Oct 23, 2014
University of Helsinki Study: Good Poker Players "Keep Cool" Under Pressure
By RTR Dennis
Poker is a game of big pots and wild swings. So you can't blame a player for getting a little emotional when they hit a one-outer to stay alive in a tournament. But as research by the University of Helsinki suggests, you can't let these emotions be too visible if you want to be a good player.
Helsinki researchers recruited members of popular online poker forums to participate in their study. They then measured the players' level of poker experience along with their HEXACO-PI-R personality traits. The latter refers to in-depth facets of Honesty-Humility (H), Emotionality (E), Extraversion (X), Agreeableness (A), Conscientiousness (C), and Openness to Experience (O). And here's a look at what the study revealed about the traits of a successful poker player:
The results indicate that a predisposition for emotional stability—that is, lower scores on emotionality—is linked to high levels of poker experience. Thus, in order to become a successful and experienced poker player, it helps to be able to "keep cool" under pressure.
A more obvious finding from the study is that online poker players were found to be more introverted by nature while live players were more extroverted and open to new experiences.
Going back to the emotional aspect, this research may very well be spot on that the average successful player has a cool demeanor. However, this isn't to say that you're completely screwed if you rip cards in half every time your pocket kings are cracked by J-T offsuit. After all, a number of successful players from Phil Hellmuth to Mike Matusow wear their emotions on their sleeves and everywhere else.
But then again, it pays not to overreact to variance and think that the world is against you during every downswing. As the University of Helsinki suggests, your profits will be better if you can stick with your game plan in the face of adversity.