Get Working on Your Poker Arm

Get Working on Your Poker Arm

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

We've spent all this time working on creating the perfect poker face and it turns out we should have been concentrating on our arms as well. That's the surprising conclusion drawn by researchers at Tufts University in America reports the Independent.

Researchers carried out a series of studies and found that players putting their chips in the middle with a smooth action were more likely to have the goods than players who had a more ragged motion.

“Even though professional players may be able to regulate their facial expressions, their arm movements could betray the quality of their poker," said the researchers. “So, players’ intentions may be visible from their actions while moving poker chips to place bets."

Researchers showed a group of undergraduates a series of short video clips from the 2009 World Series of Poker. The viewers were then asked to judge the strength of a player's hand based on their facial expression or on their hand an arm action.

Assesments of hand strength based solely on the players' faces were poorer than random guesses suggesting that most decent quality players do know how to put on a poker face. Judging how strong a player was based on their hand and arm movement was a different matter though with the volunteers making better than random guesses.

Quite why the arm movement is so important remains unclear though.

“Both player confidence and smoothness significantly predicted likelihood of winning, which suggests that movement smoothness might be a valid cue for assessing poker-hand quality,” said the researchers.

An extract from the Tufts University report is available from the Psychological Science website.

Tags: Psychology, tells