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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 (41)


Post-flop play – Part II

Back to our discussion of post-flop play; see Part I. V. Control pot size. This one is tricky, almost certainly trickier than you think. Controlling pot size has two obvious elements, keeping it small and making it grow. When you’re on a draw you usually want to keep the pot small (adjusted, of course, for fold equity). There are some straightforward gambits here, particularly when first to act such as blocking bets (initial bets that are likely to be less than your opponent would bet) or “timely” checks (made after “thinking” for some time) which can induce a check from an opponent.

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Post-flop play – Part I

This is the first of a series of columns on post-flop strategy. While I usually focus on the psychological elements of the game, I’m going down this road in an effort to identify the psychological factors that underlie the complex strategic elements of post-flop play of no-limit hold ‘em.

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What’s Money Worth? Part II

Last column was a discussion about money and what it’s worth, a topic sufficiently complex to warrant another look. The key idea here is that winning and losing are asymmetrical. Losing money produces psychological pain that is greater than winning a comparable amount produces psychological happiness. This asymmetry gives us a foundation to get a deeper understanding of some aspects of our game that often have experts scratching their heads, specifically bad beat jackpots, the popularity of tournaments, bankroll variance and nosebleed level games.

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What’s Money Worth? Part I

Money is funny stuff. Everybody wants it, most of us don’t have enough of it (or don’t think we do) and, oddly, when people suddenly manage to get a lot of it, they typically do not grasp what they have, do not understand it and don’t know what to do with it.

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Memory: A Few Surprises

Ah, memory, our precious capacity. We recall past events, relive them, summon anew the emotions linked with them —- and, of course, conveniently edit them for future needs. Memory makes us human. No other creature can, with the flick of a neuron, revive the past, reignite old passions, reconvene special moments and treat these ephemeral visions as though they were real, palpable and not fleeting phantasms or illusions. Without a past, there could be no present.

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