It’s all work and no play for professional poker players

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Professional poker players are not affected by wins and losses in the same way as recreational poker players because they treat poker as work.

Treating poker as work allows professional players to detach emotionally from a poker game. Meanwhile, people who play poker for fun are more likely to see poker as a form of entertainment

Journal article What Differentiates Professional Poker Players from Recreational Poker Players? A Qualitative Interview Study (February 2011) examined the differences between professional poker players and recreational poker players.

The study, carried out by researchers from England’s Nottingham Trent University, found that professional poker players were much more disciplined in their gambling behaviour than those who played for fun.

Researchers spoke to nine poker players (three professional, one semi-professional and five recreational, from across the UK) aged 23 years to 47 years old, during face-to-face interviews. Eight were male.

Of these poker players, all professional and semi-professional poker players were male. All participants played poker online and offline, but mainly online.

All participants indicated that online poker was their preferred form of gambling, and four participants regularly took part in other gambling activities such as roulette, sports betting, horse race betting, and blackjack.

Interestingly, none of the professional players regularly took part in any other form of gambling.

Professional poker players played more frequently and had longer sessions than recreational players, sometimes playing for up to 10 hours a day.

Recreational player sessions generally lasted up to two hours and they were more likely to play for lower stakes than professional players were.

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