Testing for leading online poker brand PartyPoker

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March 30, 2015 9:36 am

Testing for leading online poker brand PartyPoker



In November we conducted a study which aimed to look at the physiological responses of the brain of participants’ during a game of playing poker. The study recruited six males, two who were deemed ‘expert players’, two ‘intermediate players’ and two ‘beginner players’.  Each player was asked to sign into their own Party Poker account and play 40 minutes of poker.

EEG headsets were used to measure the physiological responses and the output was viewed using special software to allow the viewing of engagement, frustration, and long and short term excitement. This was then coordinated with the players game to allow insight into their emotional reactions to certain events within the game. The players also had to answer a few questions straight after their session on their experience.

This study was designed to provide results for a content project with poker brand PartyPoker called Your Brain On Poker. The content is an interactive graphic which provides details on the brain’s activity during certain stages in poker at differing skill levels.

Headline Findings

  • There were some reactions which were universal across players, such as an increase in levels of excitement when winning a hand or increase in frustration when losing.
  • Expert players preferred to play more than one table at once. Playing multiple tables led to an increase in levels of excitement when required to play their turn on all tables at once.
  • When intermediate players were required to take their turn on more than one table, they experienced an increase in levels of frustration rather than excitement.

The results of the study showed some noticeable differences between the different skills levels of players. The beginner level players [player 1, player 4] both played on just one table throughout their session. Both showed an increase in excitement when it was their turn to call in, and both showed frustration while waiting for other players to play their hand. Winning a hand lead to an increase in excitement in both players, however player 4, who played for free, also showed excitement when the first hand was won despite not winning himself.

The intermediate players [player 5, player 6] had quite different reactions to each other. Player 5, who was playing for cash, showed an increase in frustration levels while waiting for other players turns. He opened up a second table which was followed by a rise in engagement levels; however, when required to take a turn on both levels there was an increase in frustration levels suggesting he did not have the skills or experience to cope with this adequately.

Player 6, who played for free, started the session with high excitement levels but quickly lost all of his chips, causing them to fall. He experienced peaks in excitement during the first round betting in his new game and after winning a hand. Unlike player 5, he did not open up a second table.

The expert players [player 2, player 3] both opened up multiple tables early on which led to an increase in excitement and engagement. Unlike the intermediate player, neither experienced frustration when required to make decisions on two tables at once. Player 2 replayed hands in between his hand, while player 3 showed an increase in left frontal lobe activity, suggesting both players drew on previous experience to inform their current hands which may explain why they did not show frustration.

For more details of the study, visit Your Brain on Poker.