Internet Poker: Examining Motivations, Behaviors, Outcomes, and Player Traits using Structural Equations Analysis


  • Michael D. Smith
  • Matthew C. Rousu
  • Paul Dion



Hypotheses explaining outcomes from internet poker were tested by using structural equations modeling: Personal characteristics and traits were proposed to influence motivation, leading to gaming behavior and then to outcomes. One hundred ninety-four participants from an internet poker forum completed online assessment. Three separate outcomes were supported: social-emotional gains, monetary winnings/losses, and negative experiences. One third of the participants reported some negative outcomes and 12% said these were significant; two thirds indicated no negative outcomes. Problems were most linked to the trait of Neuroticism, younger age, and more hours played, but unrelated to amounts won or lost. Gaming for social-emotional benefits mediated fewer negative outcomes. Financial gain motivation was a key mediator for gaming behavior. Findings were consistent with research showing negative emotionality and youth to be associated with poor gambling outcomes. The model suggests concrete actions that can be taken to minimize problem gaming while maximizing healthier involvement with online poker.






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