Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 229–234 | Cite as

An Observational Investigation of Poker Style and the Five-Factor Personality Model

  • Steven C. Brown
  • Laura A. Mitchell
Original Paper


Little empirical investigation has been made of the relationship between personality and gambling play style. In an observation of on-table poker behavior, this study classified 44 players competing in an amateur league (43 male; mean age 32) according to two main dimensions of play style; tight or loose and aggressive or passive. Superstitious beliefs towards the game were additionally measured. The NEO-PI-R questionnaire (Costa and McCrae, Revised NEO personality inventory (NEO-PI-R) and NEO-five factor inventory (NEO-FFI) professional manual, 1992) was used to measure personality according to the five-factor model. Results showed players with superstitious beliefs to be significantly higher in neuroticism and lower in conscientiousness and than those with no superstitious beliefs. Results approaching significance showed players adopting an aggressive style to be higher in extraversion than passive players and superstitious players to be lower in extraversion than non-superstitious players. Analysis of play style according to age of player revealed a significantly higher mean age among loose compared to tight players. Implications of results concerning validity of these style classifications and potential development in future work are discussed.


Recreational gambling Poker strategy Personality Superstition 



We would like to thank Dr. Daniel Levitin and Dr. Theo Koulis for their guidance on the analysis of this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of PsychologyGlasgow Caledonian UniversityGlasgowUK

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