Select Page

Tilt and Why

Rondavu re-evaluates the psychology of tilt and why it occurs.


I’m going to explain tilt the way I understand it. I hope it rings true for a lot of you, as it does for me.

We are flawed as humans. One of our major flaws is detrimental to good poker. Imagine you try to accomplish something, like fixing the dishwasher. After a week, you can’t figure it out, give up, and call a professional. During that time, there was a pinnacle moment of frustration. An apex of failure if you will. The moment you decide you cannot do it, your face feels a little hot. You slam down the wrench as you pound the floor. You lose control for a moment. You feel defeated. You feel worthless. You feel inferior. You feel a lot of things in one hot rush. You get over it though. It was just you, the dishwasher, and failure, and then you got over it. Now replace the dish washer with a poker table, and your wrench with a pile of chips. Now you begin to understand.

Failure or success is what defines us as humans. Failure and worth are hard wired together within us, but can be overridden through healthy thought processes. Our self worth is embedded and defined in the failure or success for better or worse. When you fail, it makes you immediately redefine yourself as a human, if only for an instant. Obviously, we are able to take some time after a failure, and most of the time if we are healthy enough, we come to the conclusion that a particular failure was not actually tied into our self worth as a human.

The key is TIME. This is a luxury we don’t have at the poker table. We lose a pot, and the failure immediately ties into our self worth, as we lose our mind watching the chips slide over to another player, like the chips are connected to our soul. It’s like someone cut us up, and doled us out to a better human being. You actually can’t help but think for a couple minutes that you genuinely suck at life, and the player who beat you in the pot is being paraded before you as superior. This depresses you. It makes you angry, and then you stack off with Q5 off suit because you’re pissed about being inferior as a human. Of course it’s totally illogical and completely crazy. We learn this as professional players over time, and conquer tilt, but it is a real issue for most recreational players. It is also the biggest reason professionals make money.

So when you lose your next big hand, think about this, and see if your mind is tricking you into feeling inferior on a much bigger scale than one inconsequential hand on a lonely poker table in cyberspace, and turn the switch off before it tilts you.

I hope you enjoyed this, and learned something. Now go play poker, and don’t stack off with a wiffed AK on a rag flop because you feel giving up would make you a failure, and mean you are a worthless human being. You know, because superior humans don’t lose with AK.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *