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UNLV Needs Participants for Online Poker Research Project

A new online poker research study put together by the UNLV Department of Economics is asking respondents to offer up their thoughts on poker and regulations.

Are you at least 21 years old? Have you ever played No Limit Texas Hold’em for money either online or in a casino?

If you answered yes to both of these questions (these are the only requirements) the UNLV Department of Economics would like you to participate in a survey/research study to determine the general appetite toward regulated online poker. According to the survey’s “Purpose of the Study”:

You are invited to participate in a research study. The study will provide information on poker player’s attitudes towards government regulation of online poker. This study is not sponsored by any firm or casino with vested interests. This study is purely educational and the results will culminate in a Master Thesis.”

The Study was put together by Bradley S. Wimmer, a Professor of Economics at the Lee Business School at UNLV, who is listed as the “Principal Investigator” for the study, and Malissa Redona, an MA Student at UNLV, who is listed as the “Student Investigator,” and will likely be the person turning this into her Master’s Thesis.

The study takes roughly 15 minutes to complete and covers everything from your poker background to your understanding of odds. The study is completely anonymous and confidential.

All information gathered in this study will be kept as confidential as possible. No reference will be made in written or oral materials that could link you to this study. All records will be stored in a locked facility at UNLV for 3 years after the completion of the study. Your responses will be kept completely confidential. We will NOT know your IP address when you respond to the Internet survey.”

You can take the study here, but finish reading my column first – or bookmark it and come back to it, but make sure you do both.

I found the study quite intriguing, and was impressed with the scope of the questions. Additionally, I was not uncomfortable answering any of the questions and didn’t find any of them either leading or misleading – although I did find a couple questions to be vague to the point I could answer multiple ways.

The first part of the study asks a number of fairly mundane questions about your poker experience and your gambling habits, but halfway through you’ll be confronted with questions containing poker lexicon like VPIP, and will even have to put your math skills to the test in a later section where you are presented with two different “lottery” choices.

As expected, based on the synopsis, there is a considerable focus on regulations.

Would you rather…

One of the more interesting parts of the survey is a side-by-side comparison where you are presented with a pair of hypothetical licensed and unlicensed (regulated and unregulated) online poker rooms, and must determine, based on the various factors listed, which site you would prefer to play at.

There are a total of eight different questions in the comparison section, but each question presents you with a new scenario, where the two sites are presented with changing variables regarding the sites’ player-base, rake collection, site security, and the looseness of the game – the only constant is whether the site is licensed or unlicensed.

These comparisons will certainly test your loyalty when it comes to the importance of regulations (or whatever it is you determine important in an online poker room), and perhaps the most startling takeaway for me was how little the rake played into many of my decisions on where to play.

Why you should take the study

Studies like this are extremely important as we move into the regulated era of online poker. The results of this study will be beneficial not only to lawmakers and brick & mortar casinos considering online poker expansion, but also to online operators, since it will provide a data set on what makes online poker players tick and what really appeals to them.

Additionally, the UNLV Center for Gaming Research is one of the best in the world. They provide everything from historical data to research on current trends for the industry.

So, even if you don’t take the study, you could at least give them a retweet to get the word out to others:



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Steve Ruddock

Steve is veteran of the the poker industry, first as a player and now as a writer focusing mainly on the regulated U.S. markets and the politics of poker. Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveRuddock and at Google+.