focus on losses and do not focus on wins Most players downfall is to play too loose after winning a few hands.

Another form of tilt is to have won some hands and subsequently lose chips until you are “even” or possibly negative.

Overall you must learn how to control your emotions and this overlaps into what you should do if tilt occurs this again is easier said then done but you can practice in everyday life. When you are in a certain emotional state you must decipher why you are in the state and see if you can manipulate yourself to change that state.

For example, you are angry for some reason, try and figure out why exactly it is you are angry, talk to yourself about it, try and find something good out of the situation, maybe a life lesson. If you are able to control your emotions than you WILL be able to control tilt.  When tilt occurs you should stop to think and reason with yourself, help yourself understand why and talk your way out of it. By no means is this an easy exercise but if you can master this you can master the game.