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Principles of Tilt Control
IntroductionIn this article
- What tilt is
- How to spot the early signs of it
- How to control tilt
The only way you can solve your tilt problem is by remaining in control at the table when you would typically lose control. Period. There’s no other way around it. I want to make that clear from the start because the strategy that I lay out in this article is designed entirely to help you remain in control when you typically lose it.
It sounds obvious enough but all too often players don’t quite think in those exact terms. They sometimes think the solution to tilt is to quit. Quitting is not a solution. It’s a way of managing your tilt problem by avoiding the situations that provoke it, or make it worse. You can’t solve your tilt problem from the rail.
That doesn’t mean you have to jump right in and challenge yourself to face a barrage of bad beats on a downswing and handle it like a grand mental master. Tilt control is a skill, and just like in poker you have to develop that skill over time. In essence you have to build “mental muscle” and the process of building that muscle is exactly the same as building real muscles in the gym.
This process in turn is exactly the same as building actual poker skill. You’re not just going to jump into playing $25/$50, because you’re crushing $2/$4 (though you may when on tilt). You wouldn’t do that because you’re not ready. Without the skill to beat high stakes games yet, you keep working hard on your game and making steady progress. With tilt control you have to think in the same way. Work your way up the ‘limits’ by acquiring the skills necessary to control tilt.
Far too often, players think that improvement in the mental game and with tilt specifically, should happen much more quickly. When something clicks, improvement can happen rapidly – just as when you have a big realisation or learn something that makes your poker game click. That’s rare. More frequently improving tilt requires sustained focus over a longer period of time.
Before I get to the strategy to help you move up the mental stakes, it’s important to define tilt.
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