When I am winning, I tend to play correct hands and fold weak ones. But when I am starting to lose a little or even stay even for some time, I tend to play very weak hands and accordingly lose even more. Is this common? How do you freshen youself when you find yourself playing terrible hands?

  • 2
    The answers below which deal with tilt are helpful, but I'll add this as a comment because I think this pdf from Jared Tendler does a good job of breaking down the main types of tilt you might experience and showing some suggestions on how to counteract the effects of tilt. jaredtendlerpoker.com/wp-content/uploads/7-Types-of-Tilt.pdf Feb 1, 2016 at 16:34
  • @ChrisFarmer Nice infographic, but I think it misses one or two types of tilt that I have experienced: one being the frustration that occurs when you play a hand perfectly only to wind up with a chop, and the other being when you keep throwing away less than premium hands that wind up flopping the nuts.
    – user1934
    Feb 1, 2016 at 20:44
  • Don't forget flop lag, where the hole cards you had the previous hand get hit hard by the flop on the current hand! Feb 1, 2016 at 21:45
  • @Michael I usually convince myself that I did the right thing folding those in the long run.
    – khajvah
    Feb 2, 2016 at 2:29

3 Answers 3


Not sure this is an appropriate question here. If so I will delete.

It even has a name : tilt

Even very good players will go on tilt. You just have to step away from the table. The table is not going to try and calm you down. One of the most famous tilts is the Matusow meltdown.

Not just playing too many hands but then hanging on all the way with bottom pair. Or worse yet have medium hand like top pair and getting blown off the hand with just a 1/2 pot size bluff. A good player will absolutely abuse a player on tilt.

Depending on the format you can take a break. If you hold a seat you will still rotate to the blinds. In a tournament you may miss a hand where you drew pocket aces. Understand you may need to leave the table but optimally learn to control your play AT the table. If you fold in early position you can probably get a short break without missing a hand. In a cash game maybe just plain go home.

Have a list of TIGHT hands you are going to play from specific positions or just walk away from the table and come back another day. Don't easily fold with a medium hand - people may enter with air just to play you.

Not really the question but a name for a poor player is fish. Phil Gordon has this story of another player was telling the fish how bad he was playing and Phil Gordon said don't tap on the fish tank.

  • Yeah, it's infuriating when people yell at other players for their poor play. The last thing you want to do is make someone think more about their play, or even worse to make them leave the table. You should be chatting these guys up and having a good time. Feb 1, 2016 at 19:24

This is very common. Tilt is a good phrase to describe it in the extreme. However, it is always present to some degree with all players. It is caused by boredom, distraction, the need for speed and a million other things.

How any player handles it determines to a very basic degree their ultimate potential for success with the game of poker, and really with all the games of life.

Getting over tilt, is a short term fix, getting the negative out of your game that it is a long term thing, that requires lots of attention.


The absolute best thing I have found to work if you go on tilt is just stand up and go take a 5 minute break. Grab a drink, take a few breaths, go for a small walk and move on. Whatever made you go on tilt has happened, you can't change what happened so don't dwell on it.

I know it can be hard to do but don't think of the money your playing with as $,€ or £, think of it as a buy-in. The idea here is to detach yourself from the value of the money. Most times people go on tilt is because they feel they have lost money and want to get back to that figure they had previously, if you find this is you try to not care much about the value or the chips. If the sum of money is very meaningful to you, you shouldn't be playing with it.

Obviously if you're getting tilted because you felt you played badly and nothing to do with the chips then that is different. Write the hand down in a notebook and learn from it, but don't berate yourself. Your mistakes are your best learning resources.

If you listen to music change to a song you really enjoy, that just makes you happy or upbeat. Likewise go watch a quick video, on your phone if you can, of something you enjoy that will bring you back to a positive mind.

There is really an endless amount of suggestions anyone could throw here, and what works for me might be awful for you. The best advice for you, if you really let tilt effect you is to just get up and take a walk.


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