When we talk about "tilting" in poker we refer to the way in which a bad beat can affect the game of a player. If a player suffers a bad beat and changes the way in which they usually play, we say the player is "going on tilt".
In a few words, "tilting" describes how a player starts playing poorly at a poker table because he is frustrated.
Bad beats are not the only things in a poker game that may set a poker player on tilt. When you don't get good hands for a long period of time you can also feel irritated and play with any poor hand you receive.
Another reason to be frustrated is when you fold to your opponent's shown bluff, this is something that can make you change your game. Besides, if you discover that you could have flopped a great hand but you chose to pre-flop, this could also change your gaming style.
The different degrees of tilt in poker
There is more than one degree and variation of 'tilt'. Going on tilt is more than just going all-in pre-flop with any hand you get just because you are frustrated after a bad beat. This happens, but there are other forms of tilt that much more subtle and you should learn to spot them if you want to improve your gaming skill.
A player goes on tilt every time they try to get even with an opponent who outplayed them before and enters a pot just with that aim in mind. Sometimes you may want to play more points with a certain player because they took some of your money and you want to outplay them.
Whenever you do this, you are on tilt. You have to ask yourself: "Would I still be playing so many hands against this player if I was cool with them?" Besides, you'll be risking your stack unnecessarily if you try to outplay your opponent all the time even with the worst hands. Always keep in mind that in poker hold'em you want to win money, not pots.
A usual mistake whilst on tilt
When going on tilt, players tend to chase draws, which is the most usual mistake when it comes to tilt.
If you are facing a decent size bet against your flash draw and you don't have the correct pot odds but you call anyway, you are going on tilt. Think about it, would you have called the same bet if you were not feeling frustrated?
You are not playing your best poker game if you fold in a situation in which you would have normally folded. In general, players tend to chase after the money they lost when they are in a bad luck streak; as a result this feeling lends itself to the construction of a drawing hand.
Playing at higher stakes when tilting
When players react by chasing the money they have lost they may play higher stakes and forget about bankroll management rules. This can be really dangerous if besides playing at stakes that are too high for you, you also make some of the usual 'tilt plays' that were mentioned before.
This makes tilt even worse because you are in a position in which you could lose the money you won with hard work over a period of time. When you think you can recover all the money you have lost at higher stakes, you are not thinking right and in the end it will take you to a less than happy position.
Poker tilting evaluation
If you want to be a successful poker Texas Hold'em player, you have to develop the ability to counteract the effects of tilt. Going on tilt is especially risky if you are playing pot limit and no limit poker. This is because you could lose most of or all your stack in any hand.
In one hand you can lose all the money it took you hours to make just because you are on tilt. The money you save yourself from losing is the money you'll end up having by the end of the day.