Autopilot Poker: A Danger or is it OK?

autopilot poker

It doesn’t matter if you’re a part-time poker professional or Daniel Negreanu, everyone slips into autopilot at some time in their poker journey. It can cause you to become exploitable by observant opponents and ultimately harm your overall win-rate but there are some advantages to it too.  

In this article we’re going to introduce you to what autopilot is, what causes it, provide some helpful tips to avoid it but also explain why it’s not necessarily that bad for some players.

What is Autopilot in poker?

Playing on auto-pilot is where you’re not properly thinking decisions through. You’re likely playing a robotic, standard and potentially predictable game.

What causes us to autopilot?

Autopiloting is a sign you’ve been playing too much and possibly risking burn out. This is when players are mentally exhausted and need to stop. You may even be winning but it doesn’t mean you’re playing well. Players have been known to win on auto-pilot just because the opposition was so bad.

Autopilot sometimes manifests after endless grinding. It isn’t exclusive to poker either, happening in casino games so switch it up with casinoonlinein list of casinos. Autopiloting is symptom of someone who is in their rhythm and a plays lot of hours on a daily basis. It is prevalent among players who are seasoned and experienced but perhaps stagnating. It’s easier to autopilot when we are comfortable in the games we’re in. It’s less likely to happen when we are struggling already or challenged by tougher opponents.

Tips to avoid autopilot

Unfortunately, autopilot is just another aspect to playing poker regularly. If you win consistently, play lots of hours and at ease in the games you play, you’re always at risk of playing on auto-pilot. We can agree it’s not a desirable state though and there are some things you can do to help avoid it happening to you. Below are a couple of tips we hope you find useful.

Verbalize your decision-making

One way to stay attentive and on point is to speak out loud. We have found this certainly helps players make better decisions at the table. By speaking to yourself, you force yourself to think carefully about the action you’re taking and why.

Don’t worry about sounding crazy talking to yourself, geniuses talk to themselves and they don’t get paid to, like you will!

Mix your game up

Sometimes we get too comfortable playing our game that we don’t want to change our style of play. However, most experts affirm that some unpredictability can be your friend. Therefore, mix it up from time to time or play LAG poker. It will keep the stronger players on guard and may enhance your table image. Playing on autopilot is likely to get you tagged by other regulars so you may lose action on bigger hands.

Mixing in some unpredictable moves will keep you from getting a nit tag from regulars. Those weird moves will keep you getting paid in the future. If you want to learn some creative bluffs, check out our bluffing course.

mix your game up

Why poker on autopilot isn’t all “bad”

This article has mostly dealt with the negative aspects of playing on auto pilot. But it’s not all bad, particularly if you play micro stakes. For those of you who grind micro stakes cash games, playing a decent game albeit on autopilot is still likely to earn you money.

Playing on auto-pilot implies you’ll probably not make any huge errors too. Remember, auto-piloting is just coasting along. Pilots in the sky use it with fine precision. They don’t need tricky manoeuvres at that stage and you can argue this is true for the lowest stakes games around (NL $10 and below). Playing a solid tight aggressive strategy, even on autopilot can be enough to win regularly on soft poker sites.

As you can see, it’s not all bad. But if you’re struggling with autopilot, we’d be glad to have a chat with you. Fill in the form below and we’ll be in touch.

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Narciso Baldo is the Director and Head Coach of Texas Hold'em Questions. He has been playing poker for over 16 years. After spending many years as a professional, he now runs UK poker training site Texas Hold'em Questions. Narciso regularly writes poker articles sharing tips, strategy, news and experience with gambling enthusiasts. Narciso also writes for reputable gambling portal Casino City Times, (bio here). Contact: