Friday, May 1, 2015
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Rock doc: The science of detecting bluffs

By
October 26, 2013 |

Experienced poker players know the basic odds of drawing the card they need to build a better hand. They also are good at estimating if their hand is likely to be better than those of the other players around the table. In other words, probability and statistics are built into the game of poker.

Proficient poker players are also good at a more human-based skill. They spend time and effort trying to read the faces of their opponents. The goal is to deduce whether other players hold strong or weak hands based on the way their faces look as they play. That element of poker isn’t based on statistics so much as on practical psychology.
As the famous Kenny Rogers song about gambling says, “Son, I’ve made a life/Out of reading people’s faces/Knowing what the cards were/By the way they held their eyes.”
A good poker player develops a “poker face” that minimizes how much his or her visage betrays the cards in play. That fact has been known as long as people have been betting on card games. But now there’s evidence recently discussed at the ScienceNews Website that having a good poker face isn’t enough. It seems card players need to develop “poker arms” as well. Here’s the scoop – one that you may find useful in your next card game.
Psychology researchers at Tufts University acquired video of high-ranking poker players playing cards and making bets at the World Series of Poker. The researchers then had 78 college students try to predict whether the players had good or strong hands based on the way they looked.
First the students were shown video of the players’ upper bodies and faces. The students had no luck predicting the players’ hands based on that aspect of the video record. That’s just a long way of saying that the high-ranking poker players really did have “poker faces.”
Next, the researchers had the students study video of the players’ arms as the players placed bets on the tables in front of them. Using just that information, the students were often able to predict which players held strong hands versus which had weak ones. Those with good cards seemed to move their arms more smoothly compared to those with poor cards who were bluffing as they placed their bets. The bluffers appeared to have more awkward arm movements.
One thing I find quite impressive about that result is that the college students studying the video were not professional poker players. They may have played the odd hand of poker in their lives, but they were not experts. Nonetheless, these comparative novices could — on average — make a pretty good guess as to whether folks in the World Series of Poker in fact held good hands or not.
If the results of the Tufts study hold up, we’ll need to update the Kenny Rogers song. It’s not just the way poker players hold their eyes that can betray them, but the way they push their chips across the table.
Good luck with your next hand of cards.
Dr. E. Kirsten Peters, a native of the rural Northwest, was trained as a geologist at Princeton and Harvard. This column is a service of the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University.

Comments

Subscription Required

Thank you for reading the MtDemocrat.com digital edition. In order to continue reading this story please choose one of the following options.

Current Subscribers
If you are a current subscriber and wish to obtain access to MtDemocrat.com, please select the Subscriber Verification option below. If you already have a login, please select "Login" at the lower right corner of this box.

Subscriber Verification

Special Introductory Offer
For a short time we will be offering a discount to those who call us in order to obtain access to MtDemocrat.com and start your print subscription. Our customer support team will be standing by Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm to assist you.

Call and Save! (530) 344-5000

If you are not a current subscriber and wish not to take advantage of our special introductory offer, please select the $12 monthly option below to obtain access to MtDemocrat.com and start your online subscription

Help?

E. Kirsten Peters

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    News

    Heard over the back fence: Bicycle rodeo

    By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

     
    CAO pulls rank on budget preparation

    By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

    Mikulaco blasts budget process

    By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

     
    State Water Board issues final draft regulations

    By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

     
    El Dorado County man in Nepal quake

    By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Concord man sentenced to 5 years for DUI

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

     
    Pure Life arraignment hearing continued

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A3

     
    Abandoned car found off Hwy. 49

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Rabid skunk identified in Pleasant Valley area

    By Health and Human Services Agency | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Opinion

    A better understanding

    By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

     
    The weekly Daley: Potpourri

    By Chris Daley | From Page: A4

    Something to think about: May Day

    By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Letters

    The liberal view of compromise

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

     
    Sidewalks near Rasmussen Park dangerous

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

    Making Living History Day happen

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

     
    A valid point about getting water

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

    Renewed our faith

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

     
    .

    Sports

    Racing resumes with 4 divisions

    By News Release | From Page: A6

     
    El Dorado wins big

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

    D’backs, Cougars finish 1-2

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

     
    Griz boys champs, girls 2nd

    By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Golden Sierra gets another title

    By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    Trojans drop 2nd straight

    By Mike Bush | From Page: A7

    Helm in Australia’s Ironman

    By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A7

     
    Roundup: April 29, 2015

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

    Lacrosse: Late rally not enough for Oak Ridge

    By Mike Bush | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Prospecting

    Plant sale seeds Demonstration Garden

    By Dawn Hodson | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCCE Master Gardener plant selection

    By Dawn Hodson | From Page: B1

    Things to do: May 1, 2015

    By Democrat Calendar | From Page: B2

     
    ‘Disney’s High School Musical’ teaches life lessons

    By Pat Lakey | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Flowers and trashy art

    By El Dorado Arts Council | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Handcar Derby benefits railroading

    By Folsom Handcar Derby | From Page: B3

    Olde Coloma Theatre opens 2015 melodrama season

    By Olde Coloma | From Page: B4

     
    See basket weaving at Indian Museum

    By State Indian Museum | From Page: B6

    Fundraiser features Capitol Pops

    By Capitol Pops Concert Band | From Page: B6

     
    Delta Wires blow into Sutter Creek

    By Sutter Creek | From Page: B7

    Top musicians to perform

    By Mother Lode Friends Of Music | From Page: B7

     
    .

    Essentials

    Correction

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Thelma Gruber Parker

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

     
    Nadine Ella Tyrrell Pierson

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

    Mary Lynn Klasch

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

     
    Marty Perry

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

    Herb “Gus” Grosz

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

     
    Edward Gorden Miskovsky

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

    Lorretta Fuller

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

     
    .

    Real Estate

    Buying a home? More money required … Ka-Ching

    By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS2

     
    Putting the humble back in home

    By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS3

    EDCAR reports open house scare

    Press Release | From Page: HS4

     
    Realtors expect market to continue its upswing

    By California Association Of Realtors | From Page: HS10

    .

    Comics

    Tundra

    By Contributor | From Page: A9

     
    Long Story Short

    By Contributor | From Page: A9

    Shoe

    By Contributor | From Page: A9

     
    Sudoku

    By Contributor | From Page: A9

    Rubes

    By Contributor | From Page: A9

     
    TV Listings

    By Contributor | From Page: A9

    Speed Bump

    By Contributor | From Page: A9

     
    New York Times Crossword

    By Contributor | From Page: A10

    Horoscope, Sunday, May 3, 2015

    By Contributor | From Page: A10

     
    Horoscope, Saturday, May 2, 2015

    By Contributor | From Page: A10

    Horoscope, Friday, May 1, 2015

    By Contributor | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Home Source

    Buying a home? More money required … Ka-Ching

    By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS2

    Putting the humble back in home

    By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS3

    EDCAR reports open house scare

    Press Release | From Page: HS4

    Realtors expect market to continue its upswing

    By California Association Of Realtors | From Page: HS10