Mikko Salmela

University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Southern Finland Province, Finland

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Publications (6)6.26 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Online poker and poker subcultures have become exceedingly popular. Previous studies assessing experience and skill in poker have revealed that proficiency in emotion regulation is a consequential factor in explaining financial success in the game. We assessed (N=478) the associations between poker players' (recruited from online poker forums) level of poker experience and HEXACO-PI-R personality traits. The results indicate that a predisposition for emotional stability-that is, lower scores on emotionality-is linked to high levels of poker experience. Thus, in order to become a successful and experienced poker player, it helps to be able to "keep cool" under pressure. Further exploratory analyses suggest that players who prefer live play to online play are more likely to be extroverted and open to experiences. The results contribute to the extant literature on individual differences in personality in poker players, and in particular help to fill the interdisciplinary gap between personality and gambling research.
    Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 09/2014; · 2.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Poker is a social game, where success depends on both game strategic knowledge and emotion regulation abilities. Thus, poker provides a productive environment for studying the effects of emotional and social factors on micro-economic decision making. Previous research indicates that experiencing negative emotions, such as moral anger, reduces mathematical accuracy in poker decision making. Furthermore, various social aspects of the game-such as losing against "bad players" due to "bad luck"-seem to fuel these emotional states. We designed an Internet-based experiment, where participants' (N = 459) mathematical accuracy in five different poker decision making tasks were assessed. In addition, we manipulated the emotional and social conditions under which the tasks were presented, in a 2 × 2 experimental setup: (1) Anger versus neutral emotional state-participants were primed either with an anger-inducing, or emotionally neutral story, and (2) Social cue versus non-social cue-during the tasks, either an image of a pair of human eyes was "following" the mouse cursor, or an image of a black moving box was presented. The results showed that anger reduced mathematical accuracy of decision making only when participants were "being watched" by a pair of moving eyes. Experienced poker players made mathematically more accurate decisions than inexperienced ones. The results contribute to current understanding on how emotional and social factors influence decision making accuracy in economic games.
    Journal of Gambling Behavior 03/2014; · 1.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Poker is a game of skill and chance, where players often experience significant monetary losses. Detrimental out-of-control poker decision-making due to negative emotions is known as tilting. A qualitative assessment of losing and tilting was conducted by analysing stories about significant monetary losses, written by Finnish on-line poker players (N = 60). Thematic and narrative analyses uncovered five themes and a narrative structure underlying the aetiology and phenomenology of tilting. Tilting, in the narratives, was often instigated by dissociative feelings (‘unreality’, disbelief) following a significant monetary loss. Thereafter, moral indignation was experienced, followed by chasing behaviour, in an attempt to restore a ‘fair balance’ between wins and losses. In the aftermath of tilting, self-focused feelings of disappointment, depression and/or anxiety, and sleeping problems were experienced. It was also observed that experienced players, as compared to inexperienced ones, exhibited in their narratives a more mature disposition towards encountering ‘bad luck’, and losing in general. The results are relevant in better understanding psychological processes related to losing in the multifaceted game of poker, thus contributing also to existing knowledge on detrimental gambling behaviour.
    International Gambling Studies 04/2013; 13(2):255-270.
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    ABSTRACT: In poker, detrimental decision-making as a result of losing control due to negative emotions is known as tilting. Previous evidence suggests that poker experience is related to better emotion regulation in dealing with poker losses, and possibly to reduced severity of tilting in the game. A correlational on-line study (N = 417) was conducted to operationalize the tilting phenomenon by defining certain experiential characteristics that conceivably protect players from tilting or predispose them to it. These characteristics, as well as a measurement of poker experience, were then used in predicting the severity of tilting. It was hypothesized that (1) players with more poker experience are more likely to perceive having tilted less severely, as a result of accumulating poker experience; (2) players with more poker experience have lower severity of tilting; (3) players with more poker experience report lower emotional sensitivity to losses; and (4) players with a higher emotional sensitivity to losses have higher severity of tilting. Hypotheses 1 and 4 were supported, hypothesis 3 was weakly supported, but contrary to hypothesis 2, poker experience was associated with higher tilting severity. It is argued that these results are sensible if experienced players are less likely to tilt in relative terms, per single hand, but more likely to tilt in the long run.
    Journal of Gambling Behavior 10/2012; · 1.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: On-line poker is a game of chance and skill. The construct of poker playing skill has both a technical (game strategy-related) and an emotional (emotion regulation-related) aspect. A correlational on-line study (N = 354) was conducted to assess differences in technical skills and emotional characteristics related to poker playing style between experienced and inexperienced poker players. Results suggest that, with respect to emotional characteristics, experienced poker players engage in less self-rumination and more self-reflection, as compared to inexperienced players. Experienced poker players are also able to make better decisions, by mathematical standards, in a poker decision-making environment, as assessed by two fictitious on-line poker decision-making scenarios. Furthermore, this study provides supportive evidence that experienced poker players conceptualize the construct of "luck" differently from inexperienced players. A new poker playing experience scale (PES) for accurately measuring poker playing experience is presented in this paper.
    Journal of Gambling Behavior 05/2012; · 1.28 Impact Factor
  • Mikko Salmela
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    ABSTRACT: Perceptual theories of emotion purport to avoid the problems of traditional cognitivism and noncognitivism by modelling emotion on perception, which shares the most conspicuous dimensions of emotion, intentionality and phenomenality. In this paper, I shall reconstrue and discuss four key arguments that perceptual theorists have presented in order to show that emotion is a kind of perception, or that there are close analogies between emotion and perception. These arguments are, from stronger to weaker claims: the perceptual system argument; the argument from noninferential structure; the argument from epistemic role; and the argument from phenomenology. I argue that, while the arguments in favour of assimilating emotion to perception fail, the analogies between emotion and perception are not as close as perceptual theorists suggest even if some emotions resemble perception more than others, thanks to the two-levelled structure of emotional processing.
    dialectica 02/2011; 65(1):1 - 29.

Publication Stats

4 Citations
6.26 Total Impact Points


  • 2011–2013
    • University of Helsinki
      • • Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
      • • Institute of Behavioural Sciences
      Helsinki, Southern Finland Province, Finland