Two Studies Show Poker is Skill-Based

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Two Studies Show Poker is Skill-Based

Messaggio  Corto Maltese il Gio Apr 10, 2008 11:10 am

Recently, two studies were conducted out of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland that explored the game of poker. Specifically, the question at hand focused on whether performance in poker was due to skill or luck. The subject has been one of debate from the privacy of households to the public hearings in Congress. And the results of the studies showed, once again, that poker is a game of skill.

Michael DeDonno is a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology at Case Western, and Douglas Detterman is a professor in the Department of Psychology at the same school. The duo published their findings from the two studies, and the information was then republished by the Gaming Law Review journal. Science Daily also took an interest in the studies and published the results.

DeDonno originally intended to explore a possible correlation between intelligence and the ability to play poker, but his focus soon shifted to the luck versus skill debate.

Study 1 was conducted by DeDonno and Detterman, who enlisted 41 students from a selective private Midwestern university – 29 males and 12 females. They played eight games of 25 hands each using Turbo Texas Hold’em for Windows, a computerized simulation of a 10-player game. The program was set to use the same set of randomly selected hands for all students.

The treatment group received poker strategy information, including a hand ranking strategy chart, information about the importance of paying attention to other players’ decisions and the concept of playing tight. The control group, on the other hand, only received information pertaining to the history of poker. Prior to this, all students completed a questionnaire to assess the amateur nature of their experience with the game.

Data was gathered and analyzed based on the total amount of money won or lost at the end of each game, providing a mean score before and after information was given to each group. The study reported, “The analysis indicated that the between-subjects effect of treatment was significant. The students who received poker instruction out-performed those who had received only information on the history of poker.”

The purpose of this preliminary study was to see how effective instruction would be. “Evidence of improved performance when given minimal instruction suggests poker is a skill-based activity.”

Study 2 was also conducted by DeDonno and Detterman, this time with 46 students recruited from introductory psychology courses at the same university used in Study 1. Three two-hour sessions were played, each containing six games of 40 poker hands, totaling 720 hands. The first session began after students reviewed the basic poker rules. Between the subsequent sessions, the treatment group was given strategy documents while the control group continued to receive poker history documents.

In order to motivate the students to play their best, an Apple iPod was established as the prize in a raffle format, where higher poker scores received more entries to the raffle.

The purpose of the second study was to test the value of multiple strategies and provide more time to practice the strategies. The researchers wanted to see if the group receiving additional strategy documents showed statistically significant improvement over the control group, and indeed, that is what they found.

The initial strategy document with hand ranking strategy and the importance of playing fewer hands made the strongest impact. The group that received that document played fewer hands than the control group, and as a result, their performance improved.

The primary results from Study 2 were threefold. First, performance was improved by strategy documentation. Second, improvement occurred almost immediately upon receiving strategy documentation. Third, playing fewer hands did result in improved performance.

DeDonno and Detterman concluded their findings with the following:

“The unequivocal finding is that poker is a game of skill. In both studies, participants who were instructed out-performed those who were not instructed. Given that poker is a complex skill, it is somewhat surprising that even elementary instructions and limited practice had an effect… Luck (random factors) disguises the fact that poker is a game of skill. However, as these studies show, skill is the determining factor in long-term outcome.”

Corto Maltese
Doppia Coppia
Doppia Coppia

Maschio Numero di messaggi : 38
Età : 47
Localizzazione : Milano
Data d'iscrizione : 22.01.08

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