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Staying in Control when Playing Poker Online
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Much like when you place a sports bet, gamble in a casino or even try your luck at playing bingo, when you choose to play poker online you do, of course, need to stay in control and have a sensible playing strategy in place. You stand just as much chance of losing when playing poker as when you set about gambling in any shape or form, but the most poker players know there is an element of skill about that game and each of the many different poker game variants, and that is what they are looking to exploit when playing. This article is going to be reminding you of the days of losing control when playing poker online and will additionally ensure that you are away of the many additional tools and options you can take as an online real money poker player to allow you to stay in control when playing too. The first thing I always do advise anyone that wishes to venture into the online poker environment, however, is to first and foremost ensure the sites they choose to play at, if living in the United Kingdom, are those that hold a full UK Gambling Commission issued gambling license. That way above all else you will know the games are fair, your funds are secure at those sites, too, and you will have a range of responsible gambling tools and option settings at your disposal when playing at such sites, too. As for just how you can remove the risk of you being tempted to gamble at those Non GamStop poker sites in the future, well one quite and easy way you can stop yourself from ever being in a position to sign up to those other sites, is by simply downloading a blocker tool onto your computer and mobile devices. Taking Steps to Give Up Gambling You may have come to the conclusion that you do have a gambling problem and when you do then you will always need to know just what help and support is available to you, and there is plenty of support out there if you are prepared to reach out and ask for it. As for what ways you can set about getting help and support with any gambling problems you do have, spend as much time as you need and require checking out websites such at both the Gamblers Anonymous and GamCare websites. They both offer a lot of practical advice and will certainly point you in the right direction of where to get help with any gambling problems. Keep in mind though that once you do admit to yourself that you have a gambling problem you are going to have to start closing down online and mobile gambling site accounts that you have, and that could take you quite some time of course if you have lots of such accounts open. However, you can head on over to the GamStop website right now and what you can do when you arrive at their website is sign up to their United Kingdom gambling industry wide self-exclusion register. On you have signed up onto that register all United Kingdom-based gambling site operators are then going to close your accounts with them down and to ensure you do not try to gamble at those sites again in the future each of them will block you from being able to do so. Stay Away from Non-UK Licensed Poker Sites One final thing that you need bringing to your attention, if you are now determined to give up playing poker and gambling online, is that there are quite a number of casinos, poker and other gambling sites that are not located or licensed in the United Kingdom. That does, of course, mean that even if you do sign up to the GamStop self-exclusion register you are still always going to be more than welcome to sign up to and then gamble at those other sites and will never be blocked form doing so even if you are on that register. A gambling site blocker as they are known has one simple yet highly effective purpose and that is to block you from being able to access any website that is related to gambling, and therefore by not being able to access those sites you will never have the chance of giving in to temptation and gambling at any of them.
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Home Game Heroes Get A Shot To Battle The 888poker Ambassadors
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888poker is giving their players at shot at taking on their ambassadors including Vivian Saliba, Sofia Lovgren, and Dominik Nitsche. Whether watching some of the biggest names in poker at the World Series of Poker, Poker After Dark or any other poker-related show, recreational poker players from all over the world have had the same thought on at least one occasion – “I’d love to test myself and battle against the pros.” If this resonates and hits home, then take note that 888poker is giving all home game heroes and casual poker room players the chance to do just that – battle against the pros. It has never been easier to do so either, there’s no need to navigate a collection of satellite tournaments to get this opportunity. All you need to do is convince the 888poker team why you should be the one to play against the 888poker Ambassadors. Three players will be selected to sit in an exclusive Six Max Sit & Go and battle it out against Dominik Nitsche, Sofia Lövgren, and Vivian Saliba. The winner will walk away with a $1,400 first-place prize while second place will add $600 to their bankroll. Those that want to test their poker skills against their poker idols, go to the 888poker Facebook page and leave a comment. Entries need to be submitted no later than February 16 at 11 pm GMT to be considered. All selected players will be notified within three days and those winners will have a further 72 hours to confirm their seat at the table. This competition also gives poker players another item that can be ticked off their poker bucket list – playing a live-streamed event. The tournament is being aired live on February 22 with World Series of Poker sideline reporter and current 888poker ambassador Kara Scott calling the action alongside veteran poker commentator David Tuchman. Meet The 888poker Pros The selected players will be up against tough opposition, competing against the trio of 888poker pros Vivian Saliba, Sofia Lövgren, and Dominik Nitsche. With almost $20 million in winnings between the three pros, the selected players will need to pull out all the stops to prove they’ve got what it takes to swim with the sharks. Dominik Nitsche With 4 WSOP bracelets, a World Poker Tour title, and over $18 million in tournament earnings, taking the scalp of the German national is definitely a story that would go down a storm at the local card room or home game. This of course will be no mean feat to pull off but running the right bluff or making the most hero of calls could be all it takes to take this poker titan down. Vivian Saliba Brazilian-born Saliba mainly cuts her cloth on the PLO streets but is no stranger or slouch to No Limit Hold’em either and can be often found streaming on Twitch under the username ViviSaliba. With 14 WSOP cashes and over $500k in prize money won, navigating past this pro will be harder than avoiding an Ace on the flop when holding pocket kings. Sofia Lövgren The third and final 888poker ambassador taking a seat at the table is Sofia Lövgren. One of the notable highlights in her poker career is a 12th place finish in the 2016 WSOP $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Millionaire Maker for $75,000. With over 7,000 entries into that tournament, Lövgren shows she’s got the patience and composure to wait for her spot and punish anyone who slips up. What’s At Stake The prizes up for grabs in this golden opportunity are nothing to roll your eyes at either, the winner of the Ambassadors Home Game will take home a tidy four-figure score of $1,400 with the runner-up winning a bankroll boosting $600. Also, of note, while players may have plenty of reasons they think they should be considered – there’s a limit of only one submission per player.
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When Relationships Fall Victim to Problem Gambling
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Many celebrate love, romance, and relationships during February and on Valentine’s Day. While no relationship is perfect, some endure significant hardship due to the presence of addiction, and gambling addiction is no exception. Did you know that relationship problems have been the top reported reason for seeking help by contacts to the 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine for more than a decade? Contrary to social stigmas, individuals who struggle with problem gambling are not able to simply stop. Gambling addiction rewires the brain much in the same way as substance abuse, yet the symptoms are unseen, leaving loved ones unaware until the gambler hits “rock bottom.” Feelings like shame, guilt, and stress also flood these individuals and leave them hiding the consequences of problem gambling, exacerbating relationship difficulties and preventing them from seeking needed supports. Family members and other loved ones often do not know the extent of the gambler’s behaviors or debt. Over the past year, 76% of 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine contacts reported the presence of family conflict, and 52% indicated family neglect as a result of problem gambling, with some also experiencing domestic violence and abuse [1]. It is imperative to understand that for every case of problem gambling, an average of 8-10 additional people are affected — often those closest to the gambler.  Research published in the Asian Journal of Gambling Issues and Public Health found that the negative effects of their partner’s gambling problems centered on four key areas — financial loss, emotional distress, impairment of mental and physical health, and erosion of their relationship [2]. Complicating matters further, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing heightened levels of emotional distress and mental health impacts across the population, leaving those suffering from this hidden addiction even more vulnerable. HelpLine data shows that a large percentage of problem gamblers are experiencing significant anxiety (68%) and depression (67%), with more than one in five admitting to suicidal thoughts (22%) and an appreciable number (13%) reporting neurological disorders. These mental health issues understandably extend to family members and loved ones.  The good news is that help and hope can be found through the 24/7, Confidential, and Multilingual 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine for anyone in need, including loved ones. The HelpLine can also be reached by texting 321-978-0555, starting a live chat at gamblinghelp.org, emailing fccg@gamblinghelp.org, and messaging the FCCG on social media. Get connected to the resources that make a difference, including referrals to certified treatment providers! March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM), a grassroots effort to raise awareness about gambling disorder, classified by the American Psychiatric Association as a behavioral addiction, that impacts millions of Floridians who struggle directly with gambling related difficulties or are adversely affected by a loved one’s gambling problem. This year, our campaign theme is Shine the Light on Problem Gambling: Changing the Game. During this past year, the world has been forced to grapple with crippling impacts caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Many Florida residents, like many Americans, are struggling given the unforeseen consequences resulting from the pandemic. For disordered gamblers and their families, the effects of the virus can exacerbate already serious financial, psychological, legal, and other problems caused by gambling. Click here to learn more about PGAM and join the movement in raising awareness about the issue of problem gambling and the help and hope available through the 24/7, Confidential, and Multilingual Problem Gambling HelpLine! [1]  24-Hour Problem Gambling HelpLine Annual Report., 2020 ed., The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc., 2020, 24-Hour Problem Gambling HelpLine Annual Report. [2] Abbott, M., DA. Abbott, S., Boyatzis, R., V. Braun, V., EM. Chan, A., Charmaz, K., . . . Volberg, R. (1970, January 01). Impacts of gambling problems on partners: Partners’ interpretations. Retrieved February 11, 2021, from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/2195-3007-3-11
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2021 Australian Open: What to Watch on Tuesday Night
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Rod Laver Arena | 11 p.m. TuesdayAndrey Rublev vs. Daniil MedvedevAndrey Rubley and Daniil Medvedev secured the ATP Cup for Russia earlier this month, with neither player losing a singles match throughout. In their three meetings on the ATP Tour, Medvedev has come out on top each time, including in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open in September.This may be Rublev’s chance to finally overcome his friendly rival. He has looked particularly dominant, not dropping a set throughout the tournament. His match against Casper Ruud ended after only two sets when the Norwegian withdrew with an injury. Going into the quarterfinals, Rublev has led the field in both percentage of first service points won and second service points won, a sign of how hard it has been for opponents to break his serve.Medvedev has also been playing well, aside from a chaotic, disorganized third round match against Filip Krajinovic. He has now won 18 matches in a row, with his last loss coming in October at a tournament in Vienna. Although the fast surface fits Medvedev’s flat baseline shots, Rublev’s open stance is well suited in defense, and we’re sure to see many dynamic, aggressive point.Rod Laver Arena | 3:30 a.m. WednesdayRafael Nadal vs. Stefanos TsitsipasRafael Nadal, the No. 2 seed, has moved smoothly through the first four rounds, no surprise for a player with 20 Grand Slam titles. Although Nadal won his only Australian Open title over a decade ago, he has reached the finals on four other occasions since, and is a clear favorite in his half of the draw to do so again. Nadal’s powerful topspin shots are well-suited to clay courts where he can drag opponents around with tightly angled shots. Nadal’s ability to exploit his opponent’s weaknesses with relentless pressure can break most players on their best days.Stefanos Tsitsipas, the ATP finals winner in 2019, is a study in unpredictability. The fifth seed has a capable all-court game, but lacks the consistency to execute match after match. The 22-year-old has worked to improve this aspect of his game, but needed five sets to push back unseeded Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round. After receiving a walkover in the round of 16, Tsitsipas will be well rested and hoping for an advantage against one of the most mentally tough players on tour.
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Tokyo Olympics panel starts search for new boss after sexism row
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FILE PHOTO: Tokyo 2020 Olympics organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori announces his resignation as he takes responsibility for his sexist comments at a meeting with council and executive board members at the committee headquarters, in Tokyo, Japan February 12, 2021. Yoshikazu Tsuno/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo The panel charged with finding a new Tokyo Olympics chief after a sexism row began talks on Tuesday as campaigners called for more transparency in the selection process. The eight-person committee convened for the first time to discuss choosing a successor to Yoshiro Mori, 83, who stepped down Friday after his claims that women talk too much in meetings sparked widespread outrage. The panel “discussed the qualities required of a new president,” according to Tokyo 2020 organizers, and agreed on five selection criteria. But campaigners said the process should be made more transparent, with Games chiefs declining to identify the members of the panel, which was expected to have a 50-50 gender split. The postponed 2020 Games are set to begin in July, with officials and organizers insisting they will go ahead despite doubts over the event’s viability given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The formation of the new panel, headed by 85-year-old Canon CEO Fujio Mitarai, was announced Friday after Mori’s reported attempts to hand-pick 84-year-old Saburo Kawabuchi as his successor was met with opposition. “Now they say they won’t reveal who the members are of the committee to choose the next chief,” Kazuko Fukuda, a campaigner for women’s sexual and reproductive rights, told AFP. “So it’s really like the whole process will take place in secret again.” ‘DEEP UNDERSTANDING’ Equality campaigners handed a petition with more than 150,000 signatures to Tokyo 2020 organizers on Tuesday morning, urging them to put concrete measures in place to prevent further discrimination. The selection committee laid out five criteria for choosing a new president — sporting knowledge, international experience, management skills, familiarity with the Tokyo Games organization and “deep understanding” of Olympic principles, including “gender equality, diversity and inclusion.” The committee pledged to select candidates “as swiftly as possible”, with local media suggesting a new president could be named before the end of the week. Reports said Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto, Japanese Olympic Committee president Yasuhiro Yamashita and former hammer-thrower Koji Murofushi are among those in contention. Hashimoto — one of just two women in Japan’s cabinet — was reported as saying Tuesday that she had not been approached about taking over. “It should be done with transparency,” she said. “I hope we can get the new structure in place quickly.” Reports said the selection panel is expected to meet again on Wednesday to draw up a list of nominees. The final choice must be endorsed by Tokyo 2020’s executive board. Read Next Don't miss out on the latest news and information. Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000. For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
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Star signing Suliasi Vunivalu stood down by Reds for off-field incident
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A Set small text size A Set the default text size A Set large text size High-profile Queensland Reds recruit Suliasi Vunivalu has been dropped from what would have been his Super Rugby AU debut for allegedly pushing a security guard in a Brisbane pub. The champion NRL winger had arrived at Ballymore fresh off a premiership with the Melbourne Storm as Rugby Australia’s big-ticket item. But on Tuesday the winger copped a club-imposed $10,000 fine alongside suspension from Friday’s season opener at Suncorp Stadium against the NSW Waratahs. The matter is before the court and will be reviewed by RA and Queensland Rugby Union once it is resolved. It is understood the security guard was not injured during the incident, which was considered minor and occurred earlier this month. Vunivalu was implicated in an NRL integrity unity investigation in 2019 when he was allegedly a victim of a coward punch at a Bali nightspot that sparked a brawl that included former Storm teammate Nelson Asofa-Solomona. The 26-year-old had already spent time in camp with the Wallabies and is considered an immense talent likely to feature in national coach Dave Rennie’s plans ahead of the 2023 World Cup. It’s an early setback for a Reds outfit hunting their first silverware since 2011, having lost the Super Rugby AU decider to the Brumbies last year. © AAP
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Tom Brady: The Ultimate Villain Turned Babyface
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I have a confession to make. I like Tom Brady.10 years ago, I would have punched myself in the face for making a statement like that. Even two years ago, I would never admit my admiration for the seven-time Super Bowl championAs a Giants fan, I’m arguably one of two fanbases (the other being the Eagles) that have no reason to hate Brady for his success on the field. The Giants defeated Brady twice on the biggest stage. Big Blue stopped Brady and the 2007 Patriots from immortality, ruining the undefeated season. You’re welcome, Miami Dolphins.I hated Brady not for his play, but for the uniform he wore. The New England Patriots were the bad guys of the 2000s. The Patriots were the Galactic Empire, Bill Belichick was Darth Vader, and Gillette Stadium was the Death Star. From all the “gate” scandals to cheating implications, New England kept winning. To make matters worse, Patriots’ fans became insufferable. How many times did I have to hear “Our season starts in the AFC Championship” from New England fans? As much as I hated them, the fans were right.I may have disliked Brady, but I always respected TB12. He is the GOAT. That was never up for debate. The stats that support Brady’s GOAT case are unfathomable. Brady’s postseason numbers are “Gretzkyesque” and will take a monumental effort from a generational player to eclipse his stats.All-time playoff wins leaders 1) Tom Brady — 34 2) Tom Brady, only in conference championship games and Super Bowls combined — 17 T-3) Joe Montana, Tom Brady since turning 37 years old — 16— Tom Brady Facts (@TB_Facts) February 8, 2021As I watched Tom Brady hoist the Lombardi trophy for the seventh time, I said to myself, “This effing guy. Again?” The 43-year-old vet bested the 25-year-old phenom who wants to be the GOAT himself one day. It’s still possible Mahomes can become the GOAT, but the gap between Brady or Mahomes feels insurmountable.Then, I watched the parade. Brady was laughing hard and partying harder. I couldn’t help but smile at all the videos of Brady celebrating on his boat.He threw the Lomnbardi trophy to another boat in what could go down as the greatest pass of his career.TB12 skipped the diet today and pounded a few too many drinks. It was the most relatable clip from Brady I’ve ever seen.When Brady gets an assist out of the party, it’s fine, but when I get escorted out of the bar, it’s a problem. Life ain’t fair! https://t.co/bWyV2YtJ0e— Dan Girolamo (@Danny_Giro) February 10, 2021Over the past few years, Brady demonstrated his sense of humor with his social media posts after wins. From the TB Times to “W” videos, Brady knows how to assert himself as a winner. He’s also pretty funny and self-aware, evidenced by his avocado tequila tweet.How can you watch those videos with a straight face? TB12 is turning babyface right before our eyes. For the non-wrestling fans, that means he’s becoming a likable good guy. Most football fans hated Brady in New England because he was the perfect villain. Society loves to root for stars, but it also enjoys watching the villain fall.The more I laugh at Brady’s antics, the more I realize how much New England hindered his personality. Rob Gronkowski said he likes the “freedom of being yourself” in Tampa Bay, which was a clear shot at the disciplinarian system run by Belichick. That doesn’t make New England’s system wrong. The Patriots won six Super Bowls over the course of two decades. However, it’s tough to get a sense of a player’s true personality when Darth Vader is breathing down your neck.It’s Brady’s world and we’re all living in it. Right now, I like what I see from the GOAT.Do you like Tom Brady? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.
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Build a Beautiful Site in the WordPress Mobile Apps with Predesigned Page Layouts
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Build a Beautiful Site in the WordPress Mobile Apps with Predesigned Page Layouts We think you’ll love the new Starter Page Layouts feature. Thomas Bishop Your WordPress mobile app is a convenient way to create and manage your WordPress site. Now, you can design a new page right from your phone or tablet — and build the site of your dreams — with predesigned page layouts. Introducing starter page layouts Not all of us are designers, and building a page on your site with the layout in your mind can be intimidating and time-consuming — but it doesn’t have to be that way! Now when you create a new page on WordPress for iOS or Android, you can choose from premade layouts. You can also customize them to fit your needs, right from the block editor. Choosing a layout When you create a new page in the app, you’ll see a list of premade page layouts, including about pages, contact pages, team pages, services pages, and more. Whether you’re the owner of an online shop of sustainably made clothing, the founder of a newly formed digital magazine, or a financial strategist who’s just launched a consulting business, you can use these premade layouts to build the most essential pages on your website. Once you find a layout that you’d like to try, tap it to select it. After you’ve selected a layout, you can either preview it or create a new page with the chosen layout. Ready to try these new Starter Page Layouts? Be sure to update your WordPress app to the latest version. If you don’t have the app yet, download it for free, on both Android and iOS. We’d love to hear your feedback on these new layouts. Reach out to us from within the app by going to My Site, tapping your photo on the top right, tapping Help & Support,  and then selecting Contact Support. Like this:Like Loading... Related Previous PostShowcase Your Figma Designs on WordPress P2
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Serena Williams shows off her unreal defense on this point
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Criticisms of Michael Slepian’s Stanford study on poker tells and hand movements (published 2015)
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Some places the study was featured. The following is reposted from a 2015 piece I wrote for Bluff magazine. It was originally located at this URL but has become unavailable due to Bluff going out of business. I saw this study mentioned recently in Maria Konnikova’s book ‘The Biggest Bluff’ and was reminded about this piece and noticed it was offline, so I wanted to share it again. A few notes on this piece: The original title below and was more negative-sounding than I liked; Bluff chose it. Also, if I could rewrite this piece now, I’d probably choose less negative-sounding phrasing in some places.  Regardless of the exact factors that might be at work in the found correlation, I realize it’s scientifically interesting that a significant correlation was found. But I also think it’s possible to draw simplistic and wrong conclusions from the study, and my piece hopefully gives more context about the factors that might be at work. Image on left taken from Michael Slepian’s media page. The Slepian Study on Betting Motions Doesn’t Pass Muster A 2013 study¹ conducted at Stanford University by graduate student Michael Slepian and associates found a correlation between the “smoothness” of a betting motion and the strength of the bettor’s hand. In a nutshell, there was a positive correlation found between betting motions perceived as “smooth” and “confident” and strong hands. The quality of the betting motions was judged by having experiment participants watch short clips of players making bets (taken from the 2009 WSOP Main Event) and estimate the hand strength of those bets. This experiment has gotten a lot of press over the last couple years. I first heard about it on NPR. Since, I’ve seen it referenced in poker blogs and articles and in a few mainstream news articles. I still occasionally hear people talk about it at the table when I play. I’ve had friends and family members reference it and send me links to it. It’s kind of weird how much attention it received, considering the tons of interesting studies that are constantly being done, but I guess it can be chalked up to the mystique and “sexiness” of poker tells. The article had more than casual interest for me. I’m a former professional poker player and the author of two books on poker behavior: Reading Poker Tells and Verbal Poker Tells. I’ve been asked quite a few times about my opinion on this study, and I’ve been meaning to look at the study more closely and write up my thoughts for a while. In this article, I’ll give some criticisms of the study and some suggestions for how this study (and similar studies) could be done better. This isn’t to denigrate the work of the experiment’s designers. I think this is an interesting study, and I hope it will encourage similar studies using poker as a means to study human behavior. But I do think it was flawed in a few ways, and it could be improved in many ways. That’s not to say that I think their conclusion is wrong; in fact, in my own experience, I think their conclusion is correct. I do, however, think it’s a very weak general correlation and will only be practically useful if you have a player-specific behavioral baseline. My main point is that this study is not enough, on its own, to cause us to be confident about the conclusion. I’ll give a few reasons for why I think the study is flawed, but the primary underlying reason is a common one for studies involving poker: the study’s organizers just don’t know enough about how poker works. I’ve read about several experiments involving poker where the organizers were very ignorant about some basic aspects of poker, and this affected the way the tests were set up and the conclusions that were reached (and this probably applies not just to poker-related studies but to many studies that involve an activity that requires a lot of experience to understand well). Poker can seem deceptively simple to people first learning it, and even to people who have played it for decades. Many bad players lose money at poker while believing that they’re good, or even great players. In the same way, experiment designers may falsely believe they understand the factors involved in a poker hand, while being far off the mark. Here are the flaws, as I see them, in this study: 1. The experimenters refer to all WSOP entrants as ‘professional poker players.’ This first mistake wouldn’t directly affect the experiment, but it does point to a basic misunderstanding of poker and the World Series of Poker, which might indirectly affect other aspects of the experiment and its conclusions. Here are a couple examples of this from the study: The World Series of Poker (WSOP), originating in 1970, brings together professional poker players every year (from the study’s supplemental materials) These findings are notable because the players in the stimulus clips were highly expert professionals competing in the high-stakes WSOP tournament. The WSOP Main Event is open to anyone and most entrants are far from being professional poker players. Categorizing someone’s poker skill can be difficult and subjective, but Kevin Mathers, a long-time poker industry worker, estimates that only 20% of WSOP Main Event entrants are professional (or professional-level) players. This also weakens the conclusion that the results are impressive due to the players analyzed being professional-level. While the correlation found in this experiment is still interesting, it is somewhat expected that amateur players would have behavioral inconsistencies. I’d be confident in predicting that a similar study done on only video clips of bets made by professional poker players would not find such a clear correlation. 2. Hand strength is based on comparing players’ hands This is a line from the study that explains their methodology for categorizing a player’s hand as ‘weak’ or ‘strong’: Each player’s objective likelihood of winning during the bet was known (WSOP displays these statistics on-screen; however, we kept this information from participants by obscuring part of the screen). They relied on the on-screen percentage graphics, which are displayed beside a player’s hand graphics in the broadcast. These graphics show the likelihood of a player’s hand winning; it does this by comparing it to the other players’ known hands. This makes it an illogical way to categorize whether a player believes he is betting a weak or strong hand. If this isn’t clear, here’s a quick example to make my point: A player has QQ and makes an all-in bet on a turn board of Q-10-10-8. Most people would say that this player has a strong hand and has every reason to believe he has a strong hand. But, if his opponent had 10-10, the player with Q-Q would have a 2.27% chance of winning with one card to come. According to this methodology, the player with the Q-Q would be judged as having a weak hand; if the test participants categorized that bet as representing a strong hand, they would be wrong. It’s not stated in the study or the supplemental materials if the experimenters accounted for such obvious cases of how using the percentage graphics might skew the results. It’s also not stated how the experimenters would handle river (last-round) bets, when one hand has a 100 percent winning percentage and the losing hand has 0 percent (the only exception would be a tie). It’s admittedly difficult to come up with hard-and-fast rules for categorizing hand strength for the purposes of such an experiment. As someone who has thought more than most about this problem, for the purpose of analyzing and categorizing poker tells, I know it’s a difficult task. But using the known percentages of one hand beating another known hand is clearly a flawed approach. The optimal approach would probably be to come up with a system that pits a poker hand against a logical hand range, considering the situation, or even a random hand range, and uses that percentage-of-winning to rank the player’s hand strength. If this resulted in too much hand-strength ambiguity, the experiment designers could throw out all hands where the hand strength fell within a certain medium-strength range. Such an approach would make it more likely that only strong hand bets and weak hand bets were being used and, equally important for an experiment like this, that the player believed he or she was betting either a strong or weak hand. 3. Situational factors were not used to categorize betting motions When considering poker-related behavior, situations are very important. A small continuation-bet on the flop is different in many ways from an all-in bet on the river. One way they are different: a small bet is unlikely to cause stress in the bettor, even if the bettor has a weak hand. Also, a player making a bet on an early round has a chance for improving his hand; whereas a player betting on the river has no chance to improve his hand. When a player bets on the river, he will almost always know whether he is bluffing or value-betting; this is often not the case on earlier rounds, when hand strength is more ambiguous and undefined. This experiment had no system for selecting the bets they chose for inclusion in the study. The usability of the clips was apparently based only on whether the clip meant certain visual needs of the experiment: i.e., did the footage show the entirety of the betting action and did it show the required amount of the bettor’s body? From the study: Research assistants, blind to experimental hypotheses, extracted each usable video in each installment, and in total extracted 22 videos (a standard number of stimuli for such studies; Ambady & Rosenthal, 1993) for Study 2 in the main text. Study 1 videos required a single player be in the frame from the chest-up, allowing for whole-body, face-only, and arms-only videos to be created by cropping the videos. These videos were therefore more rare, and the research assistants only acquired 20 such videos. The fact that clips were chosen only based on what they showed is not necessarily a problem. If a hand can be accurately categorized as strong or weak, then it doesn’t necessarily matter when during a hand it occurred. If there is a correlation between perceived betting motion quality and hand strength, then it will probably make itself known no matter the context of the bet. Choosing bets only from specific situations would have made the experiment stronger and probably would have led to more definite conclusions. It could also help address the problem of categorizing hand strength. For example, if the experiment designers had only considered bets above a certain size that had occurred on the river (when all cards are out and there are no draws or semi-bluffs to be made), then that would result in polarized hand strengths (i.e., these bets would be very likely to be made with either strong or weak hands). Also, the experiment’s method for picking clips sounds like it could theoretically result in all strong-hand bets being picked, or all weak-hand bets being picked. There is nothing in the experiment description that requires a certain amount of weak hands or strong hands. This is not in itself bad, but could affect the experiment in unforeseen ways. For example, if most of the betting motion clips chosen were taken from players betting strong hands (which would not be surprising, as most significant bets, especially post-flop, are for value), then this could introduce some unforeseen bias into the experiment. One way this might happen: when a video clip shows only the betting motion (and not, for example, the bettor’s entire torso or just the face, as were shown to some study groups), this focus might emphasize the bet in the viewer’s mind and make the bet seem stronger. And if most of the hands-only betting clips were of strong-hand bets (and I have no idea how many were), the study participants watching only the hand-motion betting clips would falsely appear to be making good guesses. My main point here is that thinking about the situational factors of a betting motion, and incorporating that into the experiment in some way, would have resulted in less ambiguity about the results. (It appears that it was difficult to find usable clips from a single WSOP event; in that case, the experimenters could just add footage from another WSOP Main Event to the study.) 4. The number of chips bet was not taken into account The experiment designers did not take into account the chips that were bet. In their words: During betting, each player pushes poker chips into the center of the table. Each chip has a specific color, which indicates a specific value. These values range from $25 to $100,000. This range of chip values has a crucial consequence for the current work. The number of chips does not correlate with the quality of the hand (see Table 1A in the main text). Players could move a stack of 20 chips into the center of the table, and this could be worth $500 or $2,000,000 (the winner of the 2009 WSOP won $8,547,042, thus the latter bet magnitude is a bet that can be made in the WSOP). Because no participants were professional poker players, nor considered themselves poker experts, they were not aware of chip values. They could not, then, use the number of chips as a valid cue to judge poker hand quality. It’s true that your average person would not know what the chip colors at the WSOP Main Event mean. But it seems naïve to think that seeing the chips being bet couldn’t possibly have an effect on the experiment. For one thing, the number of chips being bet could bias a participant to think a bet was stronger or weaker, whether correctly or incorrectly. What if all the strong-hand bets in the study were also bets that involved a lot of chips? (This is not implausible because smaller bets with weak hands are common early in a hand, when bets are small, whereas larger bets later in the hand are more likely to represent strong hands.) And what if some of the study participants were able to deduce (consciously or unconsciously) the strength of the bet from the number of chips? Also, it’s possible that some of the test participants were knowledgeable (consciously or not) about some WSOP chip colors and what their denominations were. Or they were able to deduce (consciously or not), from the arrangement and number of chips, what the chip values were. (For example, large denomination chips are generally required to be kept at the front of a player’s stack.) Again, this could have been addressed by selecting bets taken only from specific situations and only of certain bet sizes. If all bets chosen were above a certain bet size, and this was communicated to the study participants, then this would have lessened the impact of the chips being able to be seen. 5. Quality of “smoothness” was subjective The experiment was based on the perceptions of study participants watching the assembled video clips. It was not based on objective measurements of what constitutes “smoothness” of a betting motion. This was a known issue in the experiment: Thus, both player confidence and smoothness judgments significantly predicted likelihoods of winning, which suggests that movement smoothness might be a valid cue for assessing poker hand quality. It is unknown, however, how participants interpreted “smoothness” or whether the players’ movements that participants rated as smooth were truly smoother than other players’ movements. Other physical factors, such as speed, likely played a role. This is not a major criticism; I think using perception is a fine way to find a correlation, especially for a preliminary study. But I think it does mean that we have no reason to be confident in the idea that smoothness of betting motion is correlated with hand strength. If there is are correlations between betting motion and hand strength (which I believe there are), these could be due to other aspects of arm motion or hand motion, such as: the betting speed, the position of the hands, the height of the hand, or other, more obscure, factors. In summary Again, I don’t mean to denigrate the experiment designers and the work they’ve done. I think this was an interesting experiment, and I think it’s probable the correlation they noticed exists (however weak the correlation may be). Also, as someone who is very interested in poker behavior, I’d love to see similar studies be done. My main goal in writing these criticisms and suggestions was to emphasize that poker is complex, as is poker behavior. There are many behavioral factors in a seemingly simple hand of poker and taking these factors into account can make an experiment stronger and the results more conclusive. Patricia Cardner, PhD, EdD, is a poker player and the author of Positive Poker, a book about the psychological characteristics of professional poker players. She had this to say about poker’s use in scientific studies: “While researchers often have the best of intentions, it is difficult for them to fully understand the nuances of poker. Researchers who reach out to poker players for help can make more informed decisions about the research areas they choose to pursue, increase reliability and validity, and improve the overall quality of their results and conclusions.” ¹: Slepian, M.L., Young, S.G., Rutchick, A.M. & Ambady, N. Quality of Professional Players’ Poker Hands Is Perceived Accurately From Arm Motions. Psychological Science (2013) 24(11) 2335–2338. Related
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