Tilt in poker

In general terms, tilt is an emotional state of the player caused by the winning or, more often, losing and it has a negative impact on his game.

What is tilt in poker?

Tilt is considered the greatest enemy of the poker player, which can lead to a big loss of money. This is a player’s morale according to which he is inclined to make wrong and unprofitable decisions, as well as make mistakes and get nervous.

In tilt, some players lose their entire bankroll, quit poker, or even get into debts.

The reasons of tilt

The following things can provoke tilt: large and/ or long-term loss, or a huge winning and/ or a winning streak. In other words – downstreak or upstreak, as well as significant winning or loss of money.

The winnings make the player fearless, and he started to fell himself an overly confident. Losses, in turn, make you doubt your skills and depress you. However, the result is the same in both cases – the poker player plays in an unusual style for him, makes a lot of mistakes and takes the decisions which he won’t make in a good state. 

Types of tilt

Mainly, there are two types of tilt:

  • Hidden
  • Explicit

It’s easy to notice an explicit tilt, as it manifests itself in the wrong decisions which the player makes at the table. For example, he can go all-in bluff against a “calling station” or the opponent with a strong hand. Having identified an explicit tilt in your play, you should immediately stop playing and put your all efforts to confront the emotionally unstable state that affects the decision making process.

Hidden tilt is less visible and due to this it can be even more dangerous. If you suspect that you went on tilt, you should take a break. You can ask your colleague, coach or other experienced poker player to watch your game from outside and assess the likelihood of tilt in order to finally dispel your fears or, vice versa, to confirm them and to take the necessary measures.

 Tilt in poker              

Jared Tendler, who is a well-known poker psychologist and author of the popular book “The Mental Game of Poker” in two volumes, identified 7 types of tilt, depending on the causes of its occurrence its: 

  1. Injustice. Tilt that is caused by the assumption that you have bad luck more than anyone else. Supposedly, you constantly face a bad beat while other players who are much weaker than you win only because of luck. As a rule, such tilt occurs in the period of protracted downstreak. Almost every player faces this type of tilt in his career.
  2. Hatred of losing. Some players are some mighty sore losers. Any tangible loss makes them aggressive and irritable. Of course, everyone wants to win and there is nothing wrong with it. But the only problem is how some players cope with the loss. This is a rather destructive type of tilt that cannot be ignored.
  3. Mistakes. There are no perfect poker players, everyone makes mistakes. However, some players can cope with this fact, and the other ones tend to go on so-called "tilt of mistake". Such players are mad at themself and often run the scenarios of lost hands over in their heads and think that they were able to play better. They forget that it’s worth focusing on the reason of mistake, rather than on mistake they made. It’s needed to combat a problem radically.
  4. The rights. The players are exposed to this type of tilt if they think they deserve a victory more than others, but this doesn’t happen. They are confident that they work harder than others and they are annoyed when they don’t win more. Due to narcissism, many don’t recognize this type of tilt.
  5. Revenge. Sometimes the player starts to go on tilt due to the desire for revenge. His goal is not to win, but to get back at a specific player. As a result, the player stops think straight and he makes unfavorable decisions for him.
  6. Repeated failures. This type of tilt is caused by the protracted downstreak, and sometimes by the series of setbacks which pursue the player during one session. If the situation doesn’t change day by day, then the poker player goes on tilt more and more and he loses a lot of money. In most cases, it’s worth taking a break in order to overcome the tilt of repeated failures.
  7. Despair. It is the most destructive type of tilt when the player goes to extreme measures for the sake of victory. He desperately tries to win back and hopes to get lucky at the higher stakes, by playing the long sessions and trying his hand in other types of poker. This also includes the stage of tilt where the poker player goes to the casino in order to win his money back and he considers this method an easier way to make a profit.

The last two types of tilt are formed due to the reinforcement of other types.

Tilt due to the loss

In order to overcome tilt, it’s important to first understand the root of the problem, determine the type of tilt and find a strategy for combating it.

Tilt resistance

Each player is subject to tilt in different degrees. Someone starts to get nervous after losing one or two serious hands and this makes him depressed, and someone can even withstand the prolonged downstreaks and losing of big amounts, by maintaining the soberness of mind and sanity of thought.

The ability of player to resist tilt and cope with emotions in poker is commonly referred to as “tilt resistance”. The higher tilt resistance is, the less often the player is exposed to tilt and the faster he is able to overcome it.  

Many different factors influence the player’s tilt resistance: human temperament, self-control, experience in poker, state of health and etc.

Anyone can improve tilt resistance and learn how to cope with tilt. In order to do this, it is necessary to devote enough time and attention to this matter.

Tilt resistance

Tilt breaker

Special programs such as Tilt Breaker app at Holdem Manager will help you to avoid losses during tilt. The essence of soft is that it automatically removes you from all the tables when you lose a certain amount, it doesn’t allow you to play at the tables with limits and types of poker which you blocked. It blocks pop-up of the poker rooms, and also analyzes the history of played hands and determines the moments of the lowest effectiveness.

The system is not perfect. The program isn’t able to calculate the negative and unusual decisions for you in order to prevent tilt, but it will help to stop at the right moment and avoid even greater losses.

Related materials:

What does tilt mean in poker? A lot of articles and books are devoted to tilt.

In our library you can find and download such famous poker books as: “The Mental Game of Poker” and “The Mental Game of Poker 2” by Jared Tendler, "Your Worst Poker Enemy", "Your Best Poker Friend" and “The Psychology of Poker” by Alan Schoonmaker, “The Poker Mindset: Essential Attitudes for Poker Success” by Ian Taylor.

The other authors of poker books also paid attention to tilt. You can find the sections devoted to this topic even in the literature about poker mathematics and theory.

The concept of the term “tilt” is often used in e-sports.

The synonyms of the word “tilt”

Stress, depression, nervous state, emotional breakdown.

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