Blind stealing: Experience and expertise in a mixed-strategy poker experiment

Matt Van Essen, John Wooders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We explore the role of experience in mixed-strategy games by comparing, for a stylized version of Texas Hold-em, the behavior of experts, who have extensive experience playing poker online, to the behavior of novices. We find significant differences. The initial frequencies with which players bet and call are closer to equilibrium for experts than novices. And, while the betting and calling frequencies of both types of subjects exhibit too much heterogeneity to be consistent with equilibrium play, the frequencies of experts exhibit less heterogeneity. We find evidence that the style of online play transfers from the field to the lab.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-206
Number of pages21
JournalGames and Economic Behavior
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Expertise
  • Laboratory experiments
  • Minimax
  • Mixed strategy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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