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Teen Refuses To Purposely Lose Cash Prize Video Game Tournament To Appease An Angry Mom

A boy throwing a video game controller.
charnsitr/Getty Images

As the saying goes, “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose; it’s how you play the game.”

Indeed, there are those who truly don’t care when they lose, be it a board game or a sporting event, as it’s their love of doing it that gives them pleasure.

For others, however, winning is truly everything, and chances are, whether they win or lose, they are bound to be sore when the game concludes.

Redditor TamashiiSoul was excited to see that a tournament of one of his favorite pastimes was being held in his town, with a sizable cash prize for the winner.

The original poster (OP) proved to do quite well in the tournament, winning round after round.

However, one of his competitors did not appreciate the OP’s competitive nature, eventually finding himself being scolded for not throwing one of his games.

Wondering if he was in the wrong, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for not letting her son beat me in a tournament for $500”

The OP explained why he was scolded for doing well in a recent tournament and why he wasn’t willing to throw a game:

I (16 M[ale]) play and take fighting games seriously, and I wanted to try and play in a cash tournament for $500.”

“Where I am, there are no big events where I live like EVO, so when I saw there was a fighting game tournament where I live, I had to sign up.”

“When I got there there was little about 30 people in this gaming store so the owner of the store had to make more rules like each player has to run a set of 5 to make it longer and more fun.”

“For people that doesn’t know a set is when to players keep on playing until they lose or win and they have the chance to fight them again.”

“Then the event started I was doing good on the first half of the event winning most of my games.”

“Then I made it to the quarterfinals and that’s when I ran into the kid.”

“His mom was right next him because he looked really young around 10-12 but I didn’t mind it at all.”

“The first game started and I could clearly tell he doesn’t know what he is doing.”

“He was jumping every time he could to move and to fight so I started to counter him every time we he jumped towards me and I could tell that he was getting mad because he started to hit his buttons even harder like it will make the character hit harder.”

“After the whole set I one of course and he didn’t take the lost to well because he started crying and making a scene in front of everyone and his mom started to yell at me saying ‘why didn’t you let my son win the game!'”

“And I had to tell her that ‘I wasn’t gonna let him win and beat me because it was a tournament and it was for $500’.”

“It got broken up quickly because of the owner stepping in to break up the mother that was all in my face.”

“But the kid didn’t stop he just kept on yelling and almost broke the controller that the store owner let him borrow and it’s not like some basic PS5 controller is was a razor kitsune and that’s not cheap (around $300 – $330) but some guy that was also playing took it out of the kids hand.”

“The owner took the mother and the kid out the store and we just continued where we left off like that whole thing never happen.”

“So I’m wondering AITA for not letting him win and enjoy his first ever tournament or did I do the right thing?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP was not the a**Hole for not letting the child win at least one game.

Everyone agreed that the OP was under no obligation to throw a game in a tournament for which there was a cash prize and that the boy’s mother was very irresponsible for allowing her son to enter the tournament knowing how he would react if he lost.


“He will learn from this.”

“Also how the hell did he make it to the quarter-final if he was that bad?”- Sea-Eye-178


“The mother should be banned from the store for that episode, it’s easy to see why the kid is like that.”

“When playing for money, you don’t ‘let’ people win – particularly people who are poor sports.”-JsCTmav


“You’re not in the wrong here.”

“It’s not your fault that the kid didn’t know how to handle losing.”

“Competitive gaming is just that – competitive.”

“You signed up for the tournament to win, not to make sure some kid has a good time.”

“It’s not like you were playing against a toddler who didn’t know any better – this kid was old enough to understand the rules and the consequences of losing.”

“It’s understandable that the kid was upset, but his reaction was over the top and unacceptable.”

“And his mom shouldn’t have enabled his behavior by yelling at you for winning.”

“That’s not how the real world works.”

“In a tournament, you play to win.”

“That’s the whole point.”

“You didn’t cheat or do anything unethical – you just played the game better than the kid did.”

“It’s not your job to make sure everyone else is having fun.”

“Don’t feel guilty for winning.”

“You did nothing wrong.”

“The kid and his mom need to learn how to handle defeat with grace and maturity.”- HannahHeartz


“Take the L and leave, kid.”

“Imo, I’m more than willing to throw a match to a child or something.”

“But for a TOURNAMENT for 500$?”

“Nah I’m destroying this kid.”- Lechonkersgobonkers


“You’re never obligated to throw a competition.”

“Learning to lose with grace is an important lesson.”- Thermicthermos

“NTA at all.”

“You were playing in a tournament with money on the line.”

“The mom was trying to bully you into losing so her precious son would win OR she would get the prize money OR both.”- KronkLaSworda


“Letting a kid have a win at home is one thing (although, if the kid is 10-12 I would consider not holding back unless they were new to the game).”

“Tournament is a whole other beast, especially if there’s money involved.”- seregil42


“If it was casual play, and the mom was cute, then do whatever you want, throw the game, whatever.”

“But for a competitive tournament, that would be ridiculous.”

“Both the child and the mother should have set expectations that it is competitive, he might lose.”

“Even if you took it easy on him the very next player at the very next tournament might not do so, so better just rip that Band-Aid now.”- GillianSeed85


“When you are playing casually, you adjust your play style to make it fun for everyone involved – so dialling it back and giving him a chance would be understandable.”

“When you are playing for money, you play to win.”- Nrysis

“You did the kid a service.”

“Everyone needs to taste defeat at some point.”

“It’ll teach him about himself and makes winning all that much sweeter.”

“NTA.”- No_Excuse1639

“NTA, you’re trying to win a prize in a competitive tournament, it’s just plainly absurd that you would willingly throw one of the matches.”

“Is she going to give you the $500 dollars if her kid wins the tournament?”

“Nah, of course she isn’t.”

“Think about it, mate, she got thrown out along with her stroppy little brat.”

“The owner intervened.”

“Another player intervened.”

“You remained, and the woman and her kid left.”

“Why would any of this leave you to wonder if you were in the wrong at all?”- Specific-Street-8441


“It’s sh*t parenting when she refuses to teach her kid how to lose.”

“Good luck getting into the real world without mommy protecting him.”

“Probably end up quitting everything he tries because he can’t hack losing and becoming a deadbeat.”

‘Not his fault, blame it on sh*t parenting.”- SuperLeverage

‘NTA, it is a competitive tournament and the assumption is everyone is trying to win.”

“He needs to learn that sometimes you lose games, and winning is not guaranteed.”

“I do wonder though, did you win the tournament?”- hoenndex

Had this been a friendly game at the OP’s house, it’s somewhat understandable that the boy’s mother might have expected the OP to throw a game or two.

However, assuming people would let her son win when a $500 prize was involved was wishful thinking to the point of ludicrous.

Then, too, as many people pointed out, this boy needed to learn that he will not always win, and it would have been infinitely more valuable for her to teach her son how to be a good sport rather than complain to the OP for winning fair and square.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.