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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)


Stress in the Poker Wars

Poker is: (a) A stressful game (b) A game people play to relax (c) Both I choose ‘(c)’. Your answer will depend on a host of factors: how good a player you are, the stakes you play for and your own reasons for sitting down in the first place. Most poker players actually aren’t particularly skilled, but that’s okay. They are playing mainly for recreation. They play with friends in home games, they hit the local casino every once in a while, or fire up the old computer for an on-line game. The stakes are typically low and if they lose a couple of bucks, who even notices. If they win, cool. For these poker players, (b) is the answer and stress is largely absent.

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Psychology of the Chip: Size Counts

Chips are the coin of the realm in casinos. For the most part their denomination isn’t particularly important. Baccarat tables use “big” chips because the game invites large bets, roulette tables use special colored chips to distinguish each player but for the most part the psychological value of the chip is mainly to disguise the true financial nature of the enterprise.

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The Force Fallacy

That intergalactic saga, Star Wars, gave us one of life’s more annoying clichés: “May the force be with you.” The “force” in question here was some kind of cosmic power that could, apparently, be channeled by those with decades of intense training and a Zen-like understanding of the complexities of life (Yoda) or, lacking these, good looks and a couple of afternoons in a swamp (Luke Skywalker). This “force” was definitely a cool thing ‘cause it could make all manner of things happen, like moving objects, overcoming obstacles and, quite literally “forcing” the world to cooperate with you in particular ways.

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