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Can We Expect More Students Dropping out of Education to Play Poker or Has Online Poker Become too Challenging?

Olav Niri Talberg


Poker is a popular game, especially among male students. It is known to be highly time-consuming and might lead to players dropping out from education. Yet little is known about why it is so time-consuming. In this article, it is argued that developing and maintaining the requisite skill in poker is a continually ongoing process and the game is highly competitive. If a player is not capable of improving at the same or a higher rate as his or her opponents, that person will be bound to lose in the long run. Twelve young poker players and three “old-timers” were interviewed about changes in online poker and problems with combining poker and education. A thematic analysis was used, which concluded that prioritizing between poker and education can be understood in terms of a weight balance; if a student makes enough money from poker, then quitting school seems like a rational choice. If poker income decreases, then education becomes more important. Several of the informants have found themselves having to choose between poker and education. This study argues that poker has become more competitive and less popular in the last five years, making it harder to succeed as a professional player. Several of the informants described the poker population as more homogenous and with a higher level of skill than before. This, they claim, makes the game less profitable for the best players and that might reduce a student’s inclination to drop out of education.   


Le poker est un jeu populaire, particulièrement auprès des étudiants masculins. On sait qu’on peut y consacrer beaucoup de temps et que ce jeu peut même mener à l’abandon des études. On s’explique pourtant mal les raisons pour lesquelles les joueurs y consacrent tant de temps. Dans cet article, on explique que ce jeu est très compétitif et que pour maintenir et développer ses compétences, il faut s’y adonner de manière assidue. Si un joueur ne parvient pas à s’améliorer au même rythme que celui de ses adversaires ou à un rythme plus rapide, il perdra à long terme. Douze jeunes joueurs de poker et trois « vétérans » ont été sondés sur les changements dans le poker en ligne et les problèmes liés à la combinaison poker et études. On a utilisé une analyse thématique qui a permis de conclure que les priorités entre le poker et les études peuvent être comprises sur le plan de l’équilibre; si, par exemple, un étudiant fait assez d’argent au poker, quitter l’école semble alors être un choix rationnel. Si au contraire le revenu au poker diminue, les études deviennent alors plus importantes. Plusieurs personnes sondées ont révélé avoir eu à choisir entre le poker et les études. Cette étude fait aussi valoir que le poker est plus compétitif et moins populaire depuis les cinq dernières années, ce qui rend la réussite comme joueur professionnel d’autant plus difficile. Plusieurs ont décrit la population de joueurs comme étant plus homogène et ayant un niveau de compétence plus élevé qu’avant. Selon les répondants, le jeu serait devenu moins rentable pour les meilleurs joueurs, diminuant ainsi l’envie d’un étudiant d’abandonner ses études. 

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