Social Anxiety Potential For Poker

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 26th, 2010

poker in a more conventional arena, the basic principles of social interaction are the same. Poker is, by nature and by tradition, a game that is distinctly American. The game is upheld as one that favors the bold, the risk-taker, and the clever. However, any modern scholars of the game will tell you that in today's poker environment, you need more brains than guts. The fact is, in the current poker world, if you're not a student of the game's intellectual, self-analytical aspects, then you're doomed to achieving nothing but failure.

In modern poker, social anxiety need not be the cause for someone to skip out of a poker game. There are some poker theorists that surmise that the introverted and people who have social anxiety are, given enough prodding, possibly naturally better players than anyone else. This stands in contrast to the old beliefs and traditions of poker, which has notoriously upheld the same social standard for success as contemporary American society. In other words, if you make a lot of noise and can back up that noise, you're going to succeed.

However, poker has always been a game of analysis and self-analysis. While a loud-mouthed extrovert has the potential for both, oftentimes, he's too busy psyching other players out with his words to really do any concrete analysis of the pot odds. In contrast, the introvert with social anxiety is, statistically speaking, more concerned with analyzing people's movements and reading the patterns in their actions. To grasp both of those concepts is to wield an exceptional tool when playing poker. Also, the introvert and the man with social anxiety tend to both spend a lot of time analyzing themselves, understanding their place in the world, and their own behavioral patterns. This facet of the poker game is just as important as knowing the right time and place to call a bluff.

This theory does have some problems, however. For one thing, poker is as much a social experience as it is a game of skill. This means that people with social anxiety are not likely to feel comfortable in such a setting, especially when compounded with the pressure of having to pit one's wits against other players. The extrovert might also unwittingly unnerve an inexperienced introvert at the game. Most variants of poker demand then player to have an maintain a fast learning curve.

Another problem would be the willingness of people with social anxiety to actually step into a poker game. Poker is still a social activity and, by nature, people with social anxiety are not likely to willingly participate in a social activity. While the allure of cash and the presentation of a challenge might work, these methods are unlikely to convince most introverted people to become poker players.

The obvious solution would be to first work on wearing down the fear of social interaction, while at the same time introducing them to poker. The Internet can be of great help in this pursuit, as most introverts and people with social anxiety do not experience heavy discomfort interacting with others in a virtual setting. While poker online has some subtle strategic differences from

Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
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