What is tilt?

By | March 15, 2014


Tilt is any occasion when you are not playing your ‘A’ game. The most typical cause of tilt is when you suffer one or several bad beats. However there are many other causes including being tired, emotional, tired and emotional, or even dizzy due to success.

The last point is often under-rated. We all know stories of players who have gone on a big downswing after taking a few cruel beats. But what about the player who has some success, believes they have now mastered the game, and starts playing way out of their depth? For a fictional but powerful example of this, look no further than Mike McDermot’s Hero in the classic film ‘Rounders’. Mike blows his bankroll to Teddy KGB after managing to get the best of world champion Johnny Chan in a high stakes casino game.

It is often said that taking a few knocks in one’s poker career is an important defence against tilt, since it teaches you what a cruel game poker can be. However, Matthew Hilger, amongst others, has argued that this may not be enough to protect many players, since recent results usually have the most powerful influence on the psyche. This is referred to as ‘recency.’

I can guarantee to you that every player has at some stage experienced and suffered from tilt. The best players however almost invariably know how to handle tilt and minimise its impact.

Consequences of tilt

Here are some of the bad things that can happen when you tilt:

  • Play too many hands;
  • Don’t pay enough regard to position;
  • Reluctant to fold trouble hands;
  • Play too aggressively;
  • Open too many tables;
  • Play too long; and
  • Step up a limit/ play beyond your bankroll.
  • In short you are no longer playing your ‘A’ game. In fact you may be playing your C, D or even E game. This is likely to be expensive.

This is an extract from Omaha 8 or Better: Winning at Hi-Low Poker

Next time: How to handle tilt

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Andy 'IggyPop77' Mack

About Andy 'IggyPop77' Mack

Andy's first love was chess. Three times a competitor in the British Championships, he has played regularly at international level, achieving the rank of FIDE Master. On a fateful day in 2007 Andy visited Las Vegas for the first time. Since that point, his attention has switched from chess to poker. Initially focusing on Hold'em, Andy has branched out, and has been working hard over the past couple of years to perfect his Omaha 8 game. He also plays all the other variants of the 8 Game. Away from poker, Andy's hero is rock star Iggy Pop. Andy claims to love Iggy's wild man image, although even his best friends would find it hard to compare Andy's solid poker style with that of the Godfather of Punk.