Why Raised Testosterone Could Be Terrible For Your Poker Game.

There are lots of places in the world higher levels of testosterone can help you get ahead: the gym, the bedroom, some studies even suggest the boardroom.

But one place where a little extra male hormone might be counterproductive is the casino. The results of new research, published in an article in the scientific journal Nature, appears to show a negative correlation between raised levels of testosterone and the ability to succeed at poker.

The article called “Effects of Testosterone Administration on Strategic Gambling in Poker Play” quoted one study, consisting of 20 healthy women, aged between 19 and 26, who were either given a 0.5mg increase in testosterone or a placebo.

Participants were placed in a heads-up situation, meaning only two players facing off, and particular focus was placed the likelihood of both groups to attempt to a bluff one another and the success of this tactic depending on the different hormone profiles.

The study ultimately came to two main conclusions, neither of them particular comforting for those of us who go out of our way to keep our hormone levels at a natural peak.

1. Firstly the research team stated that;

“After testosterone administration participants, bluffing becomes more exploitable by the opponent, as bluffing is more strongly dependent on hand value and consistent with that, cold bluffing decreases. Thus, testosterone administration induces players to revert to a less profitable strategy.”

In short, while players with elevated T levels are a little more inclined to take the bait.

2. It was also found that those in the active group were more inclined to call an opponent’s bet, as opposed to folding it and moving on to the next hand, something which is contributed to the hormone’s propensity for encouraging risk taking and competitiveness.

While this characteristic has frequently been shown to be an advantage in arenas like the world of professional sport or business, obviously in a gambling situation there is far more opportunity for such instincts to backfire.

At this point you may be wondering why researchers chose women to conduct this experiment on, well in their own words,

“We exclusively recruited women because the critical parameters (quantity and time course) for inducing neurophysiological effects after sublingual administration of testosterone are known in women but not in men.”

How transferable these results are to us guys, given our very different relationship with testosterone is up for debate, but until a clinical trial is rolled out to include men, maybe don’t go straight from the gym to your weekly card game just to be on the safe side.

It’s worth bearing in mind too, that there are numerous health and performance benefits attributed to keeping your testosterone at its natural peak, so while it may not be a good idea to gamble your money and high testosterone, it might be an even worse one to gamble with your health and low testosterone.

Write a comment