Triggers at the Poker Table: Navigating Tilt with Mindset Mastery

PBC Project
21 Feb 2024
21 Feb 2024

A trigger is specific sensory input information that, when interpreted in our brain, initiates a certain reaction

Essentially, our entire life is all about encountering trigger situations to which we react. This applies to poker as well.

Decoding Tilt: The Impact of Emotions in Poker

It's hardly a secret to anyone that our emotional state influences our thinking and actions.

Emotions can either support us by providing functional energy or hinder us by disrupting our mental balance.

In poker, the latter is called 'tilt'.

At the core of poker tilt can lie various emotions, whether it be anger, resentment, fear, or despair. All these emotions impact our cognitive functions causing the brain to operate somewhat distortedly. Since poker is an intellectual game, such destructive states prevent players from realizing their full potential and skills in the game. This, in turn, has a negative impact on their overall expectations of the game.

In the book "The Mental Game of Poker" by Jared Tendler, there is a chapter dedicated to various types of tilt. If you haven't read this book yet, don't miss the opportunity to enhance your mental skills. In addition to classifying tilt, the author suggests techniques to help you deal with tilt more quickly or even avoid it altogether.

In this article we will discuss trigger situations that induce tilt.

Forewarned is Forearmed: Anticipating and Managing Tilt in Poker

If you are aware of how your emotional state changes, you can track the situations at the tables that lead to its alteration.

The transition from one mental state to another always has a reason.

By monitoring your emotional state during the game and focusing on situations that prompt its change — as well as taking notes and recording your observations — you can gradually build a full database of trigger situations that affect your mental state.

This will enable you to comprehend the structure of your tilt and the underlying mental reasons for its occurrence. Additionally, by compiling a wide range of triggers, you can foresee situations during the game that may have a negative impact on you, adhering to the principle that "forewarned is forearmed".

In addition, by understanding what exactly in your psyche makes a certain situation triggering, you will have the opportunity to gradually alter your attitude towards this situation. This, in turn, will lead to less intense changes in your emotions over time. And if you manage to eliminate the roots of the perception problem the trigger may cease to activate altogether.

Building a Tilt Database: Tracking Emotional Shifts

An effective way to gather information about triggers is through specialized training sessions, preferably playing at fewer tables than normal.

Focus your attention on identifying trigger situations during the game. 

You can use various types of software to record video and voice while verbalizing your thoughts about a particular triggering situation during the game. 

Additionally, don't be lazy to mark hands in your tracker that lead to a change in your emotional state. It can be very useful.

If you find yourself tilting continue recording your voice and thoughts. This will help you later in analyzing what specifically changes your decision-making process due to tilt.

So we wish you success in enhancing the mental side of your poker skills! Until next time, good luck, grinders!

There are no comments here yet, you can be the first!