Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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

.

News

Winkler trial: Prosecution, defense rest cases

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

 
EDUHSD: 5 vie for 3 seats

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1

8 vie for Cameron Park CSD

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: B1

 
New general manager hired by GDPUD

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

 
Former GDPUD GM gets $67k in settlement

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

Child hit by car in EDH

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

 
New Animal Shelter now open

By Health and Human Services Agency | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Tunnel repair to take 5 months

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A1

 
Cal Fire union endorses three for CPCSD board

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A3

Northside School Class I bike path opened in Cool

By Rebecca Murphy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
EID backs state water bond

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A3

 
.

Opinion

 
No to Prop. 46

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

.

Letters

Measure K impacts us too

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Yes on O

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Band of not so merry men

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Huh?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

From Idaho

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Keep McClintock in the Congress

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

.

Sports

Penalty kick keys Bruins’ victory

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Trojan girl’s teams first at Sturgeon

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Local squads race at Bronco Invite

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Outside with Charlie: East side

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A6

Cougars ace Rosemont

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Roundup: Oct. 21, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

.

Prospecting

At a glance: Here comes the Sun

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

 
Saw mill kid’s humble beginnings

By Mike Roberts | From Page: B2

Pumpkin Path open at Cedar Springs Waldorf School

By Cedar Springs | From Page: B2

 
‘Rebellion’ does not disappoint readers

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B3

Grow For It: Saving seeds

By Linda Sanford | From Page: B3

 
Food Day looks at all things food

By California State Unversity, Sacramento | From Page: B4

 
Conference features dynamic speakers

By News Release | From Page: B4

 
.

Essentials

Weather stats 10-21-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Building permits 10/13-17/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Crime Log: Oct. 12-14

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Wilma Pearlene Jacaban

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Grace Mary Wieland Trumbly

By Contributor | From Page: A2

.

Real Estate

.

Comics

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Thursday, October 23, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Horoscope, Wednesday, October 22, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A8

New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Long Story Short

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A8