Your opponent made a bad play and got lucky, or you made a great play and got unlucky. As a result, you lost a hand you should have won.
You’re angry. You want an explanation. You want your money back, and you want it back now.
You might be on tilt.
Every poker player will experience tilt, and how they deal with it might make or break their session.
Humans are emotional creatures, and not much makes them more emotional than winning or losing money. It’s even more difficult to handle losing when you feel entitled to the money that all of a sudden is not yours.
It is important not to let those bad beats affect the way you play. It’s already tough enough to make all the correct decisions when you are playing well. If you start chasing the money you lost you’re going to make bad decisions. The more bad decisions you make, the quicker you are going to lose your money.
There are other ways for someone to go on tilt. Maybe the table is discussing a sensitive topic such as politics. Maybe an opponent is hurling insults at you. Maybe an opponent is being loud or otherwise obnoxious. Maybe an opponent is holding up the game by playing extraordinarily slow.
One good way to stop your chip stack to be affected by your tilt is to walk away from the table. Spend that time calming down by yourself. Maybe someone not in the game is willing to listen to you vent. Maybe you can call someone.
If you’re playing online poker on sites like Bovada, BetOnline or Ignition you can click on the “sit out” button to take a break.
Whatever method you choose, you want to get those negative feelings out of your system. It is important that when you continue the game you are in a good mood. If you can’t get to that point, it’s not a bad idea to end your session and try again another day.
On the other end of the spectrum, recognizing when an opponent is on tilt can be beneficial to your game. If you know an opponent is in a bad mood for any reason, you can take advantage of that by playing more hands against them. You always have an edge if your opponent makes a mistake.
In a perfect world, you won’t be the tilted player others are trying to take advantage of, but poker is far from a perfect world. Eventually, you’re going to go on tilt. It is important to recognize it and react in a way that does not make you lose more money.