Texas hold’em poker: A qualitative analysis of gamblers’ perceptions

Abstract

The authors examined gamblers' perceptions of Texas Hold'Em (HE) poker, especially regarding excessive behaviours and the nature of skill involved. Sixteen regular HE gamblers were assessed through a semi-structured interview and took part in a session of gambling exposure. A qualitative thematic analysis and a comparative analysis on problem and social gamblers were performed. Problem gamblers had an emotional profile that was characterized by a lack of self-regulation and difficulties with delayed gratification. The desire to take on a new persona through poker seems to be implicated in excessive poker behaviours. Three kinds of skills came to the fore: technical skills (mastery of rules and strategies), psychological skills (self-regulation and accurate analysis of adversaries), and financial skills (the ability to correctly assess the financial risk). The results support the fact that poker deserves to be set apart from other gambling forms, especially when it comes to prevention and treatment.

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