Science behind the gaming thrill
Although not necessarily an innate part of the human psyche, the popularity of gambling has endured since ancient times. Online gambling is more accessible, fairer and safer than ever before, so the love affair with attempting to predict the unpredictable looks set to continue. Of course, the most obvious attraction of playing any game of chance or skill for money is the prospect of winning relatively large sums for a small initial outlay or, in effect, ‘something for nothing’. This is especially true of some forms of gambling, such as poker, which offer the – albeit mistaken – belief that the bettor can use skill to influence the outcome.
Poker is a game that combines skill, strategy and a massive amount of chance. Professional poker players rely on their success in tournament poker to earn a living, so gamble by necessity. Some non-professional poker players, on the other hand, play simply for thrill of winning; any money they earn simply provides confirmation of their achievements in a game where success is hard to come by.
However, for many other tournament poker players, winning is not the be-all and end-all of the experience. Other motivations for gambling on poker, which include escapism, fun and enjoyment and socialising, depend on the individual, but there are other, purely physiological, reasons why gambling is a pleasurable experience. The risk-taking element of playing tournament poker stimulates the secretion of adrenalin and endorphins – hormones that heighten the senses and can induce feelings of euphoria – so, win or lose, tournament poker players may still experience an emotional ‘high’.
Whatever their motivation for playing tournament poker in the first place, players should be conscious of the fact that, while they may need to improvise their strategy from time to time, certain basic principles always apply.