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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 (25)


Worst Bad Beat I Ever Saw

Two guys, I have no idea what their names were so let’s call ‘em Ching and Gerry. Ching was a young Asian kid with shades, spiky hair and leaked aggression out of every pore. He’d been playing off and on at our room and had a lot of guys intimidated. Gerry was a thirty-something regular in the room. He played a decent game, lost more than he won but won enough to keep coming back. The game was no-limit hold ‘em with $5 - $5 blinds and a $1500 max buy-in.

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The Slow Play

A friend of mine, let’s call him Zorro, is a frequent contributor to our poker chat room. Zorro signs off all his emails with the line “more money has been lost than won by slow playing big hands.” It’s a good line. I’ve read it now maybe a thousand times and am impressed by how firmly my friend clearly believes this is gospel.

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The Gambler’s Fallacy

You’ve probably never heard of the gambler’s fallacy; if you have, go click on another link. If not, read on because if you don’t know you have likely fallen into its trap and it’s costing you money. The gambler’s fallacy is a condition that besets nearly everyone at various times in their lives. However, as befits the name, it is famously frequent in gamblers and it is, of course, a fallacy. It was discovered by psychologists and has been a topic of study for decades and the “ol’ perfesser” here is going to give a lecture on it. Get out your notebooks.

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Post-flop Play – VI

This is the last installment in our extended discussion of the psychological nuances of NLHE, the game designed to be played after the flop. In the early years when few played NLH, the conventional wisdom was only see a flop with a premium hand. David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth became the most respected teachers in the game because they understood this principle first and developed it to a higher degree than anyone else.

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Post-flop Play – V

Okay guys, we’re back ruminating on post-flop play. Today’s thoughts are driven by a burst of testosterone. Not quite sure why but maybe ‘cause I thumped some fish last night and I’m stoked. So, let’s begin with the obvious: Grow steel cojones. In virtually every competitive enterprise aggression carries benefits. One of my favorite lines comes from the inestimable Mike Caro, “aggression is rarely wrong in poker, and when it is, it isn’t wrong by much.”

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