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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 Poker Pro Magazine (8)


Projection in Poker

Projection is a classic phenomenon in psychology. Most people have heard the word and may even have a pretty good sense of what it refers to. But for clarity and to make sure that we’re all on the same page, here’s the key line from the authoritative Penguin Dictionary of Psychology.

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The Twilight Zone and How to Survive in It

A poker game usually starts out sensibly. You wander over to the local card room, buy some chips and sit down with folks of varied backgrounds, personalities and skills and mix it up a bit. Games will be tight, loose, varied and shifting. Players are weak, strong, tricky or predictable.

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Murder, Mayhem and Misinterpretation

Two events occurred that drew the attentions of sports bettors, poker aficionados, small-time hoods, organized crime, the casino industry and, of course, the legal establishment. In one, a sports-betting ring operating “in” the poker room at Atlantic City’s Borgata casino was broken up. The word “in” is in quotes to make it clear that, while the action took place in the casino, its personnel and management have not (so far as is publicly known) been implicated. The second occurred in one of the larger underground poker rooms in New York City where armed robbers held up the club. In the chaotic scene that ensured a gun went off (apparently accidentally, as if that mattered) and killed one of the players, a middle-aged school teacher from New Jersey who was a regular in the room.

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I’m Just Playing My Rush

We’ve all seen this one: Some guy wins a couple of hands in a row. He starts telling jokes, high-fiving friends, and gleefully stacking chips while announcing to all just how good he really is. To some extent, we all do this. It is almost irresistible. We’ve all been on a “rush;” it’s a real high. We feel invulnerable. We believe that it was our skill that led to this tsunami of chips now in front of us. A little later reality may force a return to a more sober assessment of our game, but for now we feel pretty damn good about ourselves. Winning a whole lot of chips is great fun and if we can’t enjoy these moments, what’s the point?

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So, I was in my favorite game of $5 - $10 no limit hold ‘em playing with all the verve and grace of a guy who has been on a bit of roll. I got smacked around pretty quickly when a bluff got snapped off and a flopped set got run down but, no matter, I’m the best here, right? Right!

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