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Tilt: Metamorphosis

Tilt: Metamorphosis
By Loki Luchs of

I have seen many players tilt in my years as a poker player. Sometimes itís a slow and steady sinking, like the Titanic, before the stern goes flying into the air and you see a spectacular plunge. Other times itís a single critical hand that makes the player go nova into a sky-scorching blaze. The end result is always the same, though, where a good player becomes a broke player and the suicide hotlines lights flash as the calls come in.

It's always been a fascination of mine to watch as a player goes through the stages of tilt. Itís symptoms are apparent to anyone who has played the game for any relevant period of time, but not always obvious to the player himself. After taking a few bad beats, some players just start steaming; they get angry and start yelling at the players and the dealers. They start making stupid bets and mindless calls because they blame a player for them losing. They might think that the dealer or the poker gods are out to get them.

Other players, however, sometimes just get bored or tired, but arenít ready to leave. These players will linger around the table and blow away 10 hours of profit in a couple hours of D-game play. They turn from a rock into a calling station and just piss away their chips.

One of my favorite tilts what I call the ďhubris tiltĒ. This comes directly from some smartier-than-thou player who feels that just because heís the better player, he should always win. The reason bad players play is because sometimes they win by sheer chance! If they didnít occasionally win, they wouldnít be playing very long! Yet, the second an inferior player takes a medium sized pot off, they torture themselves by stating to the whole table how horrible the odds were and how incorrect the play was and blah, blah, f'ing-blah. This is the exact second that smartier-than-thou decided they didnít want to be a winner. They care more about hurting the bad player for a payback than they do about being an overall winner. Smarty will follow inferior into any pot they play and, in doing so, becomes just as bad of a player!

Another familiar tilt is the Al Bundy syndrome. This player ran for four touchdowns in a game against a Canadian team in high school and his life has been downhill ever since. (I donít mean to offend to my Canadian readers, but your version of football sucks.) Anyway, old Al picked up poker after heís done at the womenís shoe store. He hates his life and enjoys poker because it gives him a chance to bully people that he hasnít roughed up since his giving-nerds-swirlies-days in high school. This guy is on tilt from about an hour before he ever gets to the game, so take advantage of his aggressive nature by punishing him with every hand you find.

While there are many forms of tilt, itís just as important to recognize the players at the table who are showing the symptoms. These players are vulnerable to attack and susceptible to manipulation. Be sure to take advantage of this situation when it presents itself!


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