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Breaking Down the Seven Types of Tilt


In this article
  • What factors can trigger tilt
  • Why should you attack tilt at the roots
  • How can you work on your tilt problem

Defining tilt as being caused only by anger begs for an in-depth analysis of the different ways anger manifests itself in poker. All anger is not created equal. In fact, during my 4 years of coaching poker players, I’ve found seven unique types of anger and each is resolved using a different approach.

When the advice I gave wasn’t specific enough, clients saw limited progress and ultimately did not solve their tilt problem. Consequently, they will have to constantly focus on managing tilt, rather than on the subtle details of the action necessary to make the best decisions. The goal is to resolve your tilt problem, which means that a trigger, say a fish sucking out on you, no longer causes anger. At that point, there’s no more tilt to manage, and the mind is freed up to focus on playing.

Effectively resolving, or solving, a tilt problem, means correcting the root cause of it. The simplest way of doing this begins with breaking down anger into smaller parts; hence the reason for defining seven different types of tilt. This makes tilt easier to analyze, making it easier to prescribe the specific advice needed to solve the root cause of the problem. Failing to solve the problem at the root means that, much like a weed not pulled out by its roots, your tilt problem will just keep coming back again and again.

In The Mental Game of Poker, I break down the seven types of tilt into even more specific parts than I do here for the same reason: it’s easier to analyze the root problem and thus easier to prescribe specific advice. As the idea that tilt can be broken down this way may be new to many of you, consider this article an overview of the seven types of tilt, along with a few ideas how to begin correcting each one. There are overlaps among the seven types, like a Venn Diagram, to ensure the most important root causes of anger are covered.


That's not the entire article...

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Comments (9)

#1 Dendra, 27 Aug 11 07:25

kinda surprised you missed winning tilt...when you win a large pot you generally don't win very often and the amount of money gained is way above the average of what you normally gain - you are in danger of playing more conservatively because you're overly excited and overjoyed.

that's one of the most common tilts coming to mind - not to mention a wise saying which claims pretty much the same thing - "playing too tight when losing and too loose when winning" - which is another type of tilt that occurs only when you're winning; so there are in fact overly negative and overly positive emotional tilts.

#2 BarryCarter, 27 Aug 11 08:05

Hey Dendra,

Jared does actually cover winners tilt extensively in his book and no doubt a future article, however he doesn't define it as a type of 'tilt' but a form of overconfidence, which is a totally separate type of issue.

Jared defines tilt as 'anger+bad play' and there is no anger where winners tilt is concerned.

#3 Dendra, 27 Aug 11 10:35

looking forward to that article then - and btw, there's again a difference between being overconfident and being overwhelmed by monetary gains

the former results in you playing loose, the latter in playing tight - at least that seems to be a consistent case.

according to the definition of tilt, these emotional deviations fall under tilt. anyway, forum is probably better place to start a discussion on that.

#4 faronel, 27 Aug 11 18:47

First, I will elaborate on the general definition of tilt. I am still wondering how word "tilt" got so accepted in the poker industry, but that's pointless. The main question is "what tilt really is?" I will slightly deviate from Jared's point of view and state that tilt is a poker word equivalent for being angry. Playing badly is a result of being on tilt, not the essence of it.

Now to Dendra's note. Again, it depends on how you would go on to define winner's tilt. I bet many would say "yes" to, "is winner's tilt when you play more loose while running good?". Though many would also say "yes" to, "is winner's tilt when you play more conservatively after building up a huge stack at a table?" The trick is that neither are wrong, wrong are those who try to enforce the word "tilt" to fit the defitintion.
Your example of being overwhelmed by monetary gain is a classic "money scared" scenario. But does it necessarily mean that that person is on tilt?

So, what's about that forum thread?

#5 andreimgs, 29 Aug 11 08:23

A good read

#6 1984ioc, 30 Aug 11 10:21

“This isn’t fair, I should be running normal, I never win a flip!” = injustice tilt
“How is it possible to lose like this again!” = hate losing tilt
“I knew that! Dammit, how can I play so bad?!” = mistake tilt
“I’m too good a player for this to happen. How can I keep losing to this donkey?” = entitlement tilt
“I’m gonna 3-bet this idiot; who the f*&% does he think he is!? F*&% you I shove.” = revenge tilt
“I’ll stay here for a f*&%ing week until I win if I have to!” = desperation tilt

I lmao when i read these.I'm sure we have all been there.Great read though and very helpful.Can't wait to get his book.

#7 JaredTendler, 02 Sep 11 22:14


Barry got a little excited himself and missed another common reason for winner's tilt which is fear/anxiety. His main point holds though, that what you're describing is not anger. I my last article I defined tilt only as being caused by anger because when the definition of tilt includes, excitement, overconfidence, anxiety, lack of focus, etc., it becomes too hard to really solve the problem. Each emotion is unique, and if you're going to prevent that emotion from causing problems you need a specific strategy.

In your case, if you become conservative when winning big amounts, that make me think you're protecting that win. On the surface you're excited that you won, but underneath it is you protecting the win so you can preserve the excitement. That's the problem. It's not anger.

In all cases, overly negative and overly positive emotions cause problems because they shut down a person's ability to think. That ultimately is what causes poor play. But, if we just call all of it tilt, then the definition isn't specific enough to determine a good strategy to prevent wild emotional swings.

You brought up a good point, let me know if I haven't explained my perspective well enough.

#8 JaredTendler, 02 Sep 11 22:19


I mostly agree that tilt is another word for anger. The problem is that being angry doesn't guarantee that you're going to perform poorly. In my experience players talk about tilt mainly when they're also playing bad.

Though outside of poker, poker players use the word tilt to mean anger all the time.

Here's the forum link:

A thread where I've been answering questions for past few month about a whole range of topics, not just tilt.

#9 ilrasso, 26 Sep 11 16:23

I think besides anger, sadness and fear can induce tilt aswell. Many people dont get easily angry, but experience other negative emotions instead. I think they can all be the cause of tilt.