Before we get into the rest of the survey, here’s a quick recap of part 1: I was playing on Party Poker and came across an online player deriding WSOPE champion Annette Obrestad. I was stunned to find out this poker troll was actually a woman. So I left the friendly confines of Party Poker and set out to find some of the major differences between men and women in terms of poker. I ended up asking 20 poker players (12 men and 8 women) a series of ten questions in the hopes of getting at an essential difference between the way women see poker and the way men see poker. These are the results of the first 4 questions which we went over in part 1:
Question 1: Is poker a sport?
• 12 said yes, 8 said no: 6 Men said yes, 6 Men said no, 6 Women said yes and 2 Women said no
Question 2: Is poker a sin?
• 18 say no, 2 say yes: all 12 Men said no, 6 Women said no and 2 Women said yes
Question 3: How do you make money playing poker?
• 5 Men and 1 Woman said being smart, 3 Women and 2 Men said good strategy, 3 Men said practice, 2 Women said bluffing, 1 Man and 2 Women said reading people and 1 Man said that he would like to know
Question 4: Can a member of the opposite sex use their sex to distract players at the table?
• 16 said yes, 4 said no: 11 Men said yes, 1 said no, 5 Women said yes and 3 Women said no
So without any further ado, here are the responses to the remaining 6 questions accompanied by more of my over-the-counter psychological analysis.
Question 5: Who is naturally better at poker: men, women or are they equal?
9 said Equal, 7 said Menand 4 said Women: 5 Men and 4 Women said Equal, 5 Men and 2 Women said Men and 2 Men and 2 Women said Women
A higher percentage of men chose men (5 out of 12 for 41.6%) than women who chose women (2 out of 8 for 25%.) It seems to be a bit of a boy’s club. On the other hand, if we go back to the chat with froggo where she came down on Annette Obrestad for using her feminine wiles and couple that with these results, we can pick up a pattern – women tend to be harder on other women than men do. That said, the majority of people said that there is no inherent difference in poker ability between the sexes. When I asked a 35 year old man this question he laughed and said,
“Women, easily. Women can do one thing and be thinking another, men just don’t have big enough brains for that.”
Question 6: When you are at the poker table, do you speak freely, watch what you say or try to remain as silent as possible?
4 said freely, 8 said carefully and 8 said silent: 4 Men said freely, 5 Men and 3 Women said carefully and 3 Men and 5 Women said silent
Only men said that they would speak freely at the poker table, and most of them said that they would actually speak more than normal just to get into the heads of their competitors. Most women (5 out of the 8) said that they remain as silent as possible and really try to zero in on their opponents. I would think that this points to that macho part of men which sometimes announces their presence to the world. Women don’t usually seem to do that in the same way:
“It depends on how much I’ve had to drink.”
Question 7: Is there anything in the game of poker which is related to love or sex?
10 said yes, 10 said no: 5 Men said yes, 7 Men said no, 5 Women said yes and 3 Women said no
67.5% of women said yes, at least a part of poker is related to love and/or sex compared to only 41% of men who said yes. Of the three women who said no, 2 of them also had said that poker is a sin for whatever that’s worth. Of the 5 men who said yes, 3 said that money is so intrinsically related to sex that the mere act of winning a pot is sexual. In this sense, we see the connection men make between their sexual prowess and the amount of money that they have. Women who said yes, by and large discussed the love of the game that must underscore any player’s continued success.
“Seriously though, pocket rockets don’t give you a stiffy?”
“Poker is a fight, it’s about the friction. So… friction is important to good sex.”
Question 8: How do you dress at the poker table?
16 said normally or comfortably, 2 said sexy, 1 said in visible poker gear and 1 said in any way that would annoy the table: 10 Men said comfortably, 1 Man said in poker gear, 1 Man said to annoy the others, 6 Women said comfortably and 2 Women said sexy
Most people, regardless of their sex, choose comfort over style at the poker table. The four who did choose to present something to the table (two sexy dressed women, one man wearing poker gear and one man being annoying) seem to be doing so in keeping with previous decisions: the women who are trying to be distracting dress sexy while the men trying to be distracting dress to intimidate (if you are wearing poker gear then you superficially seem to be more official.)
“A push up bra, belly shirt and short shorts. High heels might be too much though.”
Question 9: Is poker arousing?
14 said no, 6 said yes: 10 Men said no, 2 Men said yes, 4 Women said yes and 4 Women said no
Again, men don’t see the sex in poker. One man who did say yes also said yes to the connection between sex and poker – he was one of those who had brought up the sexuality of money. Women who said yes to this question pointed out the thrill mystery, that there is something exciting about not knowing what someone actually has or what their real intentions are:
“Pleasure. Poker is about pleasure.”
“Bluffing is sexy.”
Question 10: Can you learn anything about life as a whole through poker?
All 20 people said yes
By far the most interesting responses came to this question. There’s not really much room for gendered over-the-counter psychology here as every last person said yes. So I’ll forgo my analysis and get to some of the quotes:
“Bluffing in the casino can make it easier to bluff at home.”
“How to put a value on what you have.”
“Life is about dealing with different personalities.”
“Dealing with imperfect information.”
“Who you really are, self-awareness. Are you someone who can look into someone’s eyes and lie? How are you as a competitor- overly emotional? Do you tilt too easily? The ‘you’ in a game of poker is the real you.”
“Can I still answer sex?”
To me, the results of this survey are telling of some basic differences between the sexes (much more so than analyzing the motives of a lady Hold’em troll on Party Poker at 1:30 in the morning.) Men really only pay attention to one thing at a time and so don’t see the sex in poker while women are generally multi-taskers and see connections that men don’t. Men think of success as a product of being something while women seem to think of it as more of a product of doing something. And perhaps the most telling answer is the one that every one answered yes to – is there anything to be learned about life through poker? Ultimately, human beings, regardless of sex, are creatures who are able to see the general in the specific, the very large inside of the very small – we can see the world and life as a whole in the little lessons of the poker table. And that’s what makes us human.