The difference between steaming and tilting at the poker table

There are various notions to master the art of being a successful player, but an essential hack is being able to keep your emotions in check. The few seconds that a player gets angry, annoyed or bitter after losing, could lead to poor decisions and eventually, a drastic loss. If you have ever participated in a poker game at a table, then you know that it is possible for one to lose their minds, after a streak of loses.

‘Steam’ is a common slang word meaning that a person is angry. In poker, a steaming poker is one that is so angry with the direction of the game that it affects their tilt.

Tilt is commonly used to describe a change in position or direction. ‘Tilting’ is a term used in poker games to define how a player changes his or her gameplay due to the effects of being beat.

It is essential to understand the difference and the relationship between the two terms, as in poker games. Here is a more detailed explanation of steaming and tilting.

Poker Steaming Explained

A player is said to be steaming if they are chasing money that they have lost with cash they cannot afford to lose. For example, Player A has £400 for gambling tonight. Unfortunately, he goes through a series of fails and the money is finished. However, instead of stopping and exiting the game, he outsources for more money (funds that he cannot afford to lose) and tries to chase the money he lost, using his new bankroll.

Wise poker players set a bankroll limit and are disciplined enough to stop once the money is depleted. If you have set a loss limit of £400, then you should stop at £399 and exit the game. Even if you have lost money, remember that its money you can afford to lose.

Nevertheless, gambling has a compelling effect on people’s way of thinking. A steaming player will often insist that their luck will eventually change, at which point they will win back all their lost money. Although we cannot completely rule out the possibility of luck, we cannot depend on luck to win.

What makes steaming so different from tilting is the fact that you have to be using the money you cannot afford to chase previous losses. In the heat of the game, it is difficult for the ‘steaming’ player to take notice of his actions and reactions. Regardless, other players on the table take note and take advantage.

How to manage to steaming in poker

  • Play with you thinking, not your feelings. Before joining the poker game, you must have been well aware that you can either win or lose. Fact is, your emotions cannot help you to win, only your thinking can. Think before making any move.
  • Do not under any circumstances, go past your bankroll limit. Think about it; is it worth it losing money you cannot afford to lose for cash already lost?
  • Even if you are in the steaming stage, do not let it show. Your opponents will notice and take full advantage of your feelings. Some will make moves that trick you into staking money in the game. Keep your feelings to yourself and maintain an indifferent facial expression.

Poker Tilting Explained

Tilting in poker is whereby there is poor play due to frustrations at the poker table. Various things can push a player to ’tilting’ in poker. For instance, a player who has not caught any good hands for an extended period can become frustrated to the point of playing any hand, regardless of how reckless it is.

There are different degrees or varieties of ’tilt.’ Contrary to common belief, tilting is not always about moving all-in on any hand, due to frustrations from a bad beat.

When you enter a pot with an opponent because you are looking to having an even score with them after they outplayed you, you are going on tilt. By doing this, you are turning the game personal, which is the start of a significant loss.

By playing against an opponent just because they have beat you on pots, you are seriously on tilt. Remember that in poker, your primary should be to win money and not pots. Also, chasing draws is a form of tilt that you should avoid at all costs.