What You Can Learn About Bad Mojo From Poker

Last Updated on August 11, 2022 by Mia

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by Martin

A very close friend of mine, Kevin Cashmere, who is masterful with women got really into playing poker early this year.  Now, I’m not familiar with poker at all, but we started having a lot of conversations about the similarities between the emotional roller-coaster you experience as your fortunes wax and wane in poker and how similar it is to game.

One example of a valuable math concept that poker players often talk about is variance.  Variance means that even though the odds on any given coin flip are 50-50, that’s in the very long run and it’s very possible to have 10 heads in a row just because of chance.  In the dating game, this means that you could go for months with no results, and then BAM!  Suddenly, you’ve got more women than you know what to do with.  It would be nice if there was a steady predictable trickle of but, sadly, it’s often feast and famine.

When Outcomes Punch

While variance is an easy concept to understand, it’s really hard to accept it in the moment. You can be basking in the reminiscence of a night spent with a smokin’ girl one minute, and then the next minute another girl tells you that she can’t see you anymore.  You can have 2 or even 3 dates lined up all on the same day and BAM!

One has a cold, the other has work, and the third needs to have dinner with her family that night which leaves you in a deep funk. When that happens all hell can break loose.

My friend knows all about this. In the world of poker, there’s a term for letting your emotions get the better of you in a way that influences your decisions for the worse. In dating, this often means shooting off angry text messages to girls who don’t really deserve it, being overly aggressive in interacting with women, giving up, or a whole host of other detrimental behaviors.

Wrong-Side Up

When poker players are in this kind of negative zone, they call it, “going on tilt”.

From Wikipedia:

Tilt is a poker term for a state of mental or emotional confusion or frustration in which a player adopts a less than optimal strategy, usually resulting in the player becoming over-aggressive.

Placing an opponent on tilt or dealing with being on tilt oneself is an important aspect of poker. It is a relatively frequent occurrence due to frustration, animosity against other players, or simply bad luck. Experienced players recommend learning to recognize that one is experiencing tilt and avoid allowing it to influence one’s play.

It turns out that poker has a much deeper understanding of “tilt” because it’s such an important part of understanding poker and through talking more and more with Kevin, I thought I should see what I could learn that would be useful in the dating world.  I picked up a book that he recommended called, The Mental Game of Poker by Jared Tendler, M.S. with Berry Carter. There are so many valuable parallels between poker and the dating game that we just don’t have terms for.

…And Knowing Is Half the Battle

In fact, they break down “tilt” in to seven different categories that I (or anyone I’ve shared this with) will immediately recognize. I’ve taken these definitions straight from the book but with minor changes to make them relevant to dating:

  1. Running Bad Tilt: The tilt that’s caused by a run of bad or no results is not actually a unique type of tilt.  Instead, one (or more) of the other types of tilt happens so frequently in such a short amount of time that your mind can’t reset itself before the next time you interact with a woman.  As a result, tilt builds up and hangs over your head like a dark cloud.
  2. Injustice Tilt: Some loser cock-blocks you getting the girl you want, being unable to get a number from a mediocre girl, and seeing your buddy who has spent zero time or effort getting an easy layup are prime examples of triggers that make you feel cursed and make women and dating seem unfair.
  3. Hate-losing Tilt: Many players hate losing even though they realize how much variance impacts results in the short run.  Wanting to win is not the problem—the problem is how you handle the inevitable losses.
  4. Mistake Tilt: Making mistakes is frustrating for many logical reasons; these reasons just happen to be flawed because of inaccurate views about learning.
  5. Entitlement Tilt(this is one of my personal demons): It’s caused by believing that you deserve to win for x, y, or z reason.  Wining is a possession and you tilt when someone undeserving takes it from you.
  6. Revenge Tilt: Disrespect, constant aggressive action, and women thinking they’re too good for you are just a few of the reasons why you seek vengeance in this interaction with this girl or with the next one.
  7. Desperation Tilt: The urge to win your self-respect back is so strong, it makes you try even harder, going into even the most difficult situations like a girl out with 3 guys, or calling up that girl you dropped because she left skid marks on your sheets last time.

I know I’ve experience each and every one of these, and being able to recognize when you’re on tilt and take a step back to reset your mind is important.  There’s so much good stuff about how to deal with tilt that I’ll have cover in another article. In the meantime, realize that this is totally NORMAL, and try to notice what specific triggers put you on tilt so you can avoid them sooner and keep from being your own worst enemy.

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