How To Avoid Tilt

How to avoid tilt for poker tilt control

We polled ourselves here at SteamDonkey to try to get a grasp on the top 10 triggers for tilt. We took those catalysts and turned them in to rules to avoid going on tilt. We think if you can follow these 10 rules, you will drastically reduce your vulnerability to steaming off chips. If you think of a rule that’s not listed, please feel free to add it in the comments section. It would be pretty cool if we could turn this into a comprehensive list. Here’s what we came up with:

1. Know Thy Idiot

Absolutely do not try to bluff an idiot. No matter how much he should fold his hand, he’s not going to. He’s going to make a terrible call, you are going to throw your hands in the air proclaiming “ARE YOU SERIOUS”, and then reward him by steaming right back at him. This guy isn’t a negative 16% ROI on sharkscope because he has the ability to understand your perceived hand range.He’s a fish clicking buttons. Value bet the life out of him.

2. Thou Shall Understand Probability and Variance

In the “enlightened” era of poker, there is no excuse for not knowing the basic stats. Even when you have someone dominated (AK v. AQ), you are only going to win that 2/3 times. Which obviously means you will lose one out of every three times on average. Over the course of a decent session or tournament…that’s going to happen…a lot, so you need to become immune to it. You need to expect it. And I don’t mean expect it with the loser mentality of “Oh I run so bad, I know its coming” and then steam when it does. You need to understand that it has to come, it is a part of the game; you must be able to lose in order to win.

3. Thou Shall Lose Thy Ego

Don’t let your ego get involved in the game. It’s easily offended child like temperaments will cause you to get emotional and start unnecessary grudge matches, probably unbeknown to your opponent, that will cause you to make rash, impatient decisions. “Nobody bluffs me, nobody makes a play on me and gets away with it!” Then the one man grudge match begins. You have entered a mental leveling war with yourself. Simple decisions have become complex, “but he has to know that I would think that he would do……”; now your opponents perceived hand range widens to include bluffs and plays…and you’ve just become your own worst enemy. When the ego blurs perception your opponent simply has to sit back, play a tight aggressive game, and he will destroy you. You will be doing all the mental work for him by outplaying yourself. Your bankroll will dwindle as you keep paying him off expecting to see some elaborate play; but hey he didn’t bluff you again did he! You totally won that mental battle! Your bankroll took a beating, but at least you won all those pride points! Oh wait, you can’t buy in with pride? The only games that take pride points are freerolls? Ego translates to pride, and pride is not very useful at the poker tables.

4. Thou Shall Not Set Short Term Monetary Goals

Settings short term monetary goals is dumb in a game that has significant variance. Its going to end poorly, and cause you to force a lot of situations by trying to meet an arbitrary goal. Poker is one long session, set qualitative goals instead. For example “I will not make a bet today without having a plan for being called or raised by my opponent”, or “Today I will not 3 barrel the calling station with a negative ROI”. Goals like those make you focus on decisions and thought processes; things you can control. You cannot predict your variance, so do not set goals based on something you cannot predict. Focusing on qualitative goals will improve your decision making at the table; then the money will follow.

5. Love Thy Donkey

Do Not Rage Chat. Period. Its bad for the game, bad for your mental state, a really poor display of etiquette, and actually pretty embarrassing. Throw out a “NH” and move on, or just turn chat off in general; especially if you get tilted by someone rage chatting at you.

6. Thou Shall Respect Thy Bankroll

Utilizing proper bankroll management is a great way to counter tilt. When properly rolled for the limits you are playing, losing several buy-ins should only make up a small % of your overall bankroll. Seeing a several buy-in downswing as a small % downswing is a lot easier to swallow than “I just lost $x dollars!”.

7. Thou Shall Not Worship Thy EV Graph

Don’t get addicted to your Ev Graph! Its fine to validate that you are running bad, but be careful of letting it become a prophecy for the future. If you get the “I run sosososo bad, I am the unluckiest person alive” syndrome, you are going to expect negative outcomes, play apathetically, and in the end play poorly as a result since you are expecting to lose.

The same concept is true for players that habitually check their cashier balance during a session. Again this is not a good idea. You will start thinking in terms of “ok, I need to get back up to $x, and then I’ll quit. This is not a good strategy. You will end up playing a hand differently trying to force that arbitrary goal. If you haven’t figured it out by now, even the smallest of mistakes in poker can end in disaster. Luckily enough for the habitual cashier checking players; we added a “Block Cashier” option to Auto-Break that will block the Cashier on any of our supported poker clients during a session.

8. The Devil Comes in Many Forms

Recognize the symptoms of how YOU personally tilt. There are many different ways to tilt, some are blatantly obvious, but others can be very subtle; for example calling a 3-bet with a little wider range than you usually do because you got bluffed by the raiser earlier. You have to know what your enemy is before you can defeat it.

9. Poker Gods Knoweth No Justice

Oh you’ve got that donk all-in completely dominated again, you are definitely going to win this ti…nope. The numbers really don’t care that you’ve had this guy all-in three times, absolutely crushed. They don’t care that you’ve lost the past six coin flips in a row, or that your keep running right into the top of his range. There really is no justice to this game, at least not until the very, very long run of things, but it’s really just a microcosm of life isn’t it? There are very unfair aspects of life, but those that succeed learn to deal with them, and put in the time and effort to get past them. The same is true with poker. You will have horrible, gut-wrenching down swings where nothing goes right; but you must persevere. Create your own justice, continuously push forward until the numbers inevitably yield in your favor.

10. Thou Shall Know When it’s Time to Go

When you know you are on tilt or off your A game, the faster you get off the tables, the more money you will save in the long run. If you have trouble quitting, you’ve come to the right place. With Tilt Breaker’s Rage Quit button and Auto Break features, you will be well equipped to minimize the adverse effects of tilt play. Tilt Breaker is your personal bankroll bodyguard, protecting you from your dark side 24/7.

43 Responses to “How To Avoid Tilt”

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