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Poker Strategy | Beginner's Poker

Going on tilt

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Above all else, emotional control at the poker table is essential. 'Tilting' or Going on tilt' is the phrase used for the loss of control. This loss of control may cause you to simply shout and swear, it may cause you to quite poker for the evening and make large wagers at the roulette table or it may cause you to play very poor poker.

Most reasonable players will know they should avoid tilt. Many will successfully do so for weeks or months, no matter what the cards throw at them. Others will tilt so rarely it is unheard of. Others will tilt almost each time they play for very little reason or provacation.

So how do we avoid tilting? When the red mist descends, what can we do?

Firstly, play where you are comfortable. That means within your bankroll. A bad beat that costs you $20 is much easier to swallow than a bad beat that costs you $500, if you have a limited playing budget.

Secondly, try to remain calm if you feel anger after a hand. Analyse the play. Did you make a mistake? Were you just very unlucky and outdrawn after being way ahead? If you did make a clear mistake, then you should learn from it, don't beat up your bankroll with stupid raises and calls in an attempt to get your money back. If you were unlucky, then take heart from your good play. Poker can be a simple game, if you got your money in whilst you were easily ahead and your opponent hit a 2 or 3 outter, then you should still feel good about your play. You did the right thing, he was lucky, next time he won't be.

Can we take advantage of tilting players?

Most definitely. They are out of control, gambling wildly without a second thought. We are in control, we are thinking about our game and that of others. The simple way to take money or chips from a tilter is to bet your good hands. There is no need to try any fancy traps, play the premium cards and if they improve, keep betting. A tilter may well and try to raise you out of the pot. If you feel confident you are ahead then call. If you're not sure then lay them down, don't risk your stack like the tilter. Eventually he will cough up his chips to you when you hit a big hand.

Stay in control whilst you're playing. If you feel like tilting, switch off, or at the very least drop to the minimum stake tables where you bankroll won't be at risk.

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