5 Types of Poker Tilt (and How to Avoid Them)

By Grzegorz Bochniak
October 23, 2019

Every poker player has heard about tilt and its potential wrong effects. However, not everyone knows an exact definition of tilt and that it comes in many different varieties. This means that we may not even notice ourselves when we happen to play under its influence.

Tilt does not necessarily mean aggressive and “furious” play, but sometimes even a slight distraction or playing too passively can be a sign of it. In its simplest definition, tilt in poker is anything that is not A-game play. In this article, I introduce five most common types of tilt and how to deal with each of them.

Loose Tilt

Loose tilt is the most common form of tilt. Signs of this type of tilt are playing too many hands pre-flop and folding too little post-flop. This tilt occurs because almost every poker player “deep down in his heart” wants a lot of action. The specific reasons for loose tilt are desire to make up for losses, frustration, too much confidence, and lack of patience.

To deal with loose tilt, which means that you play under the influence of strong negative emotions, you should try to prevent it from happening in the first place. Play only when you are rested and relaxed. Do not play after drinking alcohol or when something has upset you, e.g., after arguing with a loved one. What’s more, try to remove as many things as possible that may disturb you during the session: turn off Facebook, Skype, mute your phone, do not watch movies during the session. Stay focused only on the game.

Passive Tilt

Passive tilt is a silent enemy of the poker player. It may sneak into your game unnoticed, and once it’s in it, it’s very hard to detect. Instead of betting and raising in good situations, you’ll start checking and calling too often. Passive tilt generally affects post-flop poker more than pre-flop, because raising pre-flop is something we do automatically.

Passive tilt is almost always caused by loss of confidence or fear of taking risks. Here’s what usually causes this tilt to “be activated” in our game: new limits, insufficient capital, bad runs, and playing with scared money.

To avoid passive tilt: Always remember to play for stakes where you feel comfortable. If you are attacking a new limit, set an appropriate stop-loss. If, on the other hand, you are running bad and have lost confidence, end the session and return to the tables another time with a cool head.

Stereotypical Tilt

Stereotypical tilt means that you play “by book” completely without adapting to the game.You play on autopilot and do not think enough about the situation you are in. For example, you fold a weak suited hand on a button, when two blinds are playing really tight. Here are the most common reasons that this type of tilt gets activated: boredom, tiredness, distraction, lack of proper respect for opponents and lack of concentration. When you’re in a state like this you might as well be playing casino games online while taking advantage of free bet no deposit offers!

To avoid this type of tilt, take care of yourself physically and mentally: get enough sleep and get active. Also remember to have a routine in place that will help you maintain your concentration during the game at the appropriate level.

Revenge Tilt

We’ve all been in this situation. A player, usually on your left, begins to re-raise, 3-bet and call widely, so often, that we feel that he is doing it all the time. When you start losing money in such a situation, you can start to feel negative emotions, in particular anger and the desire to take revenge.

When you start to feel that you are dealing with revenge tilt, often the best way is to request a seat change or table change. It makes no sense to fight an aggressive opponent on the left, unless you can keep your head cool and make money by adapting properly. If revenge tilt happens to you, after the session think about what exactly caused it. You can even take notes so you won’t forget your emotional state. If revenge tilt happens to you often, you may need the help of a mental game trainer and work on deep beliefs.

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Fancy Play Syndrome

Fancy play syndrome is almost the opposite of stereotypical tilt. It occurs when a player begins to overthink, and tries to perform actions on a higher level than his opponent is capable of reaching.

Fancy play syndrome often occurs when you play with very good opponents and are looking for a way to outplay them at all costs. Sometimes it is also associated with too much confidence.

To avoid this type of tilt, make sure you have the right session starting routine, with some brief analysis of the hands before you begin play. What’s more, choose the right table. When you play with weak opponents, you probably have no problem playing your A-game and earning money. You don’t need to “over-adapt”.

The Key to Not Tilting

Every experienced poker player knows that the key to making money in the game is usually plying solid and keeping it simple. Nonetheless, poker’s history is rife with cases of players who have squandered substantial fortunes because they could not cope with the mental side of the game. This is precisely why it is so important to be aware of the different types of tilt that can prevent you from winning.

I hope that after reading this article you are more aware of possible mental mistakes that you make or have made in the past, and begin work on correcting them.



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Grzegorz Bochniak poker author
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Grzegorz Bochniak

Grzegorz Bochniak is a passionate poker player from Kraków, Poland. He first got into the game in 2011 and absolutely fell in love with it. In particular, both the mathematical and psychological aspects of it were interesting for him. Aside from poker, Grzegorz’s interests include sports, psychology, and travelling. After completing his B.S. degree in […]


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