Poker is a game of tension and extremely high emotions. To be successful, you must be able to control yourself, particularly if you’re not having the best of luck.
If you can’t do that, you are very likely to end up on “tilt”, or “tilting”.
This term refers to a player being overly frustrated and then aggressive in how they play their hands.
Usually this tactic is harmful to the player’s chances, because they aren’t betting with any sensibility and are therefore vulnerable to opponents taking advantage of them, having spotted their tilt.
Commonly, a tilt is caused by a damaging defeat like getting a bad beat, or losing a big hand with a massive pot.
Players can be negatively impacted by that, which ultimately clouds their judgement for any future hands as they attempt to right the wrong that they feel hit by.
It can also be created by an argument amongst players following a past hand, and they then desperately want to get one over on their opponent.
5. Phil Hellmuth vs Huck Seed
Known as the “Poker Brat”, Phil Hellmuth often finds himself on tilt when things aren’t going his way.
Despite not losing very big bets in this case, Huck Seed expertly makes use of Hellmuth’s erratic behaviour at the table to leave his opponent raging.
Initially, Hellmuth follows Huck’s Flush in with only a Pair of Aces, and the loss leaves him far from pleased, especially when the latter bet $16,000.
You can see that the red mist has instantly descended, and Seed’s aggressive play means he is constantly on the back foot.
Hellmuth folds after the Flop in the following hand, with his adversary holding a Three of a Kind with 8s, chuntering to himself about how the game has been a “joke”.
He gradually becomes more frustrated, leading to more bets that are out of character for him.
When he loses to a Two Pair thanks to a High card, Hellmuth gets up from his seat and continues to moan about his bad luck.
Seed eventually reacts to his actions, taunting Hellmuth that he knew he had him beaten, and that he could’ve taken even more money off of him.
4. Vanessa Selbst vs Scott Seiver
Going all-in before the Flop is an incredibly risky move, as Vanessa Selbst shows in this clip against Scott Seiver.
Selbst has an absolute nightmare when she does so with an Ace and a Jack against Seiver’s Pocket Aces. That leaves her with only a 4% chance of winning the hand.
To make such a move you would have to be tilting, especially when she only had to match her opponent’s $6,000 bet.
Instead, she put her entire $150,000 stack on the line, and when Seiver goes all-in with his $632,000 she knows it’s all over for her.
The Flop adds a 4, 5 and a 10, doing her no favours at all, but to rub salt into the wound the final Ace is produced on the Turn, confirming her exit.
Selbst is quite clearly livid and leaves the table straight away, but the camera follows her walking away.
She then tells the cameraman to stop filming and to “go away”, before physically moving it away from her.
3. Phil Ivey vs Columba Duffy
Despite having a reputation for being one of the coolest people in the game, even Phil Ivey can succumb to a tilt.
He grows increasingly frustrated against Columba Duffy, who eventually wins a pot worth $50,650.
Ivey has the Ace and 5 of Spades, and after the Flop he needs one more of that suit to achieve a Flush.
However, Duffy has Three of a Kind Jacks and an 8 on the side, so he is in a much more favourable position.
But this hand gets seriously interesting when the Turn pulls out the 8 of Spades; allowing Ivey to complete a Flush, while Duffy now has a Full House.
With the River practically irrelevant, the players lock into a betting duel.
Ivey raises $2,375 bet to $9,000, before adding another $12,700 to the pot after the River, attempting to knock Duffy out of the game by using his last remaining chips.
He does so though, and looks absolutely delighted.
For some reason, Ivey takes exception to his celebration, and proceeds to vent his anger at Duffy, even though he has no one to blame but himself.
2. Scott Seiver vs Phil Laak
Having taken Vanessa Selbst out with Pocket Aces in the earlier video, Scott Seiver finds himself on the wrong end of a tilt with the same cards against Phil Laak.
Seiver immediately raises to $10,000 after the deal, but is called by the other three players.
He then has a massive 73.5% chance of winning when an Ace comes up on the Flop to give him Three of a Kind, alongside a 10 and a 5.
At that point, Laak’s eyes begin to light up, as he holds a 4 and a 2 from the deal, so he now only requires a 3 to be produced for a Straight.
After calling Seiver’s $17,000 bet, his luck is in on the Turn.
When Laak adds another $15,000 to the pot it should be a warning sign for Seiver, but he totally ignores it and raises to $50,000.
The River delivers a King, so Seiver should realise at this point that he is in trouble.
Unbelievably, he goes all-in with his $231,000 stack, and Laak calls with his remaining total of $81,500.
The cards are turned over, and Seiver looks furious at his defeat and starts talking to himself, though not quite as passionately as Phil Hellmuth is famous for.
1. Phil Hellmuth vs Daniel Negreanu
Speaking of Hellmuth, he showcases another of his infamous mental explosions in three consecutive hands against Daniel Negreanu.
In the first of those hands, Hellmuth manages to pull a Full House of two Kings and three 9s, but still loses.
Negreanu gets into his head from the deal, and despite having nothing but an 8 and a 6, raises to $140,000.
Incredibly, Hellmuth folds immediately despite his position, and the tilt really begins.
In between hands Negreanu continues to wind his opponent up, while Hellmuth bemoans his supposed bad luck.
When he is beaten in the next hand with only a Pair of 5s, missing out on a pot of $250,000, he puts his head in his hands and walks away from the table while repeatedly swearing at himself.
After returning to the table, he is still angry about his lack of success to the amusement of the commentators and the other players.
It only takes Hellmuth until the Turn to pull off a straight, but he gets an awfully bad beat on the River when Negreanu completes a Flush.
The Canadian bets $50,000 just to annoy Hellmuth even further, and when the cards are turned over Hellmuth starts to fume again.
Hellmuth leaves the table once more before continuing his rant, while the players and commentators cannot control their laughter at his expense.