Talking Poker: Tilt

Talking Poker: Tilt 0001

Each week, the Talking Poker series will highlight a particular poker term. We’ll give you a clear, to-the-point definition of the term and an example of the strategic concept to which it refers, so that you can start using the term and implementing the related strategy into your game. This week we turn our attention to “tilt.”


The state of playing less well because of emotion, such as following a losing hand or during a downswing. Often characterized by looser, more aggressive play, although there are many forms of "tilt" which can negatively affect one's decision-making. 


"He wouldn't normally shove all in with {K-}{6-} in that situation, but he was on tilt after taking a bad beat a couple hands ago."

Strategic Considerations

There are many ways pros and experts suggest dealing with and managing poker tilt. Among the suggestions are to learn to be self-aware. Recognizing and accurately assessing when your play is being negatively affected because of emotion is the first the first step.

Players must learn how best to deal with tilt, whether it’s quitting a session, walking away from the table, using positive self-talk, or exercising meditation and breathing tactics. Professional mental game and poker psychology coaches also suggest digging deeper to find out why one tilts in the first place. 

Listen and Learn

To learn more about how to use deal with tilt, check out the ongoing series by poker author and coach Tommy Angelo called "Tilt for Beginners" in which he is tackling various tilt-related issues.

Also, check out my latest Strategy with Kristy podcast featuring poker psychology coach Aaron Steinberg addressing the misconception that becoming “emotionally dead” is the right way to deal with tilt. 

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