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Poker Psychology

Psychology of Poker

poker psychology at the beginning brain differences genetic

Without getting too detailed, there IS a difference between men and women (boys and girls).  This affects our genetic makeup, our brain growth and development, how we identify to surroundings, and why we would react to poker differently.

Let’s take a look at the very essentials:  our genetics and our hormones.  For genetics, we have chromosomes which make up our DNA (our genes) and there are 23 of them.  22 of them are autosomes and one pair of sex chromosomes.  The 23rd one make up the male or female sex.  That is the first difference, XX is a female and XY chromosome define the male.   Science Daily has reported that the XY genes in males have documented to show more aggression and less nurturing qualities than females.  Have you ever seen this quality on the poker table?? 

The second difference is the hormones.  Of course, the men have the testosterone and women estrogen.  How this affects our brains before birth is pretty cool! In fact, it is quoted that because of the difference in our hormones,  we are hard wired differently from the very beginning.  An article written by Chris Woolston stated that there are differences in how a baby girl and boy develops in the womb.  The study conducted by Dr. McCarthy showed that boy babies are born with as much testosterone as a 25 year old man and plummets until they reach puberty.  In the womb, testosterone shapes the developing brain and may improve spatial reasoning.  This is the part of the brain involved with making mental pictures/movements used in computer science.  Now… I see the link between the love for poker strategy, don’t you? (Pot odds, calculation of hitting the nuts, implied value…)  Now for the girl’s development, there is some testosterone but more estrogen is the real difference.    

In an article titled, The Effects of Nature, female brains have more neurons in certain areas than in males and as a result having more estrogen, it bathes them “during fetal development”.  What does this mean?  Neurons transmit chemical signals to other parts of the brain, the more you have [the better] the communication.  With this, girls are born with processing neurons on both sides of the brain while boys have them only one the right which is the reason why girls read and write sooner than boys.  To summarize, boys have more developed spatial skills and that is why the would love to play with Legos and build, while, girls have an easier time processing and talking about feelings and emotions (we have seen in much great detail) than boys.     

On a final note of hormones, let us talk about stress hormones.  In stress, bodies produce epinephrine/cortisol which is the fight and flight glands.  Girls produce a third which is oxytonin (which prepares the body for birth) and enhances caring.  So under certain stress, a boy may show aggression while a girl may stand together or not fight at all.  You can see how playing poker hands would communicate different outcomes and this is all because our genetics have affected it, right?

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So how do we use this information?

My point here is to show you that we are different.  We are different from our 23rd chromosome, XX and XY which influences both our sex and stress hormones.  How he and she would react to hands in poker would be different.  For example, if he does not want to talk about a hand, it makes sense and why a woman would like to discuss in great detail.  Another example would be if he does discuss a hand, he would discuss the % and odds, she would probably describe the emotion and how she felt. This would cause some communication and misunderstanding...

Poker is stressful, hand per hand-it is like war-you have an opponent that you have to compete with.  It is one of the only competitions that every player will be “equalized”.  Your husband would probably never get a chance to play with Michael Jordan head’s up on the basketball court but in a poker tournament, your husband would probably play with many of the poker professionals they know and have an opportunity to beat them and win a title.  Since poker can create the full spectrum of emotions (even for a man), it is vital to have a woman to stand by her man. And the path to this is to understand the hard wiring of why we are the way we are.

Now that you understand the genetic mapping, let us go to the next stage of why poker he likes poker and why we don’t (at least why nature doesn’t allow us to).  You are one step closer to being a PokerWifeForLife. Next >>why he likes Poker


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

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

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

**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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