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Introduction

 

On Tilt - I

Do you go on tilt? How often do you go? I have had players tell me they never go on tilt. Generally the definition of their tilt and my definition on tilt differ a lot.

They say they don't go on tilt because they define tilt as a major breakdown in play, in which a player goes from fair play to the actions of a maniac in poker , or at least a calling station. It is undoubtedly that many players are able to avoid this kind of problem completely, but you are setting your standards extremely low if you are satisfied with staying off this kind of tilt. I will make my definition of tilt more precise which will be provided very soon. But first, consider an important outcome to the definition which provides a simple way of identifying when you have gone on tilt: Tilt occurs any time you make a wrong play when you know better.

If you are running badly and play a hand that normally you would feel is just rarely bad for some cases, and would therefore throw away that's tilt. If you call someone down with middle pair after he raises you on the turn, reducing it with the notion that it sort of looks like he could be bluffing even though you know he hardly always has the best hand when he raises on the turn that's tilt. If you make an automatic call on the end after you have raised, only because you are having a high pair all the way and are worried that you could be outdrawn again by very weak player, that's tilt. There are many numbers of lists but the idea is that you know it better, yet make the play run smoothly.

Many examples on tilt are devious. If you fail to identify your own play closely, you may not even come to recognize being on tilt. This is true when you have been blundering on the wrong side of some close decisions. (This is fairly always the less conservative side; for, although incorrect, playing too conventionally can also be called tilt). For instance, you may make a call or a raise which could be correct under the same circumstances but under these circumstances if you were thinking about more positively, you would then realize that folding indeed was the correct option.

Playing such kind of poor hand is another example of tilt. Though these are hand to hand decisions, their cost becomes important when they are frequent, or when one mistake mixes itself by leading to another in the same hand. Making an unnecessary bluff on the flop, may again lead you to follow through with bluffs on fourth and fifth streets in a useless effort to make a rival to lay his hand down. When such kinds of incorrect plays are included in a definition on tilt, it becomes little precise that are few players who do not go on tilt at least not frequently. I believe that less than five percent of the professional players have tilt under such control that they can truly say that it seldom, if ever, appears in their play.

The result of any examples is poker and emotion. This is obvious. Unless you are simply looking around, not trying to play well, what other outcome could there be for playing a substandard hand when you know how to play it correctly? Emotion is the cause. A reaction such as anger, frustration, or feeling disheartened, causes an impulsive decision to play a hand in a way that you know is wrong. Now here is my definition on tilt: Tilt is any unfavorable cause of emotion on one's play.

It is considered that tilt is always caused by losing. During a particular session it is possible to occur after losing one or more hands. Looking at your play from a longer term perception it is more likely that tilt surfaces most during periods of running badly. When you look for the sessions getting a disproportionate percentage of high cards, missed draws and the so on, it requires experience and an exceptional appreciation of the nature of the fluctuations in poker to play on correctly, without reacting any emotional feeling.

It is not so easy to estimate the cost of going on tilt. It changes as a function of frequency of occurrence and of the types of mistakes you tend to make when emotion affects your play. What is clear though is that most otherwise good players could essentially develop their hourly rates by rationalizing the frequency with which they act on emotion during their play. Several players have boosted their frequency with poker theory to much greater extent than their understanding of how and why they go on tilt. There are some new beginners who stay away from tilt.

There are also some players who use tilt as an excuse for their bad results. Even if they went on tilt they would lose but they would have to face the reality that tilt allows them to avoid - that they actually can't play well enough to win. For online poker players who believe in such self-deception, some serious self-examination and study will be needed before this essay and the one that follows will be of great significance to them.

If, as is likely, you can also improve in this area of your game, then consider putting effort in two areas:

•  Be certain you have a clear and thorough understanding of the swings created by the poker player over time. (I assume that you have strong understanding of the basic odds/probabilities involved in the games you play. If not, then you must ascertain this basic element of your playing foundation as well.) Read and think about the work of Mason Malmuth in this area and everything related to this topic that David Skylansky and Mike Caro have written about it. If you are determined you can also research the topic on the Internet poker sites and the news group article as well. Then go back and look at your own results over a period of time. (Assume you have kept record of it.) An easy way to do this is to graph them. This should clarify your view of the "long run." When you see your graph of a thousand hours of play you will better understand how useless it is to worry over how you are doing during a particular session. The more you understand of the effects of the chance element in poker, the less likely you are to feel irritated or victimized by it when it has not worked favorably for some time.

•  Adopt an active way of preventing yourself from playing on impulse, and for rationalizing the probability that you will go on tilt in the future period. The essential way in this respect can involve a deliberate shift of focus as you play, and also the effort to reform your thinking about your goals during this play. The discussion of tilt in Part II will address this step with a description of an attitude which gives many best players important resistance to tilt while they Play Poker .

Continue Here: Tilt-2The Professional Attiude In Poker

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