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Anthony A. B. Hopley

Anthony A. B. Hopley

University of New Brunswick - Fredericton, Canada

Title: Making a living online: Texas hold'em poker & problem gambling

Biography

Mr. Hopley is in the final year of his Ph.D. program at UNB and plans to attend a forensic pre-doctoral internship. Both branches of his research interests center on addiction. First, he is completing his dissertation, focused on the development of a comprehensive typology of substance misusing offenders. Second, he investigated the predictors and correlates of excessive online Texas Hold'em Poker. He has published three original research articles in refereed journals and has presented at several conferences. Clinically, Mr. Hopley has worked in a First Nations community mental health center, the federal penitentiary system, and with the Canadian Forces.

Abstract

Despite the widespread rise of online poker playing, there is a paucity of research examining potential predictors of excessive poker playing, which could be used to guide treatment. The aim of this three study program of research was to determine whether predictors and correlates of other forms of problem gambling also apply to Texas Hold'em Online Poker (THOP). In the first study, problem gambling was present in 9% of the sample and was uniquely predicted by time played, dissociation, boredom proneness, impulsivity, and negative affect. In the second study, it was revealed that 11.5% of the sample were problem gamblers. Yearly net THOP earnings ranged from -$1000 to $350,000. Problem gambling was uniquely predicted by time played, stress, and an internal locus of control. Moreover, it was discovered that the skill component of THOP adds a unique element to the assessment of risk for problem gambling among players who earn a living or supplement their income with their winnings. Thus, there may be a need to reconceptualize the measurement of problem gambling among successful players. In the final study, we (1) investigated whether the locus of control and stress predictors would replicate our previous findings; (2) examined the impact of neuroticism on problem gambling; and (3) determined if problem gambling was analogous to workaholism among a high earning subgroup of THOP players using canonical correlations. Yearly net earnings averaged $30,000 and 32% of the sample were classified as problem gamblers. However, workaholism and neuroticism were unrelated to problem gambling.

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