Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Tilt Monster: My ideas about it!

To face the Tilt monster is the biggest nightmare of all poker players. You can try to escape it but it is like an unseen monster who is trying to get a grip on you. Nothing you can do about it but every poker player will face it at least once in his career. But you can take actions in advance to minimize the damage and it I think it is even possible to postpone being caught.

This is how I see it.
Every poker player starts in the beginning with an empty Tilt bucket. There are various things during playing poker which can/will fill up this bucket and then suddenly without knowing it, your bucket floods. This is when you are getting into Tilt mode. The biggest problem is that the water which fills the bucket is invisible and therefore it is very hard to see or judge how full your bucket already is. Also the size of the bucket differs between players. Some players have by nature a bigger bucket; others are capable of upgrading their current bucket by a bigger one by experience. But although they have a bigger bucket doesn’t mean that they are Tilt free. No matter how experienced or good you are, the Tilt monster is always sitting around the corner waiting for an opportunity.

So, you need to try to unload your bucket once in a while. It never will be empty but at least you can try to decrease the amount of water inside.

First let’s take a look at what I think which situations are filling the bucket:

  • Loosing a big pot at a cash table,
  • Loosing a buy-in at a cash table,
  • Not getting ITM in a SNG,
  • Running into a bigger monster with your monster,
  • Getting your aces or kings cracked,
  • Loosing a race,
  • Suffering from a bad beat,
  • Getting deep into a MTT and being eliminated during the bubble,
  • A failed steal attempt,
  • Using the odds in an incorrect manner (if a starting hand has a win ratio of 80%, then don’t forget that there is also 20% chance that you will loose the hand),
  • While having the odds and calling correctly none of your outs has hit the board (it is hard to see that none of the 21 cards which could help you appeared on the board.).

Besides these things, there are factors which can speed up the filling process. Getting your aces cracked is bad enough but to see them cracked twice in one session. The second time a lot more water will go into the bucket than the first time. Also situation outside poker can speed up things, like playing when you are mad/ill, had a fight with the misses, had a bad day on work, and so on.

The following things should decrease the water level in the bucket:
  • Getting ITM in a SNG,
  • Getting ITM in a MTT,
  • Closing a cash session with a profit,
  • Dealing out a suck-out (if you are like most of us, these are hard to remember must harder than the bad beats we are suffering. If so, place a little paper besides your PC and put is mark each time you dealt out a suck-out. It will never level cause you are the better player and statistically there is more chance that you will be beaten with a bad beat than you were saved by that miraculous river. But good things do happen to you!),
  • Seeing one of your outs appear on the board,
  • Analyzing your play: sometimes the call of the villain was perfectly understandable cause he had the right odds, so what appeared to be a bad beat actually wasn’t one, or you can take a look how much money you already won with the mighty Aces which should ease the pain when they are cracked,
  • Time (even invisible water vaporizes over time): It is always a good idea to take a break when you lost 2 buy-ins (also it decreases the risk that you are going to play emotionally against some particular villains) or had 2 or 3 SNGs without getting ITM,
  • Banking (there is nothing better to bank some of your profits, not only it gives a great feeling but it also minimizes the damage which can occur if you get caught by the Tilt monster).

Some of these points are straight forward; others are not so straight forward like time. Even a break of 20 minutes between 2 SNGs session can make a big difference.

Good luck at the tables,

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