Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 491–505 | Cite as

“Don’t Worry, It’s Just Poker!”-Experience, Self-Rumination and Self-Reflection as Determinants of Decision-Making in On-Line Poker

  • Jussi Palomäki
  • Michael Laakasuo
  • Mikko Salmela
Original Paper


On-line poker is a game of chance and skill. The construct of poker playing skill has both a technical (game strategy-related) and an emotional (emotion regulation-related) aspect. A correlational on-line study (N = 354) was conducted to assess differences in technical skills and emotional characteristics related to poker playing style between experienced and inexperienced poker players. Results suggest that, with respect to emotional characteristics, experienced poker players engage in less self-rumination and more self-reflection, as compared to inexperienced players. Experienced poker players are also able to make better decisions, by mathematical standards, in a poker decision-making environment, as assessed by two fictitious on-line poker decision-making scenarios. Furthermore, this study provides supportive evidence that experienced poker players conceptualize the construct of “luck” differently from inexperienced players. A new poker playing experience scale (PES) for accurately measuring poker playing experience is presented in this paper.


Poker Decision-making Emotions Tilting Self-rumination Self-reflection 



We wish to thank The Finnish Foundation for Alcohol Studies, The Kone Foundation, and The Academy of Finland for their financial support in this project. We also wish to thank the following Finnish poker communities for their interest in our research:, and

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jussi Palomäki
    • 1
    • 3
  • Michael Laakasuo
    • 1
  • Mikko Salmela
    • 2
  1. 1.Cognitive Science, Institute of Behavioural SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Helsinki Collegium for Advanced StudiesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.HelsinkiFinland

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