Tilt: The Number One Destroyer Of Bankrolls

Tilt: The Number One Destroyer Of BankrollsTilt is when a frustrated player allows their poker judgment to be clouded thus leading to them adopting a less than optimal strategy during game play. The behavioral phenomenon often occurs as a result of a bad beat or a losing streak, and is a serious leak in anyone’s poker game. In the short-term, the ensuing damage to a player’s bankroll could be minimal, but in the longer run the tilting player could not only lose a chunk of their money, but in more extreme cases and when bankroll management flies out the window, may even blow through their entire bankroll.

It makes sense, then, that as well as mastering the strategic part of the game, understanding the mental aspects of poker are an equally important element of the game to comprehend. That is why a recent study by Jussi Palomäki at the University of Helsinki in Finland, is of particular interest as it aims to produce a scientific understanding of the emotions affecting decision-making during a game of poker.

The study is entitled “New Perspectives on Emotional Processes and Decision Making in the Game of Poker — with Special Emphasis on the Tilting Phenomenon,” and some of the interesting themes cited regarding tilt is that a person experiencing a painful loss will often feel empty, numb, and hard done by and so in order to “restore a fair balance of wins and losses, in light of the player’s expectations,” will then exhibit chasing behavior.

Interestingly, Palomäki also found that inexperienced players would often blame bad luck for all their bad beats, whereas experienced players were more likely to differentiate between self-made mistakes as a cause of their negative emotions, and variance, which they regarded impassively.

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The study subsequently concludes that poker experience can be a major factor in limiting the effects tilt may have on a player, with Palomäki, explaining: “a consequential difference between experienced and inexperienced players seems to be the ability to differentiate the circumstances one can control from those one cannot, and this ability may only grow by experience.”

Palomäki’s full study can be viewed here.


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