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The Art of Tilting - Part 1

I am not a world class poker player. I probably won't ever be. Part of that is because I, like most people (if not everyone), go 'on tilt'.

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What is Tilting?

For those of you new to the game, Tilting is the term used when one has taken a bad beat or two and starts chucking his or her chips about like they got the nuts. The hardest thing in poker, I'm sure some at least will agree, is to recognize when YOU are on tilt. Of course, it's nearly as important to recognize when another player is tilting, but we'll go into that later.

How do you recognize it?

See now that's the tough part. You don't 'know' until afterwards, when you analyze what happened in those last few hands and realize that actually it was you who played it badly, making rash calls and silly raises. If, after all, you could lay down an AK when you've hit your king for a $1000 raise, why could you not lay it for $100 or even a $50 raise?

What I'm attempting (badly!) to communicate to Mr. and Mrs. J Doe out there is that if you've made a bad read or just been plain stupid; take a step back and try and figure out why. If you've made that mistake after a couple of nasty hits, then its odds on it's because you are on tilt.

How can you turn it to your advantage?

Firstly, learn to spot others on tilt. It's especially obvious with a tight player who suddenly starts playing a bit loose (after a bad beat of course…). If you do spot someone on tilt, let them throw their money at you. They will start to play A10 as if it were AK and start to think 33, or 77 is a premium hand. As I say, learn to spot who's playing badly and ask yourself why.

Secondly, and by far the most important passage in this rhetoric; If you recognize you are on tilt, STAND UP. Take a while to calm yourself down, think and move on, otherwise you will pay. Play some music, I find classical or opera is the best 'head' music. Have a coffee. Take a break. Remember, there is always tomorrow.

In The Art of Tilting - Part 2, we will discuss how to use your own tilt to win.

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