Characteristics of Good Poker Players


  • Carrie A. Leonard Department of Psychology, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
  • Robert J. Williams Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada



poker, skill, individual differences, gambling, intelligence


Poker is characterized as a “mixed” game: a game that includes both skill and chance components. But what individual differences are characteristic of skilled poker players? No previous study has sought to evaluate the full scope of characteristics contributing to playing skill. The purpose of this study was to fill this void by attempting to comprehensively examining the individual characteristics associated with good poker players. Results from a sample of undergraduate students and community members (n = 100) showed that good players are more likely to be male, to have lower susceptibility to gambling fallacies, a greater tolerance for financial risk, superior social information processing skills, and less openness to aesthetic and imaginative experience. Evidence from this study also indicates that having sufficient levels of most of these attributes is more important for poker success than having exceptional strength in just one or two of these areas.






Original Article

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