poker handA recent study by a Cornell graduate student found that, contrary to what common sense would suggest, online poker players win less money when they win more hands.

Sociology doctoral student Kyle Siler analyzed 27 million online hands of six-player no-limits Texas Hold'em and found that those who win multiple times usually win smaller pots, and this causes them to undervalue the damage caused by the occasional, bigger losses.

The study, which appeared in the most recent online issue of the Journal of Gambling Studies, also found that holding small pairs, twos through sevens, led to more positive outcomes than hold pairs of intermediate value, such as eights through jacks.

The reason? We easily recognize that the low pairs suck and don't overextend our betting on them. In-between pairs we aren't so sure about, and sometimes hang with them too long.

This all makes sense to me, and should to anyone who has golfed very often. At the end of what is a typical round for me, I'll remember the handful of pars and one almost-birdie I made, while ignoring the snowmen on 7, 12, and 17 that pushed my round into triple digits. If I didn't overvalue the small victories and undervalue the few large losses, I wouldn't keep returning to the tee.

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