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Arthur S. ReberI’ve spent over fifty years living two parallel lives. In one I am a semi-degenerate gambler, a poker junkie, horse player, and blackjack maven; in the other, a scientist specializing in cognitive psychology and related topics in the neurosciences, the origins of consciousness and the philosophy of mind. For the most part, I’ve kept these tracks separate mainly because my colleagues in each have little appreciation for the wonder, the complexities and the just full-bore fun in the other.

But over time these two avenues of my life have meshed. There’s a lot that we know about human psychology that can give us insight into gambling, especially poker and, of course, there’s a lot that poker can teach us about human psychology. It is quite astonishing how richly these topics interlock. I’ll also introduce you to some engaging characters I’ve known – bookies, con artists, hustlers, professional poker players and perhaps an occasional famous scientist.

This site will wander about in both worlds with new columns and articles along with links to scores of previously published ones. Now that I’ve retired I’ve become something of a political junkies and will go on rants on politics and economics,  When the mood strikes I’ll share views on food, restaurants and cooking. Any and all feedback is welcome.

Entries in Fun 'N' Games Magazine (8)


Thoughts on Full Tilt Poker and Howard Lederer

If you’re not a poker player that title might be a bit obscure, so here’s a quick primer: Full Tilt Poker (FTP) was founded in the early 2000s by a couple of poker’s biggest stars, Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson. Other pros including Phil Ivey, John Juanda and Andy Bloch invested in the start-up and a day-trader named Ray Bitar, who was a friend of Ferguson’s, became CEO. The company became wildly successful and was, before its dramatic demise, the second largest online poker site in the world (behind Poker Stars).

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Is Life a Game of Skill?

Okay, poker’s a game of skill. What about the rest of life? I’m serious. Is life a game where skill dominates luck, where talent and aptitude trump the RNG running in the background? This isn’t an idle question. It’s attracted the attention of social scientists and some interesting things are known – perhaps the most interesting is that the ol’ fickle finger of fate plays a larger role in our lives than we realize, and a far larger one than we like to acknowledge.

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Is Poker a Game of Skill?

Is poker a game of skill? If you ask a seasoned player, they’ll tell you “of course it is.” In fact, many of my poker playing friends, the ones who make their living at the game, are so sick of this question that they will walk out of a room if it is raised. They know that it is a game of skill because if it wasn’t they wouldn’t be able to pay the bills, put food on the table and, in some cases, afford that new Porsche in the driveway.

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Making the Final Table in a Poker Tournament

This column is written for those of you who have more than a passing familiarity with tournament poker, either through playing in or watching them on TV. For those of you who do not, read on anyway. Perhaps you will be motivated to learn this fascinating, alluring, frustrating game. If you know even a little about tournament poker, you know a few basic things.

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Getting Started in Poker

So let’s play a little poker I: The culture of the card room Poker continues to grow in popularity. Card rooms are flourishing in Atlantic City, in the Connecticut woods, the Mississippi shore, the riverboats in the Midwest, the entire west coast and, of course, in Las Vegas —- not to mention all those quasi-legal ’private’ clubs that have long operated in cities and towns around the country. And not only are people playing the game, they are talking about it, reading about it and debating strategy. There are magazines devoted to poker, chat rooms, web sites, poker counselors, poker ‘boot-camps,’ hundreds of major poker tournaments are run every week with entry fees from a few cents (in online games) to $50,000. The Main Event at the World Series of Poker has attracted over 8,000 players in some years, each of whom ponied up $10,000 for a shot at immortality.

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