A lot of the people that know me know that I have some serious tilt issues. Theyâ€™ve cost me a lot of money, a lot of volume and a lot of different objects that have been known to go flying through my room from time to time. It has also cost me a couple of walls, with some nice holes in them.
To me, tilt is like a creeping monster that sneaks up behind me and kind of breathes down my neck. It doesnâ€™t just happen, itâ€™s something that happens over time. I guess you could say itâ€™s like slow working poison, where you first get infected and you feel fine. As the poison starts running through your veins, it starts clouding your judgment. Itâ€™s not like if someone suddenly fronts you and goes like â€œFUCK YOU, MOTHERFUCKERâ€ and pushes you in the chest. Most people would respond to this situation in a fight-or-flight manner, because the animalistic brain interprets this as a threat to their survival. Tilt is a lot more like some guy who builds trust with you and you think heâ€™s all cool (and maybe even one of your best friends) until you suddenly find out that this guy has betrayed you â€“ maybe he stabs you in the back? He still threatens your survival, but not as obviously as the guy who fronts you. Tilt threatens your survival, but not in the same way as having a measle pair of kings in the face of aces. You donâ€™t snap into tilt, you sink into it.
The most common example of people tilting is when theyâ€™re running bad. Most people are able to take a couple of beats, say someone starts their session off by losing with KK to QQ and AK to AQ all-in pre-flop. Now weâ€™re at the point of tilt. The player may continue to play good, winning poker, but as time goes, most players dwell by these results. If they now take even the slightest beat, or run into the top of someoneâ€™s range with the top of their own range and lose, you can be pretty damn sure that hell is going to be unleashed. In the simplest forms of poker lingo, tilt is the direct cause of being results oriented. Tilt is caused by variance, and variance is insanely brutal. Dealing with variance is like being a fighter going into the ring. Itâ€™s you and your opponent, and youâ€™re fighting each other. Variance is only the blows dealt between you. The better you are, the less youâ€™re going to be beat up, but invariably, you will get smacked the fuck down some times. Even the greatest fighters lose fights some times (durrrr vs. isildur1 is a recent example). Therefore, being in control of your tilt is the ability to keep your cool while taking a beating. You can desensitize yourself to variance, but youâ€™re never completely cured from tilt. Your skin is just thicker, and youâ€™re able to take more punches than before.
A pretty good fighter
Iâ€™ve been through books like Elements of Poker by Tommy Angelo and The Poker Mindset by Matthew Hilger, and Iâ€™ve also been through Joe Tallâ€™s â€œTiltersâ€™ Anonymousâ€ program, as well as the â€œEightfold Path to Poker Enlightenmentâ€ series here on DeucesCracked, by Tommy Angelo and Wayne Lively. I have learned a lot of stuff about tilt and how to think as a poker player outside of the strategic aspect of the game, but I have eventually realized that tilt is something that needs to be cured away from the table. Thereâ€™s a lot of talk about â€œexercisesâ€ that you can do to â€œplay your a-gameâ€, but exercises can only do so much. Those who cure their tilt by doing exercises alone are, in my opinion, only mild cases of tilters. Their only problem is that theyâ€™re not in the right mindset when they sit down to play. In fact, I imagine that most people who are reading this, and who think they have an issue with tilt, donâ€™t really have it too bad. This is because I imagine that most people who are reading this post are winning players, and no winning players can be insanely prone to tilt unless theyâ€™re extremely good on their best or have been extremely lucky in their past.
Tilt monkey imo. Probably extremely lucky as well.
Tilt is a mental thing, and itâ€™s not something your logical brain can fix just by using positive affirmations or by someone telling you not to be results oriented. Itâ€™s a process that has to be internalized through changing your entire outlook on life. Most poker players I know have a completely fucked up view on life, and I am too included in this group some times. As I walk the path towards tiltlessness, I will be writing about my thoughts on the matter. If I ever feel like I have cured my tilt, or come as close as I can possibly come to it, Iâ€™ll write a book about it.
If anyoneâ€™s currently struggling with tilt, I recommend checking out the stuff previously mentioned. But before you even do that, I recommend everyone to read the book â€œThe Power of Nowâ€ by Eckhart Tolle. I actually think Tolle is onto something in his theories, and I felt myself changing as a person while (and after) reading his book. As I was reading it, I also realized that the concepts that he introduces in the book are applicable to poker. So if youâ€™re struggling with tilt, you should read â€œThe Power of Nowâ€. It will instantly help your situation. That, I promise you.
And of course, no offense to Joe Tall, I love that man. <3