Is There a Solution to Tilt?

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The understanding of tilt IS the solution to tilt. Here’s why…

The Losing Stress Podcast Ep 20 – Understanding Tilt

[00:00] Hey guys! It’s Chiggs. It’s another Losing Stress Podcast. And in this episode, we’re going to be talking about understanding tilt.

[00:06] So a very poker specific one. Hopefully, if you’re not a poker player you might be able to take some very good takeaways; especially if you work in an environment with a variable outcome.

Say you work in sports, sports betting, a hedge fund, trading; anything like that.   

[00:23] What we’re going to be doing is exploring tilt from a clear observation standpoint. That is, what have we observed from all the things associated to tilt.   

What is Tilt?

[00:34] First of all, before we even get into this, let’s actually define what tilt is.

Many people believe that tilt is simply an outer behaviour. That is, say, a verbal act of anger or even some kind of physical act of anger or frustration; say throwing chips into the pot.

And most commonly, playing hands badly or making mistakes.

But clearly tilt is a manifestation of what’s going on internally. So it’s also the emotions and the thoughts that you have that result from you losing. And they cause an aggravated state of mind.

[01:12] I think, actually, that’s the simplest definition of tilt. That is an aggravated state of mind that results from losing.  

[01:21] Now a lot of people will claim and say to you (and you will even claim to yourself) that you’ve cracked tilt. That you’ve solved it. That you don’t feel it anymore.

One question that is necessary to ask is:

Just because you haven’t tilted in a while, does that really mean that you’ve solved tilt?

[01:35] Or is poker played in the context of your life?

So has poker being going well recently? Or has your life been going well recently? And so there hasn’t been a tilt response

Poker And Your Life

[01:47] And that’s one of the most important things to realise: it’s that any poker session that you go to play is going to be played within the context of your life.

I.e. when you go into play, you’re going to be playing with a mind that is built up from its recent experiences, it’s stored up memory, it’s beliefs, the current situation that you’re in.

One particular scenario is when poker’s just not been going so well recently and now you’re feeling under-rolled. Or you’re playing in a bigger game than you’re used to. 

Without continuing down this line, it’s worth noting there are many potential causes that can lead to tilt.

[02:23] And so every time before you go to play could you accurately and honestly assess your life situation? So that when you do go to play you’re aware of the state of mind.

[02:41] Obviously, this has its limitations because what’s to say that your analysis is going to be completely accurate and honest.

And further, there tend to be issues that we don’t unearth i.e. the subconscious also at play.

[02:53] With that being said, as an exercise, or a mental exercise before you play it will probably be very beneficial to do. A kind of awareness check.


[03:03] What I have to say is that poker players, in general, the successful ones, do tend to be fairly self-aware.

In order to succeed long-term in the game it requires an awareness and realisation of the importance of developing and improving; strategically at least. 

[03:15] And just stepping back, what we have explored here: is that an analysis or assessment of our minds before we go to play could be likely provide benefit. 

However, it is also not going to provide a complete solution to dealing with tilt.

[03:27] So let’s see if we can delve into it further.

Common Causes of Tilt

[03:31] Tilt, as has been stated, is an aggravated state of mind that results from losing.

When you’re playing a poker session, you can observe that there are many causes of tilt. The most common ones being losing:

  • Many pots in a row or;
  • Keys pots in a tournament or;
  • A big pot in a cash game or;
  • A pot to a friend;
  • A pot to someone you dislike;
  • Your online connection at a key moment.

If you play live it could be:

  • A ruling not going in your favour or;
  • A dealer making a mistake or;

Any example of something not going in your favour.

[04:03] Essentially, there are just so many different causes to tilt; which you could go ahead and list. Or what’s important to grasp is that there can always be a cause for tilt; that you haven’t necessarily accounted for.

[04:18] What we’re arriving at here, is an understanding that tilt is a real-time issue.

[04:25] And, hopefully, as you are reading this you recognise it as being a serious issue when you play.

Because poker is, at its very basic level, a decision-making game. And when you play it with an aggravated state of mind your ability to make clear decisions drops dramatically.

This is clear from the observation and the recollection of our experiences.

Tilt is a Real-Time Issue

[04:49] And so going back, we’re understanding that tilt is a real-time issue. It’s a real-time “problem”. And so requires a real-time “solution”.

I put that in quotes there because the solution to tilt is really the problem itself.

It is really understanding tilt as it occurs.

[05:08] And this requires awareness. A real-time awareness.

So that an aggravated state of mind can be spotted at the moment it occurs or as close to it as possible.

[05:20] When tilt does occur that sets off a habitual reaction when there isn’t an awareness of what is going on internally.

You’ll have your own habits that have already been formed when you are tilted. You’ll have these thoughts, these outbursts either internally or externally.

[05:36] And it’s awareness that sees the real nature of it.

And sees it instantaneously. Because it’s not a function of time; which is linked to thought.

What is Awareness?

[05:47] Now, when you listen to this now this probably sounds a bit confusing. Because you’re probably trying to put your finger on what is awareness?

Awareness is not a product of thought.

Even stating this may be a step too far. And in fact, comes as a realisation when you simply look into the mind.

Awareness may perhaps be best described as a state of being. A state of being when you are aware of what’s going on internally. And, also, externally.

The Clarity of Observation

[06:07] Now where this becomes possibly even more confusing when you start to explore this approach is that it’s not about having a separate observer to your thoughts and your emotions.

Because that in itself, when you explore it, is still within the field of thinking.

[06:24] A good example to help understand this would be when you lose a big pot and then you have a thought that says, “Oh wow! I just got so unlucky.”

An observer to this thought will react to this thought with another thought. It would say, “You shouldn’t be thinking this!” or “Don’t worry about this. Let’s move on to the next hand.”

And this continual reactionary process can keep going on. And with awareness, there is a recognition of what’s going on.

[06:56] When you’re reading this, the natural reaction to this is to ask or wonder: “How can I conjure this awareness?”

But awareness is not arrived at through effort; Or through a method.

That’s because effort and a method is a function of thought.

[07:15] To be in awareness, is to know the limitation of habitual thinking. To understand that psychological thinking is just a mechanical process based on your own habits, memory and knowledge.

The “seeing” of the fact that you are absorbed in thoughts or in a task or technology IS awareness in action.

[07:39] And this leads to a good point: in that to understand awareness is to understand and appreciate what it is not.

And it is not absorption.

[07:48] This leads to a good point to conclude this podcast.

Key Takeaway

This podcast is titled, Understanding the Nature of Tilt.       

It’s worded in that way specifically because understanding the nature of tilt is the solution to the problem.

The problem is the solution.      

[08:08] And when I use the word understanding, that means it’s not simply: listening to a lecture, reading a book, listening to this podcast, making notes and getting an idea of what tilt is like.

And there’s something practical in understanding it in real-time; through an non-constructed intelligence; which is awareness.

[08:26] Hopefully guys, this was fairly clear.

I’m sure you’ve probably got some questions surrounding this or some confusion.

I’ve actually spent a lot of time and a decent amount of money trying to better understand tilt and human emotions and this whole mindfulness-based approach.

[08:43] So if you guys do have any questions please feel free to hit me up on Instagram. I’m @lchiggsl.

Take care guys; I will speak again soon.