3pips   MY TILT-POINT AND RECOVERY (2/23/12)

My Tilt-Point and Recovery

I used to think I’d never tilt.  Not me. Then, about a year after I started playing extensively, I was into the-session-from-Hell and I reached my limit. Argh! I probably wound up losing an extra $500 during that relatively short session. As I was cashing out and licking my wounds, I realized: Hey, I can tilt too. Caused me to recognize this and occasionally blow off steam rather than going really over the edge.

This past Presidents' Day weekend, was one of those rare instances when I reached my personal tilt-point.  I was in Atlantic City playing the Borgata's $20 / 40 limit game and was taking the nastiest losses, over hours. One of many examples was losing with my flopped top-set, to a fellow who’d PREFLOP four-bet me with a suited 7-4 of hearts hand.  He flopped one heart and then made runner, runner hearts to win with a straight-flush.  Amazingly, I finished 3rd in that hand, as the 3-bettor made a heart flush too (made the beat even more ridiculous, as their hands held four of the thirteen hearts). Crazy stuff!

Anyway, after losing that brutalizing hand, I had to let off steam.

About three hands later, I was dealt 2, 3 suited.  I preflop 3-bet a really tight player, who’d raised from early position.  Well, at least I held position on him.  It was heads-up, after no one else called.  We went to the flop: Ace-Ace-Jack. He checked and I did too. Perhaps because he sensed weakness, he bet into me when the turn brought a Jack – making the board Ace-Ace-Jack-Jack.  Sensing that he might have a counterfeited pre-flop raising hand – like a 9-9 pair, and more significantly just tired of losing, I raised (with nothing and no flush draw). Won it, when he folded!

Best part, my steaming play not only cleared my head, I made money off it. Went on after that to recover and walked out with a win.

Bottom line, either blow off steam and get over your tilt when it happens or end your session.  Playing tilted for any long stretch is often costly.

Postscript:  I thought about the hand and realized its surprising quirk. Played out (rather than won via betting), there's no hand I could ever beat with my 3 kicker playing (I might at best tie, by playing the board).  Even if a 2 opened on the river, making the board Ace-Ace-Jack, Jack and 2, I'd still be left in a tie against a theoretical 2-3 held by my opponent (if we had the same hand) and losing to every other hand he could have, including 2-2 (where he'd have made a winning full house).  Strange twist.

- E. Mark the "e-Shark" Gross