Tilting Is The Number One Cause Of Damaged Poker Bankrolls
– Find Out About The Many Faces Of Poker Tilt Here.
Most people associate Poker Tilt with the angry reaction to a bad-beat, causing you to ‘steam off’ piles of chips. While this can happen, the more experienced poker players are aware that Tilt can come in many forms and guises – and that many of the less obvious forms are just as dangerous as the one mentioned above.
This article will help you to track, manage and ultimately avoid the main forms of tilt – by making you aware of them and their destructive influence on your poker game. We start by introducing the 3 main types of tilt – noting that these could be broken down even further. Next we cover the importance of a Tilt Management Plan. Finally the double-identity method of managing Tilt is introduced.
Poker Tilt – The 3 Types Of Poker Tilt
- Angry Tilt: This form sees you become increasingly angry and frustrated as losses mount, only to be tipped over the edge by a bad-beat. Red mist descends and turns you from a rational and winning player into a monster determined to spread chips to all of your opponents, usually by over-betting or making bluffs which – when analyzed in the cold light of day – had very little chance of working.
- Frustrated Tilt: Every time you raise with kings, 3 people call you and an ace flops. Each time you flop an over-pair a flush is possible on the river, and each time you flop a flush the board pairs… frustration grows and grows and your play inevitably suffers. This is closely related to angry tilting but distinct in that the feeling is one of tension instead of anger. You may play too passively, refusing to give up pots when the situation suggests you should fold early. You may play too aggressively against an opponent who took chips from you earlier in order to ‘get even’. Feeling frustrated is a bad starting point in any poker game and will invariably cloud your decision making processes.
- Despondent Tilt: Every time you get your money in you lose, every time you get a pair someone has a higher one, someone always gets lucky when you are close to the bubble… in fact what you do does not matter – because you are bound to lose anyway. This is the line of thinking caused by despondent tilt, this occurs when you have mentally resigned yourself to losing – and is actually hugely dangerous. It is a primary cause of passive play and can quickly lead to a self-fulfilling prophesy… you expect to lose at the same time as giving free cards to opponents, and so end up losing another pot – and so on.
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Setting Up Your Tilt Management Plan
Even the best players are not immune from the effects of Tilt. What the most profitable poker players do better than the rest is to spot and then manage their emotional reactions to the game effectively. Setting up a Tilt Management Plan need not be complicated, it simply involves putting a process into place to identify tilt and then having the discipline to quickly act on this when you do spot it creeping into your game.
For example, having a self-check every 30 minutes of play can be as easy as asking yourself whether there are any feelings of frustration, revenge, anger or despondency creeping into your game. If the answer is ‘yes’ then you can act on this depending on the perceived severity.
- Anger: Sit out and walk away from your computer immediately where possible, for tournament players who can not walk away try playing only premium hands for the next 2 rounds. Ensure that you stay away long enough to rationalize the cause(s) of your tilt and consider the long-term profitability of the game.
- Frustration / Revenge: Again walking away from your computer for 10 minutes is usually the best cure. If this feeling of frustration has slowly built up over several sessions then this may not be enough. Longer breaks are one solution, however spending some time re-tooling your game or even dropping down levels for a while to where the cash spent is less important can also be helpful.
- Despondency: This can be the hardest to spot and also the most difficult to plan for. Telling yourself that you will win next time often only lasts until the next lost pot. With this type of tilt a change of scene is usually required – a fresh start to put you back on a winning path once again. Playing through despondent tilt is hugely damaging – make sure you do not suffer these effects.
Managing Poker Tilt – The Double Identity Method
Tilt can be doubly dangerous playing poker online, since it is very easy to lose money quickly – for example by joining a high-stakes table. One of our favorite ways of managing tilt is actually to keep a second, separate identity at a different poker site to the one we are used to playing.
If you become angry or frustrated with ‘Player A’ at one site, simply becoming ‘Player B’ somewhere else completely can seem like a fresh start. This enables you to psychologically associate the bad feelings with one online identity – allowing you to de-personalize any disputes and get on with making the best poker decisions possible with your new identity. We still recommend that 10 minute break between games though - see our Best Poker Sites section for reviews and comparisons of the leading sites!