Full Tilt


People who gamble know the meaning of going “on tilt.” Tilt happens when things are going poorly, and you get frustrated, and try to win all or most of your money back right away (which usually results in losing more). I’ll give an example.

Let’s say I’m playing poker. I start out pretty well, winning a few hands here and there and steadily gaining chips. All of a sudden, lady luck decides to rain on my parade. I can’t get a good hand and when I do someone else gets lucky and wins. Now I’m down to a fraction of the chips I once had, and I’m extremely frustrated by how it has happened.

The smartest thing to do in this scenario is to keep grinding; keep playing solid poker, and eventually I will catch some breaks. But this is hard to do because of tilt. Now I’m in a hand and I have a straight draw. Let’s say I have Ace, King, Jack, 10. Two cards left to come out, which means I have nothing at the moment. But if can get a Queen then I’ll have a straight and be in business! You following?

Now, my opponent is betting heavily, meaning he isn’t messing around. He has a good hand, and I know I am beat. The chances of one of these next two cards being a Queen aren’t good. The smart thing to do is let it go and move on. But I look at how much money is the pot, and I realize how badly I want to get back to where I was…I start mentally calculating how much money I’d have if I get that straight…”Eff it, I’m all in. Come on Queen! Please…I’m begging just give me a Queen for the love.”

This was the Pacers last night. Like broken down gamblers, begging for a break. They have dug themselves into a hole, but there was that 1.1% chance that we could hit our Queen, or John Wall. Then we would have hope, we would suddenly be back on track.

The cards came out.

No Queen.

Danny Granger put his head down on the table, and summed up most Pacer fans’ thoughts, “When are we going to get a break?”

With a 1.1% chance of catching the #1, it should not have been disappointing to stay at 10. It should have been expected. (It’s like picking up Vince Carter in the off-season and then being surprised when he gets nervous and fails in the Conference Finals, you should know that is going to happen. wait…)

But it was disappointing, because we were desperate. This rebuilding process we are going through hasn’t really taken shape. I can’t tell what direction we are headed, and it is hard to imagine a situation where the Pacers are competitive in the Eastern Conference.

We are on tilt and we missed our big break. Now it looks like we’ll have to grind it out and slowly work our way to respectability. It’s going to take sound decisions, a lot of patience and maybe a little luck too.

We’re due for a break.