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Poker Psychology

What makes him like it?

what makes him like poker poker psychology strategy coaching

Reviewing the genetics, we will dive in deep of why men like poker and why women just don’t get it.  If you already do, this will serve as a reinforcement and will sharpen some of the psycho-social factors to the game.

Look at a poker hall, the ratio of men per women is 8 to 1.  Men like poker.  Generally speaking, it is a man’s game.  With it’s popularity and growth, it is hard not to be excited about poker.  Poker’s historical roots can go as far as 969 AD in China, Egyptians in 12th and 13th Centuries, 16th Century Persia, 18th Century France and we have seen it in old western movies.  Whatever the roots, it has a long history with many variations in games:  5 card draw, 7 card stud and Hold em.  With the popularity of televised cameras (to be able to see poker hands) and the online poker capabilities, poker playing is at its all time high!  Polls show there are approximately 40 million poker players.  You can see there is a lot of opportunity!

There are four main reasons why poker stimulates men’s brains

  • Human relationships
  • Left brain skills
  • Reaction to stress
  • Emotions

  Poker Chips & Poker Tables
In human relationships men are more task-oriented, isolated and less talkative.  On a poker table, it is just the ten people on the table, you can talk for brief periods about hands, strategy, jump to the sports game and then be in silence.  In fact, a man can go for hours not talking at all.  I often see men in their sunglasses, hat and headphones in silence.  With this, a man is “working” hand per hand, they can be making money, dominating the table, and simply playing.  For women, human relationships are more communicative and solution oriented.  Women use non verbals cues more often than men and are more sensitive to the emotion, tone and gestures. Women can find the poker table to be too isolated, threatening, or even comedic. 

Left brain skills.  Since, men process better on the left side of their brains (remember spatial skills), poker is a man's dream of approach and task oriented problem solving skills.  Poker is a skills based game of playing card, analysis of pots, cards statistics, betting patterns and your opponent.  Studies have shown that there is a part of the men’s left brain that is significantly larger that controls mathematical ability and in women there was a larger part in the sensory stimuli.  Women on the other hand process equally between the left and right brain which make them more creative of problem solving which involve communication.  Being aware of this, will help you understand how to relate to your husbands love for poker and help you understand to share in the passion as well.

Reaction to stress.  As reviewed, women have the extra hormone of oxytocin which is released during stress to calm and nurture and men release testosterone which reduce oxytocin.  In poker, stress can come in several forms:  from the initial start of seeing the hundreds of other players (it is like a competition), sitting at a table (you know it is fight for the chips), hand per hand (stress increases when you see a good hand), when you raise and someone calls or raises you, moving tables, going to the next day, losing a pot, having to rebuy, another player getting on your nerves, and yes “us” (the nagging/unsupporting wife).   Of all these, I would bet that the worst and most stressful for a man is the last one, the wife.  So you can see that a PokerWifeForLife would really help reduce stress and on the other hand explain why he reacts the way he does “with aggression” when confronted with stress. 

Emotions Women typically are more in touch with their feeling and emotions while men are not.  I really did not have to tell you this right?  However, this “in touch” feeling is especially highlighted during hormonal shifts so be aware of that.  In poker, a man can speak by betting, raising, calling or folding.  That’s it.  If they do get into a poker altercation, it may rumble a bit and then be over.  Really over!  Then it is friendly and move on.  Women have to talk it out, think about the both sides and the deeper part.  Because of this women have a difficult time relating to the man-man friendships and vice versa.  For PokerWifeForLife, consider how you communicate with your husband.  If you call your husband during his tournament, how are you communicating with him.  If he tells you “everything is good”, it is.  You don’t need any more validation.   More on that later.

Okay, these are the four main reasons why men like poker, it is his in his genetic arena for relationships, left brain skills, stress level and emotions.

For women, if we can understand that core and be able to relate and communicate, we are one step closer to being a PokerWifeForLife! 

You learned about the mapping, why it relates to poker, now let’s learn how we this affects men and women in the communication of poker.

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Retrieved from the World Wide Web on June 8, 2010:

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**If you feel that you someone that has a problem with gambling or addiction, please find and contact help. 

**This does not make any claims, only based on personal testimony.

**I am not making any financial guarantees


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