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Experienced poker players differ from inexperienced poker players in estimation bias and decision bias

Jakob Linnet, Line Gebauer, Howard Shaffer, Kim Mouridsen, Arne Møller


This paper investigates the similarity or difference in cognitive bias on a poker task between experienced poker players (EPPs) and inexperienced poker players (IPPs). EPPs were compared with IPPs on probability estimation (estimation bias) and choice (decision bias). It was hypothesized that EPPs would have lower estimation bias and lower decision bias compared with IPPs, and that a player's level of experience could be identified from gambling behavior. Results indicate that EPPs significantly overestimated accepted gambles, but had significantly smaller estimation bias and decision bias compared with IPPs. All players could accurately be classified as "experienced" or "inexperienced" based on their estimation bias and decision bias. It is concluded that EPPs have significantly lower estimation bias and decision bias than do IPPs on the poker task presented in this research study. Despite significantly higher overestimation, EPPs make better decisions than IPPs. These findings are posited to have implications for the study of cognitive bias in pathological gambling and addiction.

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