Sports & Gaming

Managing and Exploiting Tilt

Daniel Negreanu

Lesson time 19:10 min

Daniel encounters TILT just like every other player. Learn the mantra he uses to keep his emotions in check, and how to use TILT as a weapon against your opponents.

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Topics include: Understanding Tilt • Manage Tilt By Getting Present • Don’t Dwell on Mistakes, Analyze Them • Focus on the Fundamentals • Tilt Opponents to Throw Them off Their Game • Look for Changes in Demeanor That Indicate Tilt • Analyze How Tilt Manifests in Specific Opponents • Identify Your Opponents' Pain Thresholds


So there's three basic characteristics that make an elite poker player. One is just the raw fundamentals and skill. The other is a fundamental understanding of the mathematical side. The third part is what I'd call discipline. Right? And that is the most important part of the trio because you can have all the talent in the world, know all the math, but if you start ignoring the disciplined focus of what you're supposed to be doing, you're chasing. Poker is a very stressful game in that, as I said, you don't get a paycheck that looks the same every week. So sometimes when things go poorly, it's a real test of your mettle. And discipline is what's going to see you succeed in the long run. You can take two specific players-- and I have examples. There was a guy named Huck Seed, who was a World Champion of Poker, one of the most skilled and talented players you've ever seen. And when he's on his A game, nobody could touch him. Problem was, half the time he played his F game. There was another gentleman by the name of David Grey. David Grey. Didn't really have an A game. He was just OK. But he was steady like the tortoise. He just continually always played his game, never got out of line. And over the long haul, David's the guy who ends up with money. Huck would be one who had to deal with demons because he was so focused on playing his A game that when he didn't you'd see him falter. So super important to have discipline because talent alone is not enough if you're not able to execute. What exactly is tilt? Well, tilt comes from pinball games. I don't know, for a lot of you younger people, you don't remember pinball. But pinball was-- the game would tilt if you smashed it around. If you were angry and you moved it left or right then the game would stop working and you'd be on tilt. Well, that happens in poker too, to a different degree. And tilt essentially is born out of frustration, anger, sadness, fear, a wide spectrum of emotion that doesn't really belong at a poker table or in a poker decision. So let's say you come into a game with a full game plan of how you're going to play and it goes really poorly for two hours. And everything goes wrong. You're making the right decisions but-- you're playing the right way but nothing's working. And you just keep losing. And you just have bad luck. Now the real question is, how do you handle those situations? And for a lot of players they go on tilt. So they veer from the strategy that is always ideal, the one that they want to employ. And they start playing hands they shouldn't play. They start bluffing more. They start calling more. They're just not focused at all. And if you do find yourself on tilt in a tournament, you don't really have the luxury of saying, well, I quit. Tournaments, they don't work like that. So much like in golf, analogy of Tiger Woods, who hits a bad shot, hits one into the trees. So it's not a good thing for him. But if he focuses on that shot for the rest ...

About the Instructor

Put yourself across the felt from Daniel Negreanu, the biggest live tournament poker winner of all time. The six-time World Series of Poker champion teaches poker strategy, advanced theory, and practice through hand-reviews of his winning games. Learn how to sharpen your mental game through demos on reading opponents and spotting tells. Join Daniel at the table to increase your win rate, grow your ROI, and get your game “in the money.”

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Daniel Negreanu

Join Daniel at the poker table. Learn his strategies to advance your cash, tournament, and online play.

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