Set winning limits, and set loss limits. Lots of people disagree with this, and some pros too. The motto on the professional world (at least from what I read in "SuperSystem") is: if the game is good, stay, regardless of whether you are winning or losing.
But I tend to think beginners like me don't yet have the mental capacity that they have, after being sucked out on tons of hands, to simply hold tilt off and play as usual. Basically, for us, when something goes wrong, even if the game was perfectly awesome otherwise, it goes down the drain.
So, first recommendation is setting good winning or losing values. For example, for a 1-hour session, you can say "I want to win $5" or "I don't want to lose any more than 2BIs". Then, once you win $5 or you you lose 2 BIs, you jump out of the table. If you keep playing, you're magnifying the tilt effect.
For example, just 30 minutes I was playing NL2 and had a $8 stack, the biggest I have ever had in NL2 (and I was going against my own advice here since I usually quit at $5, but lets ignore that for now :P). Suddenly I get TT in a AT8 flop. Awesome. I couldn't have asked for more. At this moment there are 2 people in the hand, me, and a reg player with a $10 stack. I make a huge bet, he calls. Turn comes J. We both shove
. I ended up winning (he had AJ) and left the table right after, but imagine how he felt, winning 5x the maximum buy-in and then losing it all like this. I kept finding him multiple times afterwards (we were in Rush Poker), and every time I saw him he had a smaller stack.
It hurts pretty bad to have that much stack and losing it, but that's because he couldn't quit while he was ahead. Same thing happens when you're behind. If you already lost 2-3 BIs, you're only magnifying the tilt by keep playing. Then you'll beat yourself over "Damn, I could have only lost 2 BIs, now I lost 5!!! Why am I so [insert self-pity insult]?!?!".
Second recommendation is taking a break. Every time you have a bad beat or a cooler. Take a small break and do something physical for 30 minutes-1 hour. I'd recommend a full body workout or a jog. Then, when you come back, and you're still thinking about that hand, call it a day or two, and on those 2 days don't think about poker at all. Better yet, do think about poker and read theory
. When you're on tilt is the best time to think "Damn, I'll show these fishes. I'm really gonna get them now. Let me just get my theory straight and when it's my time to shine, I'll crush them into dust".
Final tip, once you think your tilt has gone away review hand history
. Post the hand that made you tilt here on the forums. We'll see if it was really luck or if you could have played better. Maybe you chased a draw with bad odds
? Or maybe you didn't bet and gave your opponent a cheap way to beat you? There are plenty of people here able to give you those answers.
Good luck at the tables