All-in and Bad Beat: Professional Poker Players and Pathological Gambling

  • Roberta Biolcati
  • Stefano Passini
  • Mark D. Griffiths


Previous research has shown that online poker players may be at a high risk of developing gambling problems and that there are various personality traits that may be associated with such risk. An online survey comprising 256 poker players (50.8 % professional players and 49.2 % recreational players) examined various aspects of their poker playing behavior. The goals of the study were to investigate: (i) the playing motivations of recreational and professional Texas Hold’em poker players, (ii) the psychological characteristics of online poker players in relation to narcissism, impulsivity, self-esteem, and problem gambling, and (iii) the differences between professional and recreational poker player on these psychological variables. Results showed that only 1.6 % poker players met the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling (n = 4). Generally, poker players had low scores on narcissism and impulsivity, and high scores on self-esteem. Implications for the study of online poker gambling are also discussed.


Professional poker players Pathological gambling Narcissism Impulsivity Self-esteem 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberta Biolcati
    • 1
  • Stefano Passini
    • 1
  • Mark D. Griffiths
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Education SciencesUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly
  2. 2.International Gaming Research Unit, Psychology DivisionNottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUK

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