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"Don't nudge it like that! your going to tilt it."  

This was a common statement when I played my favorite pinball machine back in grade school. My friend Joey would always get impatient with the way the ball was rolling around and try to bang or nudge the machine. Sometimes it worked, but most of the time he managed to tilt the machine and away rolled his ball and his turn. 

That was my first introduction to the word tilt. There's many uses for the word tilt. Tilt-a-whirl, "Tilt" the smart phone, "Tilt" the energy drink. Heck, theres even a punk band named "Tilt". But we're taking about poker and in poker tilt means losing control and losing focus because of frustration. What caused the frustration? Who cares? I'm on tilt and I can't believe I lost that hand!  WHAT A DONK!  I'm going to get him! I'll show him! AAAAAAAAAARGGh!  ok, maybe your not that extreme, but we've all seen it and maybe felt it a little.

I'm writing all this to put my thoughts out there and be honest with myself. I'm hoping to remove as much tilt from my game as possible and understanding the causes, I believe, will be the best path for me to do so.  When it comes to tilting I was much worse when I first started playing. I've had my chat banned and I let way to many things at the poker table affect me instead of playing the best poker I can play. I've come a long way but I have a lot I plan to work on. I aspire for greatness.

Berry Johnston is a man I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know in 2005. He is a poker world champion, a hall of fame inductee, a great family man and a true gentleman. I could write pages about how much I admire this man as a poker player and as a person. His etiquette at the poker tables has been known for decades and the absence or tilt in him has always amazed me.  I'm sure bad beats bother him just like anyone else, but it's the way he takes the beats that I aspire to be like.

There is a popular story that is often talked of by poker players on the internet. At the 1985 final table. Down to three players. A critical hand developed between Berry Johnston and T.J Cloutier where they were all in before the flop. Soon it became clear that Berry was going to lose the hand. Then he got up, shook the players’ hands and wished them good luck. Then he walked up to his wife who asked him to accompany her for food. Without a touch of emotion he smiled and went to dinner with her.

I wish to be more like Berry every time I play poker. I wish to take it to the next level and feel the tilt coming...know that it's creeping up and just deal with it...swiftly..calmly. Before the flippers on the pinball machine stop responding and the little silver ball, just like the chips in front of me, slip away.
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