Dutch Researchers Believe it’s Better to Gamble on an Empty Stomach

TAGs: Caesars, Iowa Gambling Task, Lee Davy, Netherlands, Utrecht University, WSOP

Researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands have carried out studies that reveal people make better decisions when they are hungry after taking what is known as the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT).

Dutch Researchers Believe it’s Better to Gamble on an Empty StomachDuring the World Series of Poker (WSOP), this summer, my wife and I had a blazing argument as we drove to the Rio. She was explaining to me (a nicer way of writing screaming) that she was in a mood because she hadn’t eaten, and I was telling her that she might not be right (a nicer way of writing that she was talking shite).

She opened the car door and told me to get out.

It was boiling, there was no sidewalk, and I was carrying all of my gear.

No chance.

If she was that hungry then I would hazard a guess that the hunger led to her making a somewhat rash decision, but according to new research fresh out of Holland, I might be wrong.

A research team from Utrecht University have carried out a series of studies that have revealed that people make better decisions when they are hungry. This decision was reached after a series of study participants were asked to fast for the evening, and then, the next morning, half of them were given food, and the other half weren’t.

For the next few hours, both study groups were given tasks to complete in accordance with the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) – a well-known psychological test used to simulate real-life decision-making widely used in research of cognition and emotion.

The results revealed that hungry people had a better perception of long term, big and juicy rewards, and also disproved the theory that people make rash decisions when in a ‘hot state’(a state when your emotions are running high and you have to make a quick decision).

I say poppycock.


Because I love the word, and I use it when I want to write bollocks, but can’t because some people might find it offensive.

Bollocks I just wrote bollocks.

News of the study first appeared in the Daily Mail and the first thought that comes to mind – after poppycock – is ‘why are they studying this? Don’t we still have a cancer problem to solve?’ Then you realize that the money behind the study probably came from live tournament organizers. It’s another one of those insidious cost cutting exercises that we all hate.

Food today, no food tomorrow.

Perhaps, this is why the food at the WSOP is shit. We’ve been complaining for years when all along Caesars are actually doing us a favor. By starving us we are likely to be making better decisions in the long run.

That must mean that All American Dave is also doing the poker community a favor. When you consider that only people who earn in excess of £100,000 per year can actually afford a plate of his food, then that means all the pros are getting sluggish whilst we are all getting a lot smarter.

But I just don’t buy this whole ‘hot state’ lark.

How could it possibly be true that you can make good decisions when in a ‘hot state?’ Tell that to the guy who really doesn’t want to be unfaithful but he is just about to get blown, and the guy who has just lost his mortgage on red, and is just about to place a night with his wife on black?

Like I said earlier.



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