UNLV Study uncovers Online Poker Jerks

Posted on by RTR Rachel

We’ve all ran into those delusional online poker players who think that the five cumulative hours they’ve spent studying ps tips and trolling forums somehow validates them being a jerk. You can usually spot these players as the ones who incessantly whine when their pocket jacks get cracked by A-Q like it was the biggest bad beat ever. In any case, a recent joint internet poker study by UNLV and the University of Western Ontario briefly touched upon some of the aforementioned behaviour.

The study focused on 90-minute interviews done with 30 Las Vegas residents who also happened to be online poker fanatics. Most of the questions centered on why these people chose the cyber version of the game over casino poker. But as a side product of the interviews, researchers also picked up on how some of the players ran into mean-spirited opponents.

Many of the participants’ comments were picked up by a Las Vegas Sun article by Liz Benston, which was written on this same subject. In one of the extreme cases, a woman named “Donna” reported being severely harassed by another player. She told Benston, “When I clicked off (the site), I was crying. I let a complete stranger who was online, who didn’t know me, I didn’t know him, hurt me. If it was in person, it would be different.”
TwoPlusTwo forum moderator Steven McLoughlin also chimed in by saying, “It’s Internet 101 – on the Internet, people don’t care what you think personally.”

Fortunately, not all of the comments from the study were about being bullied by other players. One woman named Brittany talked about why playing online poker was such an advantage over the brick-and-mortar version as she said, “If I win something big, I can experience it with my daughter. At a casino, she wouldn’t be able to sit there and have that kind of enjoyment with me – she gets excited when she hears the noise on the computer.”
Overall, this study did a good job of uncovering some of the things people need to be prepared for when they log on to play poker.

Tip of the Day: If you’re being harassed by another online poker player, the worst thing you can do is feed into it by forcing action to beat them. An obvious alternative is to leave the table, while another option is to turn off the chat box function (tape a piece of paper over the chat box if this isn’t available). Just remember that the opposing player can’t physically do anything to alter your game, so don’t let them alter your play mentally either.

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