Seven Types of Tilt - by Jared Tendler, MS.
Last time I talked about why it was important to have a solid definition of tilt, as well as understanding the nuances of your own tilt in the Tilt Profile.
To better help you understand the details of your own tilt, and in particular to help you complete your own Tilt Profile, I have identified seven core types of tilt. Although everybody tilts in different ways for different reasons, I am yet to find a form of tilt which does not fit into one (or more) of these seven types. Knowing which type of tilt you have is important because it gives you a greater chance of actually solving your tilt problem for good.
Be warned, it's possible that when reading about each one you might actually think you're suffering from all of them! They're so common, this happens quite often. Really try and narrow down and focus on the ones which sound the most familiar or cause the biggest problem in your game.
Have you ever thought you were unluckier than everyone else? Does poker seem incredibly unfair and you just run worse than most? Do you find yourself volunteering bad beat story upon bad beat story to anyone who will listen? Do you ever get jealous of other players and feel they are luckier than most?
Injustice Tilt is the tilt that is created when you believe you run so bad that it is unfair. You believe your luck is worse than the math suggests is possible. It's so common for players to get angry in this way after a sustained period of running bad that for a long time this type of tilt was just thought to be part of the game. While it is very common, not all players tilt when they run bad, nor do they think the game is unfair. If you find yourself bemoaning bad luck a little too often, even when you are currently winning overall, and your friends have even started making fun of you because of how many bad beat stories you tell, you probably have Injustice Tilt.
A form of tilt found in highly competitive people who simple hate losing. Wanting to win is not the problem, it is how you handle the losses. You are not supposed to like losing, of course, and I defy anyone to feel good after incurring heavy losses. But if you find yourself reacting badly to even the smallest of losses, to the point that you end up playing significantly worse as a result, you probably have this form of tilt. If losing even a small pot on an otherwise good session, or having one losing session on an otherwise winning month, sends you over the edge, you have Hate-Losing Tilt. This type of tilt is so destructive because a severe reaction to losing, inevitably leads to more losing, which only makes the tilt even worse.
Do you berate yourself after you make an error, even a small one? If you make a bad call on the river, or miss out on a value bet , does it make you angry? Do you find yourself making 'obvious errors' or realising the right way to have played the hand immediately after? Mistake Tilt is generally pretty easy to spot, once you start looking for it. But what players don't often know is that Mistake Tilt exists simply because you have unrealistic assumptions about the learning process, and believe it's possible not to make mistakes in the first place. Or, you're making very obvious mistakes and focus only on the mistake itself and not the reason why
you made it.
Do you think you deserve
to win more than someone else? Do you think because you work harder than the other regs in your game, you should win more and it pisses you off when you don't? Do you get really angry when a fish beats you in a pot, because you don't think they deserve win? Do you find yourself lecturing players in the chatbox about the mistakes you see them making? Entitlement Tilt is a form of tilt most players don't like to admit they have, but it is one of the most common, so really dig deep and look for it. Even if you don't feel entitled in a dramatic way—as Phil Hellmuth often shows—you can still have small versions of it that create a big problem for your game.
This is where tilt starts to get personal. Do you struggle in high pressure pots against other regulars? Do you find yourself reacting badly in the face of intense aggression? Do you not like the idea of an opponent thinking they are better than you? Even worse, do you find yourself targeting players who you believe have done you wrong? If you lose a big pot to a regular, do you specifically try and win it back off him instead of concentrating on the rest of the table? If you get hit and run playing HU, do you hunt this player down trying to get another shot to win your money back? Revenge is common in all walks of life, so it's not surprising that it would be present in poker. However, it many surprise some of you who are typically more mild mannered and don't typically seek vengeance outside of poker.
Running Bad Tilt:
The tilt you experience when running bad for a sustained period is not a unique type of tilt. Do not confuse this with Injustice Tilt, which is a general belief you are unlucky. Running Bad Tilt happens because all of the tilt inducing things—injustice, losing, mistakes, entitlement, and revenge—happen so frequently in such a short period of time that your mind can't handle it. Normally, a couple bad beats here or there don't really bother you, but when they accumulate more and more each day eventually you can't take anymore and tilt. Plus, if you tilted in your last session, some of it will carry over to the next day, so less tilt inducing things need to happen before you tilt again. This accumulation will keep building and building each day, until you eventually can't take it anymore and take a break from the game.
Ultimately the way to cure Running Bad Tilt is by curing the other forms of tilt it exposes, but during Running Bad Tilt you need to be aware of this compounding effect it has, and may need to work harder on it or take breaks.
This is the most destructive form of tilt and like Running Bad Tilt, it is an exaggerated form of another tilt. As the name suggests, Desperation Tilt is the type of tilt that happens when you start taking extreme measures to win. This is when the urge to get your money back is so strong that you do things like play higher stakes, play for much longer, play too many pots, gamble or even start playing casino games in the hopes of getting lucky. Desperation Tilt is the type of tilt that often leads player to uncontrollably bust their bankroll and as a result, if you have it, you need to make sure that you can develop a strategy that can allow you to gain control. Even if that means seeking out professional help when the issue is so severe.
In a future post I will detail how to take what you have learned and use it to start making real progress towards solving your own tilt issues. The most important thing right now is to narrow down and understand your own tilt tendencies. Without that knowledge, your attempts to correct tilt will be random. That's no way to develop a winning strategy. Gather good information about the type(s) of tilt that are the biggest problems in your game and then your in a position to develop a real strategy to correct it.
Jared Tendler, MS, is a mental game coach to hundreds of professional poker players and the author of The Mental Game of Poker 1 & 2.