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Avatars and the psychology of poker


Play_Analyst

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Hi all, you may remember that a few days ago I wrote a post on how my first impressions of the site had changed from a sceptic to someone who really enjoys playing on here.

This is another post along similar lines as to my impressions not of the site but of what and how people view your avatar and how my experiences using different avatars have either been profitable or not.

Admittedly I only have a small sample size to work with at the moment so it can't really be used as any scientific model but I have found that at least one avatar I have been using seems to be a loss making one. Even allowing for variance this avatar lost 14 Euros in a couple of sessions on the NL4 cash game tables. Raises were frequently called and if I checked using that avatar I often found that it was bet into. I was also using the "fun for all the family" symbol on the avatar. I don't want to give away to much more information about the avatar as I still want to use it to see if my theory holds up but I will add that it was a male and not one of the more gimmicky Frankenstein style ones.

Now for  comparison I have also used a female avatar combined with the "Right into my trap" spider's web symbol. I have found that this avatar combination has been very profitable in the short term. I've also noticed that players seem less inclined to bet out if I check to them. In fact I have found that if I do check and the player checks behind then if I lead out on the next street that player more often than not has folded.

I'll be keeping a record of this and the other avatars and combinations of symbols to see just how much they have a bearing from a psychological point of view of the other players that I'm playing against and I'd be interested to hear from you guys of your experiences of using different avatars and if you have experienced similar outcomes.

I'd also like to add at this point that I've played in roughly the same style using the different avatars in order to make the results more meaningful.

I have found it interesting that image (that's how other players see you) does appear to be a key factor in most people's play.

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To be honest, I take a quick glance at someone's avatar, then don't even think about it. The glance isn't even on purpose, it's a part of the game, when the action is on them. When choosing my avatar I gravitate towards animals, or something I can put a funny name to. You may be over analyzing this entire situation, but I look forward to your findings once you get more data.

I debate
Should I smile like everything's good and pretend that life is great
Or should I let the world see the real me and not hide this pain
I tried to be like the rest of y'all, sorry I just can't
I'ma probably die this way
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An opponent's avatar is not as relevant as they name this choose for themselves.

If it is an intelligent play on words that incorporates poker terminology or references an "upper-level" poker expression, I make them assumption that they are probably better than average for that level.

As for some avatars being "luckier" than others or inducing bad play from opponents, the former is not true but the latter may be.  You sample size, obviously, is too small to draw any conclusions.

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As I also said in the thread  linked to above, I don't think you can tell all that much about a player from their choice of avatar - or rather, you should never assume anything from it. The badge, however, is another story since it has been earned and the player probably chose to show off that particular "skill" for a reason. It's funny that you mention the spider badge, because even though I most assuredly don't play as frequently as you, I have noticed pretty much the same thing happening when I use it. Sure, it could be just a coincidence, but I still think the badge has a stronger psychological effect than the avatar - and perhaps the spider, especially, instills a bit of respect in your opponents. Because if you wear that badge, they know you've lured someone into a trap before - and they don't want to be next. :smileytongue:

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I agree with you that avatars do have a bearing on how some opponents play against you and as with most good poker players we sometimes pretend to be something we are not to induce a certain type of behaviour from other players.

Or do we portray a true representation of ourselves hoping that other players think we are portraying a false image of ourselves.

MAYBE WE OVER ANALYSE EVERYTHING:smileyvery-happy:

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Thanks again for the replies all. I've not had much chance to get on the tables the last few days so I don't have any new information about how the different avatars are playing out.

I have realised though that the time of day may also be a factor. Mornings and afternoon sessions could differ a lot from the evening sessions so I will also be making a note of the times of day I have used a particular avatar. I used to find that weekends had a lot more recreational players so that may also have to be a consideration.

As Magicadil has said, I may be over thinking it all a bit too much but the geek in me really wants to know if it the avatar has any bearing on how people perceive you.

Valkyrie you raise a good point about the spider's web badge. It's partly why I chose it so in order to see which makes a difference, the avatar or the badge I will run the same avatar with the spider badge for a week and then change the badge to see if it makes any difference.

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I didn't know you could choose a badge!

On all sites I've played I've tended to use the nearest thing available that looks like a friendly woman 'of a certain age'. It may be a very small factor but it's useful to exploit every edge you can and I'm sure I get more bluffs through in the long run than I would with a different avatar. After all, surely smiling older ladies are never bluffing!

I've tried to adapt avatar selection along similar lines on Unibet, usually trying to stay away from 'aggro' looking characters as I think it makes me more likely to get looked up by random opponents when I'm full of :cathappy: ❤️ :cathappy:.

Formerly known as StartlingGrope
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