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Gaming Guru

David Newstead

Avoiding tilt at the tables

31 August 2010

Yup, you know what I'm talking about. You've felt it – we all have. Whether it's during poker, on the road, watching your football team consistently give the ball to the opposition, or at the casino tables, sometimes there's a rage, an impatience that drives us to make decisions against our better judgement. At best it may merely influence players to more take risks than they would normally. At its worse it can result in losing a poker tournament and missing the bubble, clearing out your budget and cause you to lose when you should have won.

Some people can control it better than others (normally those walking around with WSOP bracelets) but it's innate in all of us and it's known, largely in poker, as going tilt. Triggered by bad beats, a series of almost impossible outcomes going against you, other people at the tables – it can be anything really – but it will affect your game, whatever you're doing. The key is to recognise it building, stop, think and eventually work it out of your game completely. Easier said than done....

Common causes in me, as a casino player, are things like:
• Lowering my stake and then winning half what I would have
• Raising my stake and winning nothing
• Missing those even money bets again and again, e.g. red and black on roulette
• Getting greedy and gambling wins on video poker until I lose everything.
• The player next to me always getting great hands
• The player next to me being a total idiot...

I've realised these triggers the hard way – upping bet levels at the tables, changing my betting patterns and taking riskier bets to get back what I've lost – and have managed to control it some extent. The solution is nothing ground breaking, just those things casinos and the responsible gaming crowd have been extolling for years: take a break, don't chase losses and set limits.

As much as most players dislike the idea of limits and people telling us how we should play, these bits of advice are really very important. Just something as simple as taking a break helps; it puts things in perspective, the red mist drops and the urge to go back to the cash machine or back to the high stakes tables fades. It makes for a more controlled and enjoyable gambling experience and you can leave the casino with the calm that comes with control.

There are more protections in place online than there are for bricks and mortar casinos, and that's one reason why I play online more now. Generally all good online casinos have established protections, but find one that has taken the time and care to provide good advice and an interface to allow you to limit your play without having to contact support. One such outfit is Jackpot Games casino, where deposit limits can be set and further limits on wagering, losses and session time can be added too. For a new casino they've really have done their homework, both in terms of responsible gaming and also in other aspects of running a good online casino.

You can find them at my online casino review site and other brands that, in my opinion, have the best player friendly policies (without compromising on the quality of the gaming experience!). You can, of course, get more information on responsible gaming at, which, in my opinion, is one the best sites should you need a bit of advice.

Finally, have a happy , safe and great time wherever you chose to play.
Avoiding tilt at the tables is republished from