What differentiates professional poker players from recreational poker players? A qualitative interview study

McCormack, A. and Griffiths, M.D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8880-6524, 2012. What differentiates professional poker players from recreational poker players? A qualitative interview study. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 10 (2), pp. 243-257. ISSN 1557-1874

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Abstract

The popularity of poker (and in particular online poker) has increasingly grown worldwide in recent years. Some of the factors that may explain this increased popularity
include: (i) an increasing number of celebrities endorsing and playing poker, (ii) an increased number of televised poker tournaments, (iii) 24/7 access of poker via the
internet, and (iv) the low stakes needed to play online poker. This increase in the popularity of poker has led to the increased incidence of the ‘professional poker player’.
However, very little empirical research has been carried out into this relatively new group of gamblers. This research comprised a grounded theory study involving the analysis of data from three professional poker players, one semi-professional poker player and five recreational poker players. Results showed that all players believed that poker was a game of skill. The central theme as to what distinguishes professional poker players from
recreational players was that professional poker players were much more disciplined in their gambling behaviour. They treated their poker playing as work, and as such were
more likely to be logical and controlled in their behaviour, took less risks, and were less
likely to chase losses. Recreational players were more likely to engage in chasing behaviour, showed signs of lack of control, took more risks, and engaged in gambling
while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Also of importance was the number of games and time spent playing online. Recreational players only played one or two games
at a time, whereas professional poker players were much more likely to engage in multitable poker online, and played longer sessions, thus increasing the potential amount of winnings. Playing poker for a living is very possible for a minority of players but it takes a combination of talent, dedication, patience, discipline and disposition to succeed.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
Creators: McCormack, A. and Griffiths, M.D.
Publisher: Springer
Date: 2012
Volume: 10
Number: 2
ISSN: 1557-1874
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 10:17
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 13:24
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10629

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