One interesting form of poker “micro-tilt” can happen to players when they get raised or re-raised. It sounds strange, but I would guess it happens more frequently than players realize.
Are you reacting to raises with logical reason? Or are there tilt-inducing emotions that influence your decisions without you even realizing it?
Is Raise-Tilt Just From Pressure?
The first reaction might be to blame it on the pressure of the situation. On one level you’d think there wouldn’t be much pressure when you get raised and have a really good hand. The pressure there might be to be extracting maximum value.
I think in this case, it might be a bit of fear that goes along with that pressure.
- Fear of not getting maximum value
- fear of making a mistake
- fear of getting destroyed with the hand
So the mistake tilt and the revenge tilt might still be part of this, but I think at the source of it is probably more about fear.
Whenever you’re talking about pressure or stress in poker people tend to be talking about things that originate with fear, anxiety, doubt, worry, and things like that.
Understanding the source of poker tilt on paper
On one level, we’re always trying to understand the source of it. I would start playing out in your mind or with paper in some writing. Actually get out a pen and a sheet of paper.
What exactly is the source of that fear, is it a fear of getting stacked? If it is a fear of getting owned maybe that’s connected to the illusion of control in poker, especially online.
If its the fear of making a mistake at the table do you have expectations of perfection? Look for things of that nature.
Flaws connected with fear
The key with tilt is we’re always trying to look for flaws that are connected to fear and then once we figure that out you are recognizing the build-up of that pressure. You want to make sure that perhaps the first time you get re-raised, even if there’s tilt the anger or the fear is not that intense.
You want to apply logic at that time to try and minimize it. Then just continue to do that throughout your play. It may continue to build to the point where you’re really struggling to maintain control, but you have to keep fighting to do that.
Lack of control in the hand after being raised
Once you have that correction, and let’s just assume it was related to the illusion of control, you’re focusing your energies on what you control in that specific hand and that may be a specific tactical play.
You got some specific things that you’re highlighting there. That’s what you keep forcing your mind to attach and connect to. Over time it’s going to start to organize itself around that in your mind.
The amount of pressure that you’ll be able to tolerate at the poker table will be greater. The amount of pressure that gets created will be less. It becomes an exponential effect where you’re stronger and there’s less pressure to manage it.
Exposure therapy to conquer tilt?
I’ve heard of a unorthodox form of “exposure therapy” where players who suffer from tilt throw themselves to the wolves in a way, enter bigger games than they’re accustomed to, and force themselves to play better.
Exposure therapy is a bit controversial and it can tend to require quite a bit of support in order to be successful. For somebody to do this on their own they have to be really confident that they are going to be able to tolerate and handle what they’re going to expose themselves to.
I’d suggest trying that after you’ve already proven yourself capable of improving at your current poker levels.
An extremely risky experiment
I think the idea that you can jump up in stakes and almost train your way out of that is really risky. It doesn’t mean that it’s guaranteed to fail but it’s certainly not guaranteed to succeed.
The nature of it is just very high variance and you could do irreparable damage to your psyche and/or bankroll.
It’s a bit like somebody who is recovering from a broken ankle. You really do have to walk before you start running and if you start running too quickly you’re going to re-injure it. In some cases you might actually make things worse.