Why Losing Poker Players Continue To Play

Academic's research seeks reasons why losing poker players continue to play

Jacob Avery, a researcher in the University of Las Vegas's fellowship program in gaming studies, delivered the latest lecture in the Gaming Studies Colloquium Series, titled 'The Social Worlds of Everyday Poker Players' last week, taking a look at why poker players find it so hard to quit whilst winning.

Opining that past research focused on the biomedical reaction in gambling, Avery is trying a different approach in observing how poker players reacted to situations and interact with each other at the table. He set himself three basic questions to address:

* Why do people find it so hard to quit while winning?
* Why do people keep playing after they continually lose more than they win?
* Why do some people keep gambling to or past the point of losing everything?

His conclusions thus far suggest that once players win they are overpowered with a feeling of invincibility. 'The feeling is that the momentum of the table has been shifted in favour of the victor,' he explained.

With a major win under his or her belt, a player enters into a self-negotiation phase to make the decision on what terms he or she will stop playing. This may be a decision to stop once they have doubled their money or when they break even. But typically, the player constantly renegotiates with him or herself and keeps on playing.

A losing player will more often than not continue to play, in many cases convincing him or herself that their own bad judgement or play is not to blame, but that the opponent has more luck.

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