Avatars Can Provide Good Clues

The popularity of online poker sites has grown even more since 2003 after Chris Moneymaker won $2.5 million in the World Series of Poker. Lucky man, his name is really a money drawer. Thanks to his victory, online poker has attracted more players that number more than 50,000 today notably during peak time.

But is there really a technique in winning here? You bet because many players agree that poker requires certain skills. One of them is to be able to read your opponent and this pertains to his body language and facial expression. But while this can be applied in the real casino setting, how can this be possible online?

A team of psychologists and experts in the usability and user interface (UI) design have found that certain UI elements can provide poker players with clues about their opponents? playing behavior. One particular element is the avatar often used as a physical representation of an individual who’s online.

In their study, the group of Gavin Lew, Jayson Webb and Martin Ho discovered that online poker players may choose a specific avatar to suggest a style of play different from what he’s actually applying during the game. The changes in the avatar’s emotional expression also provide additional information about a player. This can occur when one is bluffing or raising a call. On the other hand, not changing an emotion in the avatar can be a strategy that other players need to analyze.

The UI investigators strongly believe that the avatars are not only entertaining but are sources of information about the playing style and behavior of poker players. When features are improved further, they can really make online poker a more exciting and enriching game.

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