Characteristics Of Good Poker Players. Part 2 (Backed By Science)

We dug through some science papers and found one that was particularly interesting. It was aimed to find out what characteristics exactly good poker players have. Some of these we named in the 1st part of this blog.

Let’s not waste any time, just as those research papers do. To the point.

The Research

The study involved 100 people ,12 tasks and a few different research methods.

The results showed that you are most likely to fall under the skilled players group if: you are not sensitive to the gambling errors, you have greater tolerance for financial risk, you have superior social information processing skills, you are less open to aesthetic and imaginative experience.

Evidence from this study also shows: having sufficient levels of most of these attributes is more important for poker success than having exceptional strength in just one or two of these areas.

Confirmed characteristics

We were not surprised to find out that age, race, ethnicity, educational level, and educational achievement didn’t have any influence on playing skill.

Another point this research proved again was that higher intelligence isn’t directly related to poker skill. Superior brains do not appear to be the main characteristics among the world’s best poker players. Average intelligence is just enough.

The Unexpected Results

It might seem counter-intuitive, but researchers did not find a relationship between quantitative ability and poker skill.

That means you don’t have to be good in math to be good at poker. There are two possible explanations for this finding:

First, you need only rather simple math for poker. To evaluate the chances of winning a poker player:

(a) simply adds up the number of remaining cards in the undealt deck that could complete the hand being created,

(b) judges the likelihood that these cards will appear in the five community cards, and

(c) is familiar with the strength of the hand.

You don’t need to be a great mathematician to know all of this.

Second, poker skill is directly related to low levels of gambling errors. Many gambling mistakes happen because of the misunderstanding of statistics.

The fact that better poker players face less errors in the poker game suggests that they understand the basics of statistics.

A little bit of this knowledge increases your chances of being a great poker player. And again, you don’t need superior math knowledge to know statistics.

Other characteristics of good poker players

Highly skilled poker players showed the ability to accurately interpret the behavior of others.

They also demonstrated greater tolerance for all financial risk, rather than only for gambling-specific financial risk.

It was also found that poker skill and aesthetics and fantasy don’t go together. This means that skilled players mostly prefer practicality and realism. Due to this good poker players are simply less distracted and focus on the game rather than slipping off into daydreaming.

What can we make out of it?

Highly skilled poker players had above average levels of all of the above characteristics.

It means that being strong in only one thing won’t make you a good poker player, you need to have it all.

To sum up, it’s obvious that individual characteristics are significantly associated with poker playing skill.

This brings us to the conclusion, that success in poker is highly influenced by individual attributes. The more skilled you are the more influence on the game you have.

So, focus less on the luck factor and more on practicing and improving your game!

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