Online poker players - European Association for the Study of Gambling

Online poker players - European Association for the Study of Gambling

Under Online poker players skin:Reasons to play, emotions andperceptions about chance and skill21 stseptemberLoutrakiPriscilla Brochu, B. A., doctoral candidate in psychologySerge Sévigny, Ph. D., principal researcher and co-thesis directorIsabelle Giroux, Ph. D., co-researcher and thesis directorProject funded by the Fonds de recherche québécois – Société et culture (FRQ – SC)and the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS) du QuébecStudent funded by the FRQ – SC and the Centre Dollard-Cormier,Institut universitaire sur les dépendances1

PRESENTATION PLAN1) Context and objectives of the study2) Methodology3) Results4) Discussion of the results5) Question periods / comments2

CONTEXT OF THE STUDYONLINE POKER: RELATED RISKS ANDREASONS TO PLAY• Association between online gambling and problemgambling (Binde, 2011; Griffiths, Wardle, Orford, Sproston, & Erens, 2009;2011; Wood &Williams, 2007; 2009; 2011)• Poker: a significant risk factor (Brosowski, Meyer, & Hayer, 2012)• Reasons to play (Bonneau & Turgeon, 2010; Martin, 2008; McCormack & Griffiths,2012; Pastinelli, 2008; RGC, 2006; White, Mun, Kauffman, Whelan, & Regan, 2007; Wood,Griffiths, & Parke, 2007)Online pokerAccessibilityConvenienceAnonymitySpeed of playPoker in generalEntertainment or workMake moneySocializeGain skillsEscape from problems / negative feelingsPleasure / excitement3

• Different game events lead to different emotions ( Kallinen et al.,2009)CONTEXT OF THE STUDYEMOTIONS AND GAMBLING:POKER AND OTHER GAMES• Poker players report enjoyment (and lack of frustration andboredom) ( Kallinen et al., 2009)• Stress as a predictor of problem gambling in online poker( Hopley & Nicki, 2012)• Association between gambling problems in general andnegative feelings (depression, anxiety and stress) (Johansson,Grant, Kim, Odlaug, & Götestam, 2009; Raylu & Oei, 2002)• Is this the case for problem poker players ?4

CONTEXT OF THE STUDYPOKER: MORE CHANCE OR SKILL ?Dreef, Borm, & Van derGenugten (2003)Sévigny, Ladouceur, Dufour,Turner & Lalande & Fritz (2008) (2011)Berthet(2010)Meyer, Meduna, &Brosowski(2010)Dedonno &Detterman(2008)Croson,Fishman, &Pope (2008)Levitt & Miles(2010)

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY• Describe and compare:1. Reasons to play2. Emotions felt while playing3. Perceptions about chance and skill• By gambling poker players types :• Non-problem• At risk of developing a problem• Presenting problematic gambling habitsQualitative and exploratory methodology Focus groups7

METHODOLOGYPARTICIPANTS (CONTINUATION)Principal occupationStudentsFull-time workersPart-time workersOthers9



METHODOLOGYINSTRUMENTS AND PROCEDURETelephoneinterview≈ 35 min.ParticipantsclassificationFocus groups≈ 2h30Compensation• Selection criteria• Characteristics• Gambling habitsNODS (Gerstein et al.1999)• Non-problem (scoreof 0)• At risk (scores of 1– 2)• Problematics(scores of 3 – 4)• Pathological(scores of 5 and +)Open questions *• Reasons to play• Emotions• Chance / skillTournamentsimulation ** Audio-taped• Gift-certificateof 40 $• 10 $ in cash12

• Software : QDA Miner 3.2.9• Inductive qualitative analysis in six phases: (Braun & Clarke,2006)1. In-depth reading and re-reading of focus groups reports2. Generating codes (ideas)3. Searching for themes (by collating codes)4. Reviewing themesMETHODOLOGYQUALITATIVE ANALYSIS5. Defining and naming themes6. Writing the research report / article (by including compelling quotes)13

METHODOLOGYQUALITATIVE ANALYSIS (CONTINUATION)• Inter-rater on 35 % of the groups verbatims• α Krippendorff: 0,95: excellent agreement• Groups comparison• Presence of themes• Ex. : Reasons to play (category) → Play for the pleasure (theme)Theme Non-problem At risk ProblematicPleasure √ √ √14

• No different themes• Similar themes :RESULTS1) REASONS TO PLAY• Pleasure• Entertainment• Win money• CompetitivenessThe principal reason ? I like to play, that’s for sure,but it’s also a pastime. For me, give me a packageof cards for 24 hours, and it’s like “ I’ll sleeptomorow ! That’s it, really ! “ (Problematic player)Me, I want to win money, but most of the time, Iplay tournaments because I want to know who’sthe best. (Problematic player)15

• Similar themes (no different themes found):(Positive emotions)• Pleasure• Pride• ↑ confidence in their skills• Excitement(Negative emotions)• Frustration• ↓ confidence in their skills• StressRESULTS2) EMOTIONS FELT WHILE PLAYINGIt’s harder to keep confidence in your playwhen you have a downswing. You have tokeep focused, you know, if I wake up onemorning and I feel confident, and then Iloose 1 000 $ or 2 000$, then ‘ouch ! ’, it’stoughEvenyouif itknow,goes veryI loosewellconfidence…three- quarters(Nonproblemofthe time,player)the small one- quarter that itgoes worse, well you know, it’s stressful…that’s not fun when you loose 1 000$ ina day. (Problematic player)16

RESULTS3) PERCEPTIONS ABOUT CHANCE / SKILL• Similar themes :• Poker = Skill > Chance• A skilled poker player :For me, it’s may be silly what I will say,but I think that poker is a game of skillsjust like curling, pool and golf are. Youdevelop your skills and you can aspire to alot of things… (At-risk player)• Wins more than he looses• Plays with money (not only at free tables)• Plays at high stakes tables (as opposed to low stakes tables)• Plays cash games (not only tournaments)• Take his decisions considering :• Position• Opponents bets• Probabilities• Read of opponents17

RESULTS3) PERCEPTIONS ABOUT CHANCE / SKILL(CONTINUATION)• Similar themes :• A skilled poker player (continuation)• Demonstrate self-control :Behavioral- Taking breaks- Playing tighly- Not playing tired- Not taking alcohol or drugs- Playing only at winning stakesCognitive- Not trying to chase losses- Not relying on past hands : view eachhand as a new one- Aiming at frequent small wins insteadof infrequent big and risky ones18

RESULTS3) PERCEPTIONS ABOUT CHANCE / SKILL(CONTINUATION)• Different themes :Non-problem At-risk ProblematicMe, the first year,Opponentsitpseudonym: skill cuewas like a drug, youknow. You think thatyou have control on it.It doesn’t hypnotizeyou like a slotmachine doing ‘ding,ding, ding’ does, butyou imagine that youcan become nearly amillionaire by playingpoker. But then, youraccount goes down tozero… (At-risk player)Chasing their lossesbecause of theirlevel of skillplayer)Improve their knowledgePracticeLosses: opportunities to learn and get betterOnline gambling: set upTo lose at poker help us tobecome better players. Youhave to lose, you have to havebad run because it’s that waythat you will develop your ownstrategy, and that you’lldiscover yourself as a pokerplayer. (Problematic19

DISCUSSION OF THE RESULTS2) EMOTIONS FELT WHILE PLAYING• Types of emotions experienced are not related to problemgambling in poker.• Negative feelings seem to be part of every type of gamblers (nonproblem,at-risk and problematic) experience… but :• Frequency and intensity of emotions haven’t been assessed.21

DISCUSSION OF THE RESULTS3) PERCEPTIONS ABOUT CHANCE / SKILL:SIMILAR THEMES• Poker = Skill > chance• Converge with empirical studies results (Croson et al., 2008; Dedonno etDetterman, 2008; Fielder & Rock, 2009; Levitt & Miles, 2011)• Skilled poker players : strong, winning players that take risks butdon’t have much negative consequences because they controlthemselves.• They report using control strategies but do they really use them inaction ?• Are these control strategies are always usefull / effective ?• Part of chance in the game22

DISCUSSION OF THE RESULTS3) PERCEPTIONS ABOUT CHANCE / SKILL:DIFFERENT THEMES• At-risk and problematic players• More themes linked to the control over the game :• Importance of practising and developing his knowledge• Idea that losses are opportunities to learn and get better• Believing it’s possible to chase losses• Believing that online playing is set up• Losses: caused by external causes23

DISCUSSION OF THE RESULTSLIMITS OF THE STUDY AND REFLECTION• Self-reported information• No pathological poker players• Are general gambling tools used to screen problemgambling are suited to poker players ?• Tend to deny criteria related to loss of control ?• Frequency of play / Time spent playing (Bjerg, 2010; Hopley & Nicki,2010)

QUESTIONS & COMMENTSpriscilla.brochu.1@ulaval.ca25

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