On Tilt: A Frequent and Massive Part of Poker’s Appeal

Here’s the latest poker blog from the team at bet365poker. Thought I’d share it. Check out bet365 if you’re looking for a fun, safe site to either swim with the fish or build your bankroll. No B.S poker. (More info in a detailed bet365 Poker Room Review here)

On Tilt

On TiltPutting another player ‘on tilt’ is probably the single most effective way of improving your EV at the table. By the same token, if you cannot recognise the symptoms of tilt in yourself, you will severely hinder your chances of scooping the pots.

Being ‘On Tilt’ disturbs the mental balance that is essential for sound judgements during the game and usually results in the affected individual becoming too aggressive. It is not always caused by the actions of other players but when it is, it can be particularly hard to shake.

Consider the following scenario:

You are playing in a low level NL game at Vegas. You have played steadily all night but are yet to see a profit. You are on the button, you look at your hole cards and see AA.

A drunken loudmouth, who has been winning all night, decides to push all of his chips into the middle.

You smile, call and surrender yourself to a higher power.

After he reveals his KK, you smugly turn over your little beauties.

He laughs and says, ‘Tough luck pal, this one’s mine. I can feel it in the whiskers of my beard. You’ll wish your mama had had a headache all those years ago.’

The flop makes no difference.

The turn brings a king.

The opponent cackles and orders beers all round.

He breathes beer in your face.

‘You’ll get me next time, son.’

You hope for a miracle on the river.

You get the 3 of clubs.

You are now on tilt.

How could you not be?

It is also going to last for some time and is highly likely to cost you money.

It is possible there are some players reading this and scoffing with derision. They believe they don’t tilt.

For them, we have one question:

do you ever feel pleased when you win a massive pot?

If the answer is yes, then you also go on tilt.

If you experience emotion one way, then you also experience its opposite.

Tilt can be managed, even minimised, but it is naive to think it can be eliminated.

In the example above, the best thing for you to do is to change the environment for a while. Staying in the same pressure zone will cause the metaphorical steam so beloved of animators to blow out of your ears.

Consider this:

Have you ever felt the urge to take a gift from an ex, drive to the train tracks, pump out some NWA and take baseball bats to the item?   (Thanks to a source for that one).


Well, try it, it is awesome – but it is that very same destructive urge that overwhelms your senses when you are on tilt.

You want to take the guy down.

It is not about the money, it is about justice.

But poker isn’t about justice. It is about survival of the fittest.

As much as you may be the fitter player under normal circumstances, as soon as you draw a mental ‘Wanted’ poster of your opponent, you have surrendered the advantage.

Go for a walk, preferably outside and away from the casino. Eat something. Drink something non-alcoholic. Let the emotions subside.

They probably won’t dissolve but you should aim to return focused on stacks and not scalps.

Acknowledge that tilt is frequent and a massive part of poker’s appeal. It will affect everyone at the table at some stage.

All you have to do is be its cause, not its victim.


bet365_90x60UKNow put that into practice and play poker online. Check out bet365 Poker.

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