As I’m sitting here writing this, I’m listening to Tech House Mix #1. There is only one lyric to the entire track, which is ‘Cocaine!’ I have never done cocaine, and I never plan on doing cocaine, but I do know that it makes you feel good (temporarily). I’m hoping this beat combined with my Bing energy drink will lead to one hell of an article on 5 ways to feed tilt. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. I’ll explain why.
Two weeks ago, I wrote an article: Adapting to Short-Handed Poker. I wrote it after having a great one-hour conversation with a friend. Also drank Red Bull as I wrote it. I wrote about everything from short-handed play to disco balls to aliens. I thought that would be my best article yet. But I’m terrible at predicting what readers will and won’t like.
What I love is rarely the same as what readers love. Then I’ll write an article or book that seems standard to me and it’s loved by the masses. I don’t get it. All I can do is be me. Whatever happens after that is out of my control. Kind of like making the correct decisions in poker and whatever happens after that is out of my control.
However … there is one thing I do know. If you’re a heartless SOB and you want to make money at the poker table at all costs, and without any care for forming relationships, then you have come to the right place. I’m not going to judge you. I used to do the same thing. When I hit a very tough financial time about 7-8 years ago, I turned to poker to pay the bills. It went well.
It went well for a few reasons. The most important reason is that I always selected soft games. Every single time. Ego played no role. I was a cash game player at the time, so I was able to select my tables. At least to a certain extent. I would literally walk around the room, watch each table, and request to be seated at a specific table. Unlike most poker pros, I always went for the passive table. Hear me out on this poker strategy.
You will not make as much money at passive tables, but this is another one of those situations where most people aren’t looking deeper. If you play at a loose table, you will have to deal with more variance. If you play at a passive table, your per-hour potential will be lower, but if you look at your numbers after 50 sessions, you’re likely to have a better per-hour rate by playing against passive competition.
It’s so simple. In this game, you will get more folds. You’re playing against scared money. The saying is “Scared Money Don’t Win.” If that’s the case and you’re playing in that game without being scared money, what do you think it means for you? It means $.
What I write about in this article is not something I take pride in. I was a different person back then. I was ruthless and relentless. I’m still relentless, but I’m no longer ruthless. There is another reason I would choose those passive tables.
If I were playing at a loose table and I tilted them up, not much would change. Of course, a lot would change in reality, but I wouldn’t be able to detect the difference well because loose is already their style of play. When I played at a passive table and titled people up, the difference in their play would be apparent. They would increase their number of hands played. Once that door opened for me, they were toast.
Unlike today, a lot of people hated me at that time. Prior to reading the following, I want to put that out there. Only apply the poker tips below if you’re prepared for being hated. These poker tips should only be applied if money is your #1 priority at this time. Even then it’s questionable.
FEED TILT #1: SHOW A BLUFF
This is obvious if you want to feed poker tilt, but notice that the subheading isn’t ‘Show Bluffs.’ There is a big difference between showing a bluff and showing multiple bluffs.
These days, I almost never show my cards. Every time you do that, you’re giving away information. I like it when someone says to me after an hour or two: “You still haven’t shown your cards once.”
However, let’s say you want to get someone on tilt. You want to target someone that you think can go on tilt with ease. I’ll teach you a trick for this. You want to pick someone with a negative attitude. This can be someone who complains often or is simply down on life. They are going to tilt much faster than other players. And this is much easier to do than you think.
Almost every single poker table has someone who complains about not getting cards, getting sucked-out, or about another player’s decisions. These people have already made it obvious that they’re not composed. These are your targets. Once you get them on tilt, forget about it! They’re toast. They’re going to rush their play, especially against you.
Do not show your target multiple bluffs. If you do this, you’re giving away too much information to the entire table. You’re also going to lose your table image, which means you will need to start catching cards vs. other players going forward. You never want to rely on catching cards because that doesn’t happen as often as you think.
Stick to showing one bluff to your target. It’s going to embarrass them. It might embarrass them to the point where they berate you at the table. This might be uncomfortable, but it’s exactly what you want. DO NOT REPLY!
If you reply, it’s going to come off as defensive. This will indicate that you’re an amateur to the rest of the players at the table. Instead, remain stoic. This will accomplish two goals. One, it will cause your target to tilt even more since they’re seeking a reaction. Two, it will show the rest of the table that you’re a professional that doesn’t budge emotionally.
In at least 80% of these situations, if you play it correctly and you remain patient and stoic, your target will lose all their chips within one hour of you showing that bluff. And as far as that bluff goes, it doesn’t need to be a big bluff. The best way to do it is to put in a big pre-flop raise to isolate this player. If you have position on them, do it when your target already limped. This type of player will feel committed and likely call. These players don’t eat pre-flop bets when necessary like they should.
If they have position, wait until everyone folds to you and then put in a pre-flop raise that you think only your target will call. If you don’t succeed, keep trying until you get there. Your cards are irrelevant. This is a long-term game plan so all of the target’s chips are gone within one hour.
Always c-bet when heads-up against this player with the knowledge that a player only hits the flop approximately 1/3 of the time. And if you happen to hit with a hand like 85, then you don’t even need to show a bluff. You can win the hand right there. Your target will never put you on that kind of hand. There is a good chance they will rebuy for revenge. That will be a bad decision on their part, but it’s what we want.
I have obviously been focusing on cash games here, but this can also be applied as poker strategy for tournaments. The only difference is that your target is unlikely to end up back at your table in poker tournaments. But it’s still possible in smaller events. And look at it this way. If it’s a smaller event and that player ends up back at your table, you can collect his chips a second time. Therefore, this is a strong poker strategy for tournaments. For most people, once they’re on tilt, they’re not coming back from it.
FEED TILT #2: TELL A BLUFF STORY
You’re not going to tell a story as in something with a beginning, a middle, and an end. After you win a hand when your opponent mucked and you didn’t have to show, make up hole cards that would indicate a bluff and verbalize those hole cards: “Seven-four off.”
You probably had AQs, but that’s not the point. Your opponent is going to say something like, “Yeah right” or “Okay, sure.”
This might make it seem like they don’t care, but if they didn’t care, they wouldn’t say anything. They’re saying something because they want you to confirm that you were kidding and that they made a good decision by folding. They’re really trying to avoid embarrassment.
When they fire back with “Yeah right” or “Okay, sure,” shrug your shoulders. They won’t reveal it, but this will drive them insane. By you being nonchalant and not needing to sell your story, it will appear as though you were telling the truth. At that point, your opponent is going to feel as though he was outplayed. If he’s like most people, he will make a mistake, which is to take the game personally. From there, he will rush his play, especially against you. Now he’s on tilt. You might benefit from that.
FEED TILT #3: EMBARRASS THEM CASUALLY
Embarrassment is obviously a common theme when feeding tilt, but this feed tilt poker strategy is a little different. Instead of showing a bluff or telling a bluff story, you’re taking a different route. You have to search for the right angle, but it shouldn’t be difficult.
Here are some options. If a player at the table has a dirty stack, let them know. This might seem unimportant, but you’re casually pointing out that they’re not paying attention. This is more of a jab that a hook, but it will have a slight impact. If you want to hit a little harder, look for someone who doesn’t have their highest-denomination chip in front of their stack or on top of their stack. Point it out. That’s a good one, but we can still hit way harder than that.
Let’s say someone has perfectly parted hair, you can say, “Did you just get your hair parted?”
If someone is wearing an old-looking jacked, you can say, “Is your jacket Member’s Only?”
If someone is obviously straight and confident, ask: “Did your boyfriend come with you today?”
He will likely say, “What the hell are you talking about?”
Your reply: “Oh. My bad. I thought I saw you here with your boyfriend here last time I played.”
If you throw that one down, he is complete toast. You will have created an enemy, but his chips will be gone within an hour. You just don’t know if those chips will go to you.
Another option is to make a phone call and pace behind the strongest player at the table for 10-15 minutes. He will get edgy, which will eventually lead to him asking you to stop. This is something he won’t be able to help, which will embarrass him. You will now have taken away all his focus and he well go on tilt.
Like I said, these aren’t tactics I use today. You are going to create enemies. Therefore, you must decide what’s more important to you: friends or money. Years ago, it was money for me, but things changed. I now value friends more. Despite a large following, I don’t have many close friends. That’s by choice. I don’t let many people in. Only the people where I sense a natural connection and I trust them 100%.
FEED TILT #4: PLAY A WEAK HAND
Whether it’s cash games or poker tournaments, if it’s Texas Hold’em poker, you want to be selective with your starting hands. The players who last are the ones who wait for the right spots. That said, what if there is a strong player at your table and no matter what you do, you can’t get this dude on tilt? What do you do?
There is a solution to feed poker tilt here. You want to play a weak hand against this player. Unlike above, the goal here is to hit the board and win the pot with a weak hand. You might have to try this several times, but always fold early when you miss to minimize your losses. If this player has a big stack, it’s worth the risk.
The objective is to hit the hand and reveal the winner at showdown. He’s likely to make a comment when he sees that you called a 3x BB raise out of position with T9s. He will think you made a bad decision. What he doesn’t know is that it was part of our game plan and part of the bigger picture. This was done intentionally to get him on tilt.
This situation is also different verbally. He might say something like, “You called my raise with T9?”
Your reply should be something like: “Is that bad?”
This indicates you’re a rookie, but he will know by your demeanor that this isn’t the case. He will then figure out that you made that call on purpose in an effort to put him on tilt. At that point, he will realize that you outplayed him on a psychological level. Now he’s going to press the action. All those chips he methodically accumulated will likely be gone within an hour. That’s the case for most players, not all. Some players aren’t fazed by much, but you will know those players immediately. Stay away from them.
FEED TILT #5: CONTINUOUS CONVERSATION
It doesn’t matter if you’re playing cash or a poker tournament for this one. As long as it’s Texas Hold’em poker. If you play other variations in poker rooms, you’re going to see a higher level of play and the players are less likely to tilt.
Assuming you’re playing Texas Hold’em poker and you want to implement a feed tilt poker strategy, this one is easy. Your target is the person with the most chips at the table. Once you establish that target, begin talking to them, regardless of where they’re sitting. Ask them where they’re from, their occupation, if they’re on vacation, if they have any kids, if they’re going to Las Vegas in the summer, etc. It doesn’t matter what you talk about, as long as you keep the conversation going.
This player had been feeling good. They were likely running good and playing good. They were highly focused and in the zone. You stepped in and took them out of that zone. They are not going to like that one bit. And they can’t tell you to stop or ignore you because they will look like a jerk, which would be self-inflicted negative energy on their part. They are trapped.
There is a 99.9% chance they will lose focus. This doesn’t mean their run-good will be over, but they sure as hell aren’t going to play as well. We don’t know if you will be the one to benefit from that, but you at least created the opportunity.
I want to stress that I don’t recommend this approach. Even if you need money now, these tactics can have a negative long-term impact on your reputation in the poker world. When I applied them, nobody knew anything about me. I literally had three friends on Facebook and I was completely under the radar.
If you do choose to apply these tactics, you will likely make more money. This is a decision you need to make on your own. If you choose to go this route, the five best ways to feed tilt include showing a bluff, telling a bluff story, casually embarrassing your opponent, playing a weak hand vs. a strong opponent on purpose, and continuous conversation.
See you soon, on the felt at the WSOP!