Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 849–866 | Cite as

Development and Validation of the Poker Skills Measure (PSM)

  • Carrie A. Leonard
  • Jaime Staples
  • Robert J. Williams
Original Paper


Existing research has demonstrated that poker is a game predominated by skill. Little is known about the specific characteristics of good poker players however, likely due in part to the lack of a readily available measure of poker skill. In the absence of an available and easily administered poker skill measure, laboratory studies of poker player attributes have used questionable methodologies to assess skill including peer- and self-report. The aim of the current research was to create a valid, reliable, and easily administered measure of poker playing skill. A sample of 100 University of Lethbridge undergraduate students and Lethbridge community members completed the newly created Poker Skills Measure (PSM) and an objective measure of poker playing performance (playing virtual poker). External validity of the measure was demonstrated via significant associations—expected and detected—between the PSM and the objective playing measure. Specifically, significant positive associations were found between PSM scores and hands won, pre- and post flop aggression, and a significant negative relationship was detected between PSM scores and number of hands played. Within the current sample, acceptable internal consistency (Cronbach’s α = .82) and very good test re-test reliability (r = .78) was achieved with the 35 item PSM. Future directions are discussed.


Texas Hold’em poker Skill Assessment Measurement Ability Gambling 



This research was conducted with the funding assistance to the first author from both the Alberta Gambling Research Institute (AGRI) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). We would like to thank Kennie Cannady and Cassandra Jackson for their assistance in data collection and data entry.

Ethical Standards

The manuscript does not contain clinical studies or patient data.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carrie A. Leonard
    • 1
  • Jaime Staples
    • 2
  • Robert J. Williams
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, C885 University HallUniversity of LethbridgeLethbridgeCanada
  2. 2.Department of Business ManagementUniversity of LethbridgeLethbridgeCanada
  3. 3.Department of Health SciencesUniversity of LethbridgeLethbridgeCanada

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