Think testosterone is necessary to pull off daring poker bluffs and aggressive play? According to a recent study out of Cape Horn University, high testosterone will have the opposite affect and make you a more-passive poker player.
Appearing in a journal called Nature, a study titled Effects of Testosterone Administration on Strategic Gambling in Poker Play sought to find out how added testosterone would make woman play bluff poker. 20 women were dosed with a half milligram of testosterone to see how it affected their playing abilities.
The optimal bluff poker strategy is to cultivate an image that allows you to trick other players with your bluffs while selectively calling other players when you think they’re bluffing. But when the women who were injected with testosterone actually played worse than the placebo group. Specifically, they were too obvious on bluff attempts, mainly playing to the strength of their cards. They also called too frequently, which is not an ideal strategy in bluff poker.
So why did the testosterone-filled women play more predictable and with a worse-overall strategy? According to the Cape Horn researchers, those with high testosterone are typically dominant in the human/animal kingdom, meaning they don’t need to be deceitful to gain an advantage. Here’s more explanation on why higher testosterone can lead to worse poker play:
“If testosterone in humans encourages dominance behaviour in ways corresponding to other animals, the hormone should not increase cheating behaviour, but instead improve reputation building and cheater detection. Indeed, there is evidence in humans that dishonest, treacherous behaviour is associated with low testosterone levels49. Additionally, as noted earlier, administration of testosterone has shown to induce reputable and honest behaviours in human males and females.”