Sunday, May 29, 2005

The trouble with Tilt

Tilting is the worst feeling in the world. It is even worse when you know you are doing it, and still can't stop. You are trying to play, but you are distracted. You are getting cold cards and call with J6 suited, as it is the best hand you've seen in 20 minutes.

I think that Tilt is worse online that in live games. It only makes sense. You get yourself into a state, and it takes your mind a while to "switch gears" and move out of that state. In a live game, if this takes a half an hour, you may see 15 hands, depending on the dealer. Online, especially with the ability to see multiple tables, you could see 60 hands or more. The difference can make a huge dent in your bankroll.

When you tilt, you play cards that you wouldn't normally play. You start to think "This guy has been pushing me around all night. It is time ot push back." That attitude along with a couple of coin flip losses (usually with cards you wouldn't normally play) start to spiral you out of control. I know. I just got off a major tilt. Luckily, I have been keeping myself at the low limits, and it only took about $40 off my bankroll. So it's not a killer in any sense, but it still stinks.

So, here is my thoughts on how to notice you are in the death spiral:

1. You start to think other people are pushing you around. And you know what, you are probably right. People can tell when someone is playing badly. You start to play Q10 offsuit and calling to the river, people are going to notice and take shots at you. This just makes it worse, when they start calling with junk and beating you. You forget. You are playing junk, too. So stop it. Fold on the flop when you don't hit. Tighten up your game for a good hour, or just walk away. Go watch TV, play with the kids, play with the dog, go for a walk. I just had to go out and mow the yard (yeah, it needed it anyway) before I made it worse.

2. You make maniac plays. You've been watching Gus Hansen play his 85 offsuit on the WPT and think, "It works for him, I should be able to do that." Well, there's a problem. People know that Gus is a maniac and expect him to play any two cards at any one time. Unless you are as famous as he is, that's not going to work for you. Pushing all-in when you are on tilt with junk is a horribly bad decision. Stop yourself. It takes a lot of self-control. I've been there, too. Trust me. Don't do it.

3. Your patience is gone. This one sentence pretty much sums up what Tilt is all about. Poker is about patience, waiting, watching, gathering information to use later. You start to tilt and the patience is gone. You want to win, and win now. Everyone has the fantasy of making fast, easy money. You see it all over on TV now (even the Speed Channel has a poker game? What?!?!) and think that you should be playing at that level. The problem is, you didn't see these guys on TV when they were starting out, making mistakes, and learning. You didn't see them tilting when they were building their bankroll and reputation. And very rarely do you see guys tilting on TV (other than the Mouth, but that's more of an act). These guys have learned to sit and grind out 10+ hours a day. They know that patience is all that it takes to turn a bad session into a winner. They have the self control to recognize their tilt, study it, and set it aside. I just wish I was there.

So that's my ravings for the day. Hopefully, someone will learn something. Being so new to poker, I am still in the learning stage and trying my best to pass on the thoughts.

Now, time for some deep breaths. And back into the game.......


At 11:10 AM, Blogger maybedinero said...

Did you see Johnny Vegas tilt on UK Celebrity Poker? Classic.

At 4:51 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Nice post. Thanks for linking to my site, by the way. Maybe you could drop me an email or comment and let me know how you found me? Thanks.

At 6:12 PM, Blogger IlliniFan97 said...

Thanks for the comment. I do enjoy your blog, and am interested in hearing the final outcome of the Limit Challenge. I'll head over there in a few days with some words of encouragement (and it sounds like you may need some!) : )

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