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On Tilt

In the context of gambling, the term on tilt refers to a negative emotional condition that makes players make bad decisions.

The term is most often used in poker games, such as Omaha or Texas Hold’em. When compared to a calm player, a poker player who is on tilt is much more likely to play garbage hands and bet aggressively. Because of this, the ability to sense a player’s emotional condition is considered to be an valuable skill in poker.

So how does tilting play out in real life? Let’s look at a scenario from a game of blackjack.

A player goes on a long cold streak. They feel like nothing goes their way, which irritates and frustrates them. These emotions, in turn, cloud the player’s judgment, making them think irrationally. As a result, the player starts:

  • Making larger bets than they usually would;
  • Making frequent mental mistakes;
  • Deviating from basic strategy;
  • Continue betting more and more in an effort to break even.

What to Do When You’re on Tilt?

Continuing to play while on tilt is not a good idea. In most cases, this will simply result in further losses. If you feel overwhelmed by emotions after a series of negative outcomes, it is best to walk away from the game and give yourself time to cool off.

Once you’re calm, you can decide whether or not to continue the session.

On Tilt:

  • A negative emotional condition that makes players make bad decisions.

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