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In sports betting terminology, “steam” refers to a sudden rush of money all coming in on one team or total, which results in rapid line moves. However, it is worth pointing out that the popularity of most of the so-called “steam games” does not have to reflect objective circumstances – more often than not, they are just games that attract a mass of bettors for some rather irrational reason, at least from a professional punter’s perspective.

In poker lingo, “steam” refers to a mental state in which emotions overtake rational thought processes at a poker table. In such a situation, the player is prone to making angry, over-aggressive decisions. Consequently, steam is often listed as a synonym of tilt, but please note that being on steam usually implies a deeper state of emotional anguish.

Usage Example

1. “I bet a lot on the last week’s steam match.”

2. “Tom is having another steam session at Hold’em. He should learn to control his emotions or quit the session when this happens.”


There are many signs that may indicate that another player may be steaming in poker. Players who are on steam usually become angry, irritable and tend to quickly muck their hand or get into an argument with the other players in the game or even with the dealer. Whenever you see one of your opponents doing these things, you should reevaluate their play with steaming in mind.

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