A research team from Lancaster University and the University of Finland studying online poker players establish that the late 15th Century Italian political advisor Niccolo Machiavelli would have bluffed big and got a tad angry when the victim of slow play.
Niccolo Machiavelli was a late 15th Century political consultant born in Florence, who achieved notoriety and angered the Christian church, over his thoughts on what makes a good leader as waxed lyrical in his two most prominent pieces of literature: The Prince and The Discourses.
And it seems he might also have been an excellent poker player.
Dr Jeff Yan of Lancaster University and post-doc researcher Jussi Palomäki came to that conclusion after research based on the behaviour of online poker players led to the publication of the paper: ‘Machiavelli as a poker mate – a naturalistic behavioural study on strategic deception.’
Machiavelli was of the belief that being sly and dishonest was an important trait for a politician because citizens needed their rulers to be ruthless to protect them from evil rising from within and trying to bash down the castle walls down from without.
The son of a lawyer believed that it was necessary for leaders to lean towards the darker arts to help rule and this led to the term Machiavellian being branded on people behind their backs when they had engaged in amoral and deceptive acts.
Enough with the history, let’s get back to the study.
The pair studied 490 online poker players in a bid to learn more about the psychology of strategic deception and came to the conclusion that people who display high levels of Machiavellian traits were more likely to bluff bigger than those with low-Machiavellian traits.
Both Yan and Palomäki believe players behave this way because the Machiavellian’s like to be in control as they abhor weakness. They also believe Machiavellian’s are likely to go apeshit if opponents use the same sort of deception against them such as slow-playing a big hand.
“We found a positive correlation between sensitivity to poker losses and Machiavellianism. Losing in poker was emotionally more stressful to High Machiavellians than others.” Said Yan.
So what can we learn from all of this great work?
Poker players can gain some knowledge from it. Players who have a tendency to lose their shit when they are the victim of slow play might be inclined to bluff slightly bigger than his or her peers.
And it’s no wonder that Barack Obama is a poker player.
It seems that poker players with high-Machiavellian tendencies are also likely to be wise, very strategic, strong, brave, and ruthless, and that means should they ever lose their bankroll they would make the perfect politicians.
Oh, I nearly forgot.
Poker players also prefer to be holding the whip when involved in a spot of BDSM.