Grinderschool Free Poker Strategy Articles
Tilt In All Its Glory
I am going to try and help players understand the tilt concept and why they do it. For now I will post a couple brief thoughts on tilt and I can keep adding to it as situations come up, conversations are had and people actually post while on tilt.
Let's look at tilt from a micro stakes players stand point. You're playing at a $10NL table and have a decent stack, $22. You have been grinding two tables for almost an hour and are up 2.5 buy ins to show for it. You have been having a great time with this guy to your right. Raising his limps and having him call, only to fold to your C bets over and over again. You get dealt AA in the small blind, everyone folds and the button limps. You raise to $0.50 because that's what we do. The BB folds and the button calling is no surprise, since he's called every raise since you sat down. The flop comes J83rainbow and you beg he has a J. You continuation bet $1 into a $1.15 pot and smile as he calls. Good, now you have him. The turn is a 5 and you decide it's time to get some money in the pot, you check and he bets $1 into a $3.15 pot. Stupid fish always try to bluff with so little. Check/raise time! You drop the hammer, $4.50 more. You don't even take your hand off the mouse, your talking to yourself. Call, Call, Call. He doesn't, he shoves all in. "WTF!!??" you say "This moron is going to pay me his last $12 with a pair of J's", of course you call. River comes and your smiling, its a 6 of clubs, Ship it!! His cards get turned over and you smile, he called you preflop with 79suited. "LOL, 79 suited what a moron!!!" Then the chips slide towards him. "What!!!!! what the hell, OMG!! he had a straight. What?"
Your stack is decimated. You snap, and in the next half hour, you never stop thinking about that hand. You can't believe it. How the hell do you beat these guys if they are going to play like this. You can't remember a single hand after that, you reload and reload, your now having a losing session. You watch this fish stack someone else later with A2s when he hits trip 2's on the river and you actually get more mad.
Well guess what. The fish didn't beat you, the fish didn't play better than you and certainly the fish was still ripe for the picking and someone will take it all, gladly. Unfortunately you were never in the right frame of mind after getting beat. Well let me tell you something that you know, but I will say it here again, and you must hear it for the first time. AA does not win 100% of the time. I will repeat it so you can read this again.
AA does not win 100% of the time.
So if that is the case, then stop acting like it should. What a "poker player" does is reloads and gets another chance at the fish. He's at the table with a guy who calls raises with 79suited. Smile, you will not find this as you move up to the nosebleed stakes. And if you do, lucky you.
Enough story time, let me ask you this? Do you plan to ever move up? Do you plan to ever play for pots bigger than $10, $30, $100? Losing buy ins is part of the game, having downswings is part of the game. The only thing that we have spoke about that is not part of the game is tilt. If you are tilting at any point, over losing a hand, a buy in or having a downswing, take a break. A long break. Maybe you should quit poker altogether.
This may seem a little harsh, and it needs to be. I've been spending some time discussing tilt with some players that not only play higher stakes, but play for life altering money. If you understand poker, the math involved in every decision and the math involved in AA getting cracked, then why tilt? If you know the math involved in running into AA with KK, then you also understand the reasons why we have BR management, to protect against inevitable downswings and variance, then why are you (or anybody) tilting? GET OVER IT! The only unforgivable aspect of your play will be losing more money, playing on tilt.
Why would someone with half a brain (I'm sure you have more than that) that understands poker, understands the math, studies the game, practices good BR management to protect against variance, go on TILT because of said variance, and turn a 3 or 4 buy in down swing into a 10 or 15 buy in downswing, stop enjoying the game or just plain give away money, by not playing optimal poker on every hand.
And I'd like to point out, if you can't learn to control tilt at the $10NL, $25NL and $50NL levels, how in the hell will everyone of you, EVERYONE OF YOU, who dreams of playing like the high stakes players at $5/$10 and higher ever be able to play in a $1000 pot and push that edge. Ok, maybe I'm wrong, maybe you "just play for fun" and don't want to play at those stakes. Then why all the tilt?? If it's for fun, and you play to relax, why Tilt??? Have fun, smile and type NH, move on. Either way, pick a side and stop tilting.
SERIOUSLY, STOP TILTING OVER NICKELS OR THE $1K POTS WILL NEVER HAPPEN, EVER!!!! Learn to play without tilt now at $10NL or you may never play for fun or for real money.