A poker player’s worst enemy is very often himself, not the other people at the table. Aside from poor poker strategy, a player is his own worst enemy when he lets emotions guide his decisions. The poker player is then said to be ‘on tilt’.
What does being on tilt mean?
Tilt is a state of mind that is feared by both new and experienced players for very good reasons. It usually occurs when a player repeatedly gets his premium holdings beaten by some dude who plays almost anything and always seems to get lucky. In frustration over his ridiculously unfair bad luck the player starts to play badly. Tilting also occurs when a player is tired or bored because he never gets any playable hands, or when some real life problem makes him astray. There are many factors which can be a cause of tilt in online poker.
The effects of tilt can cause various problems on the affected player. He may fold good hands just because he knows that he will be outdrawn anyway. He may play overly aggressive and try the most unlikely bluffs to win a pot. He might play starting hands that he normally would have folded without a thought. Whatever it is that the tilt causes the player to do it will definitely cost money. Even just a few hours of serious tilting can eat up the earnings from many days at the tables – and minutes at the online poker tables!
I’m not stupid so I won’t throw my money away!
You may think: “I’m smart and have a good portion of self control, I won’t be so stupid that I let my emotions take control over my play.” Yes you will! Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but sooner or later a series of losses will make you mad and you this will affect your decisions negatively. And this will cost you. And it will happen more than once. You have been warned!
That is some bad news, huh? Well, the good news is that since you know about this problem you can be prepared and therefore avoid any heavier losses caused by the dreaded tilt. You now know how important it is to control your temper at the table and by training this skill you’ll gradually be better at avoiding tilt, or at least identifying it earlier and quiting a session when you can see it’s negatively affecting your game.
Also, you now know that when you get that feeling of murderous rage after losing a pot that “should have been yours” the best thing to do, unless you can calm down quickly, is to stop playing immediately and come back some other time. Don’t play when you lose the most and enjoy it the least. Don’t play when you’re on tilt – and if you can do this then you’ll be streets ahead of the competition, because tilt is the biggest profit killer among online poker players.