Tuesday, May 15, 2012


You’ve read many articles about going on “Tilt” and probably thought to yourself, “Yeah, I get it, but I don’t go on tilt.  I am in control, and while I might have the occasional losing streak, I don’t do dumb shit and toss my cards and make bad plays and etc.”

Yeah, me too.  And while I am still resistant to the “Tilt” label, I recently harbored a losing streak of such proportions that I am rethinking how I define tilt.

Remember the Rolling Stones?  Their big hit, Satisfaction?  The last few lines…

…better come back later next week
'Cause you see I'm on a losing streak
I can't get no, oh no, no, no
Hey hey hey, that's what I say

I can't get no, I can't get no
I can't get no satisfaction
No satisfaction, no satisfaction, no satisfaction

Well, that was me.  I have been working a lot and not playing (or blogging) much, just the occasional Zoom on PokerStars and 4-max and 6-max Sit ‘n’ Gos.  And in a three week period I managed to shed 10% of my bankroll, and finish second (1 out of the money) in 10 straight 4-max SNGs.  In 7 of these tournaments I was the chip leader once we got to heads up, and in three of them my opponent went all-in and received a miracle card on the river to make a straight or flush (beating 5-1, 6-1, and 13-1 odds).  In the cash ZOOM games my well-stacked opponents seem to make flush after flush, higher trips than mine, etc.  I raised when I was ahead, I raised when speculating, I called to trap…and nothing worked.

I was frustrated, to be sure.  But I didn’t say to myself, “Hey buddy, take it easy, watch yourself…you’re on TILT.”  No siree-bob.

But I guess I was.  Maybe not in the “traditional” tilt sense, but I wasn’t playing my best, wasn’t playing like I could, wasn’t playing like I should, wasn’t playing like I CAN.  And I was losing…what more evidence could I want?

I can’t exactly pinpoint when I woke up.  But I finally realized that something had to give, and that something was me.  And my playing style.

You know the cliché definition of insanity, where if you keep doing the same thing over and over and over and expect a different outcome…that’s insanity?  That was me.  Insane.

So I made changes.  I changed my games, my style, the time of day that I played.  I took chances where before I played it ABC.  I bluffed less.  I semi-bluffed more.  I played fewer hands.  I shook up my game and myself, and in two weeks time I am almost back to where I was.

And I recognize now that Tilt has difference faces.  I will respond better, quicker, then next time Tilt comes to call.  Because Tilt always comes a’lookin’.