Journal of gambling behavior

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 3–21 | Cite as

Going on tilt: Frequent poker players and control

  • Basil R. Browne


This paper is based on three years of participant observation in California's legal commercial card parlors and one year observation at an open meeting of Gamblers Anonymous (G.A.). The grounded concept, tilt, is advanced to describe the process of losing control in the gambling situation. Although some problem gamblers and most compulsive gamblers (members of G.A.) did not use this term, they, nonetheless, described the same process. Tilt is defined and broken down into its various components. Paths to, or ways of going on tilt and the means used to avoid tilt are spelt out. Hochschild's concept, emotion work, is used to describe how successful professionals stay off tilt. The major contention of the paper is that all gamblers experience tilt, and their reactions to tilt and to tilt-inducing situations partly determine whether or not gambling becomes a major problem. The implications of tilt are also discussed.


Problem Gambler Participant Observation Emotion Work Gambler Anonymous Poker Player 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Basil R. Browne
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for the Study of Social ChangeUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeley

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